Armenian Prime Minister himself also questioned his counterpart in the previous term, what is the purpose of buying fighters but not missiles?
Earlier in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, all modern Armenian Su-30SM fighters were completely out of service. The satellite photos showed that the fighters were not even rolling out of the hangar. Public opinion then wondered why the Armenian Su-30s never actually flew during the war in November 2020. And now everything is clear, the Armenian fighters at that time had absolutely no weapons to fight.
Armenian Su-30SM fighter is capable of carrying up to 8 tons of weapons, including air-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles or air-to-surface missiles and bombs. However, without missiles or bombs, the only weapon that the Su-30SM can use is the 30mm cannon it possesses. At this point, the Su-30SM will be no different from an expensive propeller aircraft with poor and weak weapons.
Armenian patrol flight of Su-30SM is believed to be evidence that it has somehow acquired weapons for these fighters. The former leader of the Armenian Defense Ministry asserted that the Armenian Su-30SM had no weapons because Moscow refused to sell missiles with a range of over 130 km abroad.
However, even without the possession of long-range air-to-air missiles capable of Beyond-visual-range combat, it is difficult to understand that neither the short-range air-to-air missile, the air-to-ground missile, and the bomb were not purchased with this fighter.
Armenia currently owns four modern Su-30SM fighters purchased from Russia. Remarkably, Armenia has the right to buy these fighters at domestic prices – not at export prices. In addition to the Su-30SM, the Armenian Air Force also owns 10 Su-25K attack aircraft, also purchased from Russia, one of which is used for training missions.
Though Armenia has a requirement to replace aging fighter jets currently in service, the country’s small defense budget has hampered wide-scale procurement.