Sunday, 21 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Bayraktar TB2 is well known for its pivotal role in securing Azerbaijan's victory over Armenia during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. While no war in history was ever won by one weapon system alone, there can be no doubt that Azerbaijan's striking victory couldn't have been achieved without it. Less well known is the TB2's role in saving the internationally-recognised government in Libya (GNA) throughout 2019 and 2020, preventing a hostile takeover of the country by warlord Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army (LNA) received significant backing from the UAE, Egypt and Russia. [1]
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Satellite imagery from the 19th of October 2021 indicates that the S-125 surface-to-air missile (SAM) site located northeast of Mekelle has returned to active duty. [1] The reactivation of the SAM site comes as the Ethiopian Air Force (ETAF) has deployed its newly-acquired Wing Loong unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) over Mekelle to designate targets for Su-27 fighter aircraft, resulting in a number of civilian casualties as the bombs dropped by the Su-27s missed their intended targets and fell on civilian areas instead. [2] [3]

Friday, 19 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Much has been written and discussed about the quality of Chinese-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). While some argue that Chinese drones have proven cost-effective alternatives to American UAVs, others have pointed out the drones' high crash rates and reliability issues when compared to their Israeli, U.S. and Turkish counterparts. Despite these issues, Chinese UAVs remain highly popular on the market today. This is likely not the least due to the fact that there are few strings attached to Chinese arms sales, enabling countries like the United Arab Emirates to deploy its Chinese-made UCAVs over areas where it wouldn't be allowed to operate its U.S.-produced drones.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans based on data gathered by Gerjon
 
The Emirati air bridge that aims to keep the Ethiopian military stocked on weaponry and munitions shows no sign of abating. Since August 2021, more than 100 cargo flights from the United Arab Emirates to Ethiopia have been recorded by aircraft tracker Gerjon. [1] When also including Ethiopian Airlines cargo aircraft flying between Ethiopia and the UAE and additional flights from Iran, the total influx of armament to the war-ravaged country increases even further. [2] Though originating in countries that couldn't be more opposed to one another, the UAE and Iran appear to have found common middle ground in delivering arms and equipment to the embattled Ethiopian military.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Tigray Defence Forces' ambitious counter-offensive on Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa finally appears to have come to a halt. This was not in the least achieved through the extensive deployment of Chinese-made unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) on the side of the Ethiopian government. Types so far confirmed to have been acquired by Ethiopia include Chinese Wing Loong Is, a VTOL type of UCAV supplied by the UAE and Iranian Mohajer-6s. [1] [2] [3] Ethiopia has relied heavily on its newly-acquired UCAVs to make up for years of neglect of its air-to-ground capabilities, forcing its air force to launch a hasty procurement drive for UCAVs in the summer of 2021.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
After we first reported on the acquisition of three Wing Loong I unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) by Ethiopia in mid-September, it took until early October before the type was first sighted in the skies over Tigray. [1] [2] While the Ethiopian military attemped to hide the acquisition of the three UCAVs by hastily moving them to a nearby hangar during their delivery to avoid their detection by prying eyes (an effort which nonetheless failed), the presence of Wing Loong Is at Harar Meda air base has now been revealed on satellite imagery as well. [1]

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Armenia and Azerbaijan on Tuesday the 16th of November 2021 clashed along their border a year after the war over Nagorno-Karabakh came to an uneasy peace, trading accusations regarding which side initiating the clashes. Armenia admitted that thirteen of its soldiers had been captured by Azerbaijan, that 18 were still missing and that six Armenian soldiers were killed in action during the latest clashes, adding that its army had also lost control of two military positions. [1] [2] [3] [4] On its part, Armenia claimed the destruction of five Azerbaijani AFVs and five vehicles. [5] According to Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan, Azeri forces succeeded in taking control of a total of 41 square kilometers of Armenian territory since May 2021. [6]