Nestled in the South Caucasus, Armenia, with its rich history and resilient spirit, strategically maintains a ballistic missile arsenal. This includes the 9K720 Iskander, reflecting Armenia’s commitment to partnerships, the Scud-B as a historical link, the versatile Scarab A, and the Tochka-U showcasing a dedication to security. Amidst stunning landscapes and cultural heritage, Armenia’s ballistic capabilities underscore its commitment to safeguarding sovereignty and adapting to evolving geopolitical dynamics.
Armenia’s Ballistic Missile Capabilities
Armenia has acquired the 9K720 Iskander, a short-range ballistic missile system that is mobile and produced by the Russian military. This missile is capable of traveling at a hypersonic speed of 2100-2600 m/s (Mach 6-7) and can reach an altitude of 50 km while having a range of up to 500 km. The missile has a length of 7.3m, body diameter of 0.92m, and weighs 3,800kg. It can be equipped with a variety of warheads, including thermonuclear, high-explosive fragmentation, submunition, penetration, fuel-air explosive, or EMP. The missile uses multiple guidance systems, including inertial, optical DSMAC (Iskander-M), TERCOM (Iskander-K), and GPS/GLONASS, resulting in an accuracy of 1-30 m (9K720) and 5-7 m (Iskander-M).
The Scud-B missile, also known as the R-17 Elbrus, originated in the Soviet Union and is a tactical ballistic missile that is 11.25 meters long, 0.88 meters in diameter, and weighs 5,900 kg. It can be equipped with different types of warheads including nuclear ones with yields varying from 5 to 70 kT, chemical agents, and conventional high explosives. The missile uses a single-stage solid propellant and can reach a hypersonic speed of 2100-2600 m/s (Mach 6-7), flying up to a range of 300 km. Inertial guidance technology is employed for missile guidance.
The Scarab A, also known as the OTR-21A, is a highly versatile missile system. It boasts a range of 70 km and an impressive accuracy of 150 m CEP. This missile is capable of launching a 482 kg warhead, which can be customized with various options. These options include submunitions, a high explosive (HE) fragmentation filling weighing 120 kg, or even a nuclear device. The submunitions available for the Scarab A are designed for different purposes. They can be anti-tank, anti-personnel, or anti-runway. On the other hand, the nuclear device is believed to have a selectable yield of either 10 or 100 kT. This makes the Scarab A a formidable weapon with a wide range of destructive capabilities. Additionally, the Scarab A can be equipped with an EMP warhead, which can be calibrated to airburst at a desired altitude. This allows for precise targeting and maximum impact. The missile utilizes an inertial guidance system, ensuring accurate navigation towards its intended target. In terms of physical specifications, the Scarab A measures 6.4 m in length and has a diameter of 0.65 m. It has a launch weight of 2,000 kg and is powered by a single-stage solid-propellant engine. This combination of size and propulsion enables the missile to deliver its payload effectively. One of the key advantages of the Scarab A is its flexibility on the battlefield. Its multiple warhead options, combined with its cruise flight profile and the mobility of its Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) vehicle, make it a highly adaptable system. It can effectively engage military units and troop concentrations using fragmentation and submunition warheads. Furthermore, it can disable electrical equipment, airfields, and military facilities with its other warhead options.
Armenia’s ballistic missile arsenal includes the Tochka-U (SS-21 Scarab B), a short-range ballistic missile that originated in the Soviet Union. This missile is 6.4 meters long, 0.655 meters in diameter, and weighs 2,010 kilograms. It has a range of 120 kilometers and can reach speeds of 1.8 kilometers per second (Mach 5.3). The missile can be equipped with high explosive (HE), chemical, nuclear, or submunitions warheads. It uses a road-mobile platform for launch and has a single-stage solid propellant and an inertial guidance system. The Scarab B has improved upon its predecessor by extending its range and incorporating an anti-radar blast warhead, while maintaining the same physical dimensions as the Scarab A but with a slightly heavier launch weight. The Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) vehicle associated with this missile is amphibious and can be prepared for launch within 16 minutes, launch a missile in 2 minutes, and be reloaded in 20 minutes. It is also equipped with Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) filter systems. The Scarab B has an accuracy of 95 meters CEP.