Technological Battlefield: Experts call for introduction of hi-tech in defenses in wake of Karabakh clashes

The recent flare-up of deadly fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh also revealed that Armenian armed forces had little opportunity to use high technologies in their defenses, notes an expert, who calls for boosting the introduction of such technologies in the military.

According to executive director of the Union of Information Technology Enterprises Karen Vardanyan, while the Armenian army showed military strength during operations that were taking place in the conflict zone on April 2-5, its soldiers were, in reality, fighting against Azerbaijan’s machines.

“We have a technological era. If we are not ready for that, then we will have to pay a high price for it. And the price is human life. As in all epochs, eventually the one who is technologically more powerful will prevail,” he said.

As of late Wednesday, the Armenian side acknowledged the deaths of 32 servicemen, saying that 121 were wounded and 25 went missing in the recent fighting in Karabakh.

To reduce the loss of life, Vardanyan called for stronger ties among the government, the public and the scientific community in order to develop the potential in the military industry. “A human life is more important than a piece of hardware, and our soldier has to fight against hardware,” Vardanyan said.

Chief editor of the Hetq publication Edik Baghdasaryan, who was in Karabakh during the time of the fierce battles, also called for the introduction of new technologies into the army as he shared his thoughts on Facebook.

“Today, here, every moment you feel how much behind we are. It should have become a priority a long time ago,” Baghdasaryan, who also fought in the 1992-1994 Karabakh war as a volunteer, wrote.

Observers, in particular, have paid attention to the extensive use by Azerbaijan of drones against military and civilians in Karabakh. Meanwhile, they say, Armenians should have been able to neutralize their use more effectively.

Civil activist Aren Manukyan believes the task would have been solved if there were less corruption in the army and “the money were directed at the development of new technologies in the army.”

Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan also responded to questions about the use of technology during a question-and-answer session in parliament on Wednesday. While overall praising the Armenian military for its operations in Karabakh, the minister also stated that lessons from some of the shortcomings will be learned and that more efforts will be made to develop the military industry sector in the coming years.