Sunday, 27 September 2020

The Fight For Nagorno-Karabakh: Documenting Losses On The Sides Of Armenia And Azerbaijan

By Stijn Mitzer and Dan in collaboration with Jakub Janovsky and COIN
Armed clashes which commenced early in the morning of the 27th of September 2020 over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh have so far caused considerable human and materiel losses on both sides. The renewed clashes are an extension of the three decades long Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and at present the short-term implications can only be guessed at. While solid information regarding materiel losses is scarce, rumours fly wildly – and unconfirmed and false reports are readily repeated for propaganda purposes. This article will attempt to break down all confirmed materiel losses by carefully studying the footage made available by both warring parties.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an ethnical and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts, which are controlled by the self-declared Republic of Artsakh, but are internationally recognized as belonging to Azerbaijan. The status of Nagorno-Karabakh has been disputed since 1918, when Armenia and Azerbaijan declared independence from the Russian Empire. In the early 1920s, the predominantly Armenian-populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh became an autonomous oblast within the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1988, the regional legislature in Nagorno-Karabakh voted in favour of joining the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, a move that found little support in Moscow. Following the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, Armenian separatists backed by Yerevan took over control of large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh, home to a significant Azerbaijani minority, as well as seven adjacent Azerbaijani districts. In the ensuining fighting, an estimated 25.000 to 30.000 people were killed with many more displaced from their homeland. The seperatists declared independence as the the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, only recognized by Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria, themselves also unrecognised republics. In February 2017, the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic officially became known as the Republic of Artsakh.
Despite a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement in place since 1994, violations of the ceasefire occur at regular intervals, the most significant of which took place in 2016 and July 2020, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of soldiers and civilians. From July to September 2020, Azerbaijan conducted a series of military exercises with the participation of Turkish ground and air forces, which likely strengthened Azerbaijan's perceived power and resolve to end the Karabakh conflict in its favour. In addition to providing military training and equipment to Azerbaijan's military, Turkey has also begun exporting drones (and likely electronic warfare equipment) to Azerbaijan. [1] Dozens of Armenian soldiers awoke to this new reality on the 27th of September 2020 when Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs started releasing MAM-L munitions over Armenian positions, striking at least three 9K33 Osa and three 9K35 Strela-10 mobile surface-to-air missile systems. These systems appeared just as unaware and incapable of tackling the drone threat overhead as the Russian Pantsir-S1s in Syria and Libya, and all were destroyed without ever knowing what hit them. Turkey's highly efficient use of drones and supporting electronics warfare systems has boosted its increasingly assertive international role and growing political and military weight (Bayraktar Diplomacy). It has now reached the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and will certainly influence the outcome of the current round of fighting.
The combat effectiveness of the Bayraktar TB2s reached such proportions that Canada found itself forced to suspend drone technology sales to Turkey 'upon learning of allegations made regarding Canadian technology being used in the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh'. [2] As the Bayraktar TB2 is outfitted with Canadian-produced sensors and laser targeting technology, this could temporarily slow production of Bayraktar TB2s (at least until domestic replacements become available). In reality, the ban on drone technology sales is likely to achieve little but to speed up the research and production of these indigenous replacements, making Turkey self-sufficient in yet another category of weapons manufacturing.
A detailed list of the destroyed and captured vehicles of both sides can be seen below. This list is constantly updated as additional footage becomes available. This list only includes destroyed vehicles and equipment of which photo or videographic evidence is available. Therefore, the amount of equipment destroyed is undoubtedly higher than recorded here. Small arms, loitering munitions, ammunition and derelict vehicles are not included in this list. ATGMs, MANPADS, decoys, An-2 aircraft used as bait and recaptured equipment are included in the list but not in the cumulative losses count. Footage of massive stashes (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) of small arms and munitions are a good indicator of the size of the munition stockpiles left behind by the Armenian Army.

(Click on the numbers to get a picture of each individual captured or destroyed vehicle)


Armenia (1676, of which destroyed: 844, damaged: 35, abandoned: 1, captured: 796)

Tanks (255, of which destroyed: 146, damaged: 6, captured: 103)

Armoured Fighting Vehicles (71, of which destroyed: 23, damaged: 1, captured: 47)


Infantry Fighting Vehicles (82, of which destroyed: 32, captured: 48)


Armoured Personnel Carriers (1, of which destroyed: 1)


Self-Propelled Anti-tank Missile Systems (19, of which destroyed: 4, captured: 15)


Command Posts And Communications Stations (1, of which captured: 1)


Engineering Vehicles (5, of which destroyed: 1, captured: 4)


Artillery Support Vehicles (3, of which destroyed: 1, captured: 2)


Towed Artillery (250, of which destroyed: 138, damaged: 10, captured: 102)

Self-Propelled Artillery (29, of which destroyed: 21, captured: 8)


Multiple Rocket Launchers (84, of which destroyed: 75, abandoned: 1, captured: 8)

Ballistic Missiles (2, of which destroyed: 2)


Mortars (59, of which destroyed: 9, captured: 50)


Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (149, of which destroyed: 3, captured: 146, of which 23 launcher or optic)


Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (8, of which captured: 8)


(Self-Propelled) Anti-Aircraft Guns (15, of which destroyed: 3, captured: 12)


Surface-To-Air Missile Systems (39, of which destroyed: 34, captured: 5)

Radars (18, of which destroyed: 14, captured: 4)


Jammers and Deception Systems (3, of which destroyed: 3)


Aircraft and Helicopters (2, of which destroyed: 2)


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (4, of which destroyed: 4)


Trucks, Vehicles and Jeeps (737, of which destroyed: 331, damaged: 18, captured: 387)

Decoys (2, of which destroyed: 2)


Azerbaijan (243, of which destroyed: 139, damaged: 48, abandoned: 26, captured: 30)

Tanks (62, of which destroyed: 38, damaged: 16, abandoned: 1, captured: 7, captured but later lost: 1)

Armoured Fighting Vehicles (9, of which destroyed: 2, damaged: 1, abandoned: 6)


Infantry Fighting Vehicles (72, of which destroyed: 50, damaged: 7, abandoned: 10, captured: 5)


Armoured Personnel Carriers (11, of which destroyed: 1, damaged: 1, captured: 9)


Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles (13, of which damaged: 9, abandoned: 4)


Infantry Mobility Vehicles (17, of which destroyed: 6, damaged: 4, abandoned: 5, captured: 2)


Engineering Vehicles (3, of which destroyed: 1, captured: 2)

Multiple Rocket Launchers (2, of which destroyed: 1, damaged: 1)


Mortars (1, of which captured: 1)


Surface-To-Air Missile Systems (1, of which damaged: 1)


Aircraft and Helicopters (2, of which destroyed: 2)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (4, of which destroyed: 4)


Trucks, Vehicles and Jeeps (46, of which destroyed: 34, damaged: 8, captured: 4)

[1] Azerbaijan buys the deadly Turkish Bayraktar TB2 mid-range strike UAV

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