According to reports in the Indian media, Armenia is strengthening its defence capabilities by signing a $41 million contract with India to acquire ZADS anti-drone military equipment. This new arms agreement is part of deepening bilateral relations between the two nations, which have intensified in recent years.
Yerevan has concluded a deal with the Indian company Zen Technologies to supply the Zen Anti-Drone System (ZADS). The deal includes the delivery of an unspecified number of ZADS units and the maintenance and training of Armenian military personnel. Zen Technologies also plans to open an office in Armenia to facilitate these operations. Zen Technologies is a Hyderabad, India-based company specializing in the design and manufacturing of advanced simulation systems and drone countermeasures solutions.
Zen Technologies’ Zen Anti-Drone System (ZADS) is a countermeasure solution to unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS). It is designed to detect and neutralize hostile drones by disrupting their communication with the ground control station. The ZADS is equipped with a radio frequency (RF) detector, a jammer, as well as antennas dedicated to jamming and detection. It also integrates a video-based drone identification and tracking (VDIT) system.
With a 5 km detection port and a 4 km detection capacity, the ZADS can simultaneously detect the signals of the global satellite navigation system (GNSS), the industrial, scientific, and medical radio bands (ISM), and the signals móviles. All frequencies are intercepted. This function allows you to deactivate the conflict between a hostile aerial vehicle (UAV) and the solar control station, meaning that the drone returns to its mission or returns to its base.
This acquisition comes in a context where the Armenian army is seeking to improve its air defense, particularly after the intensive use of drones by the Azerbaijani army, manufactured in Turkey and Israel, during the recent attack on Nagorno-Krabagh in September 2023.
As of September 2022, contracts worth $245 million have already been signed between Armenia and India for the purchase of Pinaka Mk-1 systems of multiple launch rockets, anti-tank rockets, and Indian ammunition. In November of the same year, an additional $155 million deal was reached for the delivery of Indian ATAGS (Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System) 155-millimeter howitzers to the Armenian army.
Pinaka is a multiple rocket launcher produced in India and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army. The system has a maximum range of 40 km for Mark-I and 60 km for the Mark-I enhanced version and can fire a salvo of 12 HE rockets in 44 seconds. The system is mounted on a Tatra truck for mobility. Pinaka saw service during the Kargil War, where it was successful in neutralizing enemy positions on the mountaintops. It has since been inducted into the Indian Army in large numbers. About 5,000 missiles are being produced every year while an advanced variant is under development with enhanced range and accuracy. In 2019, an upgraded guided-missile version of the system had been test-fired, with a range of over 90 km.
The Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) is a cutting-edge towed howitzer developed in India. This artillery system was designed between 2013 and 2017 by a consortium of Indian organizations, including the Armament Research and Development Establishment, Tata Advanced Systems, and Kalyani Strategic Systems. The manufacturing of ATAGS began in 2019, with key players such as Advanced Weapons and Equipment India, Bharat Forge, and Tata Power SED contributing to its production.
If you would like to know more about the delivery of the ATAGS and Pinaka Mk-1, do not hesitate to consult the article written by the Army Recognition Group editorial team dated October 30, 2023.
Historically, India and Armenia have enjoyed friendly relations, and this support intensified following the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, where India’s regional enemy Pakistan openly supported Azerbaijan.
As for the transfer of arms, it is reported that the military equipment sold by India to Armenia was transported through the Iranian corridor. Iran, which shares borders with Armenia and Azerbaijan, has historically maintained a neutral position, but with tilts favorable to Armenia, notably due to the presence of a large Armenian community in Iran and mutual distrust of Turkish expansionism in the region. This Iranian corridor provides a vital passage for Armenia, landlocked and blocked by its borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan, allowing a logistical route for the import of military equipment and other essential resources.
Historically dependent on Russia for its supplies of arms and ammunition, Armenia is diversifying its sources of supply, in particular, due to the deterioration of Russian-Armenian relations and Russia’s involvement in the conflict with Ukraine. Armenian leaders have expressed frustration over Moscow’s inability to honour post-2020 defence contracts.
Additionally, as reported by the Army Recognition editorial team on October 24, 2023, Armenia recently signed two arms contracts with France, including the purchase of three Ground Master 200 radar systems from Thales and a letter of intent for the future acquisition of French short-range surface-to-air missiles. Although financial details and delivery dates have not been disclosed, these agreements demonstrate the growing support of France, which has a large Armenian diaspora, and India, which supports Armenia in its conflict with Azerbaijan.