Friday, 2 December 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) is known to operate a modest fast jet force comprised of some nine Chengdu F-7NII and FT-7N fighter aircraft and ten Hongdu K-8E jet trainers acquired from China in the late 1980s and mid-2000s respectively. Unbeknownst to many however, older jet aircraft types once thought long retired from operational service continue to see limited use as well, being maintained in operational condition and occasionally flown to ensure their airworthiness in times of need. These consist of the MiG-23UB, the BAe Hawk T.Mk 60 and even the Hawker Hunter FGA.Mk 9 and T.Mk 81 continue to be operated some 60 years after they were originally produced. In doing so, Zimbabwe is the last air force in the world to operationally deploy the Hunter, an absolute unicum!
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg boasts a small yet well-equipped military that since 2020 also includes an Air Component. Despite not actually being an independent service branch of the Luxembourg Armed Forces, it constitutes world's most modern air arm by virtue of its sole current aircraft (an A400M), which was delivered as recently as 2020. Setting aside this underwhelming feat, Luxembourg has in recent years further expanded its Air Component through the acquisition of two Airbus H145M helicopters, one Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and RQ-11 Raven, RQ-20 Puma and RQ-21 Integrator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The acquisition of additional aircraft and helicopters for medical evacuation, tactical airlift and maritime surveillance is also planned in the near future. [1]

Monday, 28 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The following list attempts to keep track of foreign military equipment delivered to Russia by Belarus and Iran during the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian War. The entries below are sorted by armament category (with a flag denoting the country of delivery), and due to the confidential nature of some arms deliveries they can serve only as a lower bound to the total volume of weaponry shipped to Russia. Private purchases and commercially available military gear purchased for mobilised troops are not included in this list. This list will be updated as further military support is uncovered.

Sunday, 27 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Iran's drone success sets the stage for an expansion of its sphere of influence as the number of countries where Iranian UAVs operate is growing. This not only includes a vast number of non-state actors such as Hizbullah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, but also countries like Ethiopia (which began to operate its Mohajer-6 UCAVs in late 2021 after some initial teething issues), Russia and Tajikistan. It seems like the number of state actors operating Iranian UAVs is only set to increase in the future, while non-state actors like the Houthis will continue to receive new Iranian drone designs as the country's UAV designs are rapidly evolving despite the implementation of foreign sanctions specifically targeting Iran's drone industry and its exports abroad.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Few Russian weapons systems have managed to impress international audiences during the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian War. Though this is partially the result of decades of hyping up Russian weapons systems to standards they could never live up to by Western think tanks, Russia also failed to timely invest in certain technologies and thus is a latecomer to systems such as unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) and loitering munitions. Despite having designed a host of guided weapons systems, few were ever acquired by the Russian Air Force in any meaningful numbers, which mostly continues to make use of 1980s-era Kh-25s and Kh-29s and even unguided bombs. Even Russia's most modern precision-guided munitions (PGMs) have been observed to be lacking in accuracy, especially compared to Western PGMs.

Friday, 25 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The use of Iranian-designed loitering munitions by Russia has received a large share of international media attention. Though they are a menace to Ukraine's civilian infrastructure, Russia has so far largely refrained from using them against Ukrainian military targets. A more serious development to Ukraine's Armed Forces comes in the form of the indigenously-designed Kub and Lancet-3(M) loitering munitions that Russia has increasingly been deploying to strike Ukrainian artillery, radars and surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems out of reach from Russia's ground-based assets.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Transnistria, or the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) as it is officially called, is a breakaway state situated between Moldova and Ukraine that has largely escaped the world's attention ever since its self-proclaimed independence as a Soviet republic in 1990 and the subsequent violent secession from Moldova in 1992. When Transnistria took control over most of the weapons storage depots located on its territory, it inherited large amounts of highly specialised vehicles while being left without any significant numbers of (self-propelled) artillery or infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). The limited amount of such equipment that was present in Transnistria was returned to Russia after the conclusion of hostilities, leaving the PMR with an extensive arsenal of engineering vehicles only in service with a few countries in the world, while being almost completely deprived of equipment such as artillery and IFVs.