YEREVAN, October 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will strengthen its air contingent at the Erebuni air base in Armenia with a helicopter squadron in the next few months, the base commander said Friday.
Russia’s 3624th Air Base at the Erebuni airport in Yerevan currently hosts at least 16 MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets operating under the framework of air defense agreements concluded between the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
“A decision has been made to form a helicopter squadron in addition to the fighter squadron at the Erebuni base by the end of this year or in the beginning of the next year,” Col. Alexander Petrov said.
Petrov did not specify the type of helicopters to be deployed at the base.
Petrov said Moscow and Yerevan have agreed that Russian pilots will be able to practice bombing runs and missile launches with live ammunition at the nearby Marshal Bagramyan training grounds belonging to the Armenian Defense Ministry.
The Erebuni air base is part of Russia’s 102nd military base located in Gyumri, near Armenia’s border with Turkey.
The 102nd base has been deployed in Gyumri since 1995 under a bilateral treaty that was extended in 2010 from 25 to 49 years, ensuring a Russian military presence in Armenia through 2044.
Artur Bagdasaryan, head of Armenia’s National Security Council said in June that Russian military bases in Armenia will be modernized and upgraded over the next few years.