Friday, 31 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Turkmenistan is on the largest aircraft-buying spree in the history of the country. This has so far seen the acquisition of M-346 and A-29B combat aircraft, C-27J NG transport aircraft and Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs for the Turkmen Air Force, and a fourth Boeing 777-200LR airliner and two Airbus A330-200P2F cargo aircraft for Turkmenistan Airlines. [1] [2] Also acquired are a single Kazan Ansat and one Mi-17-1V helicopter to provide emergency ambulance services throughout the country. [3] The helicopters were delivered in April and May 2021, entering service with Turkmenistan Airlines, which operates the helicopters on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry. [4] 

Thursday, 30 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans based on data gathered by Gerjon
 
In November 2021 the United Arab Emirates deployed at least six Wing Loong I unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to Harar Meda air base in Ethiopia to help the embattled Ethiopian government in its fight against Tigray forces. [1] The deployment was the first confirmation that Emirati armed drones had begun operating over Ethiopia after rumours concerning their use over Ethiopia first surfaced in November 2020. [2] New data now suggests that the UCAVs are not the first aircraft to have been deployed to Ethiopia by the UAE during the Tigray War.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
These days Turkish-designed naval vessels ships operate with navies all around the globe as Turkey is rapidly on the way towards attaining near self-sufficiency in the naval sector. As part of this ambitious strive, Turkish shipyards have an ever expanding portfolio of naval ships on offer. When in 2013 Turkey launched a tender for a new class of fast attack craft (FAC) to replace the ones currently in Turkish Navy service, it could make a selection out of close to 30 domestic designs, showing that the scope of the country's naval design craze can hardly be overstated. [1] [2]

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
  
That Turkish-made unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) and Israeli-designed loitering munitions enabled Azerbaijan its striking victory during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War is well established. Less well known is that in addition to Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs and Israeli-designed loitering munitions, Azerbaijan operates a large fleet of Israeli-made surveillance UAVs that by the virtue of their capabilities rank amongst the most advanced in the world. The synergy between this extensive arsenal of UAVs, loitering munitions and UCAVs has meanwhile propelled Azerbaijan to the world's top in terms of unmanned aerial capabilities.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Ukraine's acquisition and subsequent use of the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 has been a cause of significant concern for separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine, and for Russia, which has provided the Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) with extensive military support. Although separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine operate significant numbers of anti-aircraft (AA) guns and surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems supplied by Russia, including the 9K33 Osa-AKM (NATO designation: SA-8) and the 9K35 Strela-10 (SA-13), these lack the range to target UCAVs like the Bayraktar TB2 flying overhead at some 5000 metres.

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Egypt has a long tradition of acquiring military equipment from a multitude of sources rather than solely relying on one country in case it's suddenly to be sanctioned, potentially cutting off its military from spare parts and munitions. The Egyptian Air Force currently operates jet aircraft sourced from Russia, France, Czechia, the U.S. and China, and the situation is little different within the other branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces. Although greatly complicating the inventory of spare parts and weaponry, this situation ensures that Egypt is never without a source of armament.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans based on data gathered by Gerjon 
 
Even as Emirati cargo flights carrying arms and equipment to Ethiopia appear to have come to a halt (but not before delivering six Wing Loong I armed drones), Iranian flights believed to be carrying the same type of cargo continue to reach Ethiopia. [1] [2] In the past month, five Boeing 747-200FSCD cargo aircraft belonging to the Fars Air Qeshm have landed at Addis Ababa Bole Airport. The exact contents of the Boeing 747s can currently only be guessed at, yet it doesn't seem implausible that their flights are related to the deployment of two Iranian Mohajer-6 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to Semera airport since August 2021. [3] [4]

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Indonesian National Armed Forces are responsible for patrolling an archipelago of 17,000 islands that extend 5,150 kilometers from east to west. For this purpose, it operates a large number of patrol craft and maritime patrol aircraft to keep tabs on illegal entries and activities occurring within its territorial waters. Nonetheless, the sheer size of the archipelago, not to mention the land mass of the islands as well, makes it difficult to monitor. One other way this can be effectively achieved is through the deployment of large numbers of medium-altitude long-endurance MALE UAVs.

Sunday, 19 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
In the 2010s, Armenia embarked on an expansive modernisation programme of its air defences to keep up with Azerbaijan's expanding drone arsenal and to address the obsolescence of its existing surface-to-air missile (SAM) and radar systems. Although acquisitions like the Tor-M2KM and Buk-M1-2, and Russian jamming equipment such as the Repellent-1 and Avtobaza-M would attract the most attention, overhauls and upgrades performed to its older systems occurred as well. This included SAM systems like the 2K11 Krug, 2K12 Kub and the S-125, all of which dated from the 1960s.

Saturday, 18 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Türkiye has made a shift from being partially dependant on donations of military equipment in the 1970s and 1980s to being the party that donates in the 2010s and 2020s, gifting military equipment to allied countries around the globe. Although Türkiye began donating military equipment to neighbouring countries as early as the late 1990s, this policy truly set off in the 2010s as Türkiye began to increase its worldwide influence. This has not only included the donation of military equipment, with ambulances, buses and other items finding their way to nations across the world as well.

Friday, 17 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Azerbaijani Navy is lagging behind in modern developments compared to the rest of the country's military and other nations' navies in the Caspian Sea. Instead, Azerbaijan has diverted considerable funds to modernising its Coast Guard, acquiring six Israeli Sa'ar 62 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and six Shaldag Mk V patrol boats fitted with Spike NLOS (25km range) and Spike-ER (8km range) anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) for its State Border Service. [1] Interestingly, the Azerbaijani Navy does not use anti-ship missiles (AShMs) aboard any of its vessels, operating purely as a patrol force in the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Thursday, 16 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Turkmenistan is a major purchaser of Italian goods, armament and (notably) marble. Its capital Ashgabat has been recognised by Guinness World Records as having the world's highest density of buildings made from white marble, earning it the nickname of 'white city'. [1] The country's affection for anything Italian is carried over in the inventory of the Turkmen Armed Forces, with anything from combat aircraft, armoured vehicles and anti-ship missiles having been purchased from Italy in recent years. [2] [3] The Italian ARX-160 is also the armed forces' standard issue service rifle, and this year's independence parade showed that arms purchases from Italy are still very much ongoing. [4]

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
A number of Moroccan drone strikes on Polisario targets in the Western Sahara has once again brought attention to the long-neglected eponymous dispute. Fears that the fragile peace could soon make way for renewed conflict seem to grow starker by the month, with a lack of any hard response to the drone strikes from the Polisario Front possibly strengthening Morocco's will to use military means to resolve the conflict in its favour once and for all. [1] Although only the United States recognises Morocco's claim over the Western Sahara Region, the Polisario is isolated from any true political and military allies with the exception of Algeria.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
In early June 2020, forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) captured the strategically important city of Tarhuna, marking the official end of the Libyan National Army's (LNA) 14-month long offensive that aimed to capture Tripoli. [1] In the process of sifting through the spoils of war littered about the city, the GNA encountered a number of MRLs that were at the time completely unknown. Tarhuna had acted as a giant supply depot for LNA forces in Western Libya, and since the LNA received significant military support from the UAE, a link was easily established. [2]

Monday, 13 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
After we earlier reported on the deployment of at least six Emirati Wing Loong I unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to Ethiopia, satellite imagery now indicates that additional infrastructure for the operations of UCAVs is being constructed at Harar Meda air base. [1] [2] New tarmac and hangars are being erected next to the hangar from where Ethiopia's own fleet of three Wing Loong I UCAVs acquired from China in September 2021 are currently operating from. [3] One of these Wing Loong Is was already sighted on satellite imagery of Harar Meda in mid-November. [4]

Thursday, 9 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
A report by Al Jazeera from Kabul International Airport (IAP) shows that the new Afghan Air Force is currently working on introducing a fast jet capability to its air force. [1] The footage shows an L-39 undergoing an engine test after languishing in storage at Kabul IAP since the early 2010s. [2] Even though the United States saw little use in the operation of Mi-24 attack helicopters and L-39C jet trainers by the Afghan Air Force, both types were maintainted in operational condition, even though the L-39s are not believed to have flown in the past several years.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The future prospects of business with Turkmenistan must have looked promising for Russian arms manufacturers in the late 2000s, with a steady stream of orders for armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), helicopters and naval ships pouring in. However, after initially mostly relying on Russia to modernise its armed forces, orders for more Russian armament from Turkmenistan quickly began to dry up. Instead, Turkmenistan diversified its arms acquisitions to include a myriad of other nations' arms suppliers, at the cost of arms manufacturers in Russia and Ukraine.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Certainly, no equipment of the mechanised forces is as unappreciated as armoured recovery vehicles. Generally operating in the rear of an advance and only seen when something went terribly wrong, they are nonetheless vital for any mechanised campaign to succeed in its aims. This is reflected in the inventories of most modern militaries worldwide, which nowadays often include sizeable numbers of ARVs and other armoured supporting vehicles. Owing to their importance in the field, the concept of the ARV has continuously evolved to keep up with new challenges and security threats.

Monday, 6 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Turkmenistan operates a number of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designs acquired from China. Apart from the ubiquitous CH-3A, which has also been exported to Nigeria, Algeria, Myanmar and Pakistan, the Turkmenistan Air Force also acquired a unique drone design that has yet to enter service with any other country in the world: The WJ-600A/D. This unconventional unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) is one of the few armed drones in the world that performs a rocket-assisted take-off (RATO), subsequently landing by parachute after completing its mission.

Saturday, 4 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Yurdumuzu dünyanın en mamur ve en medeni memleketleri seviyesine çıkaracağız - We shall raise our country to the level of the most prosperous and civilized nations of the world. (By Mustafa Kemal Atatürk)
 
In recent years, Turkey has made great strides in modernising its infrastructure through the construction of thousands of kilometres of new roads, bridges, tunnels and high-speed rail. Turkey currently has more high-speed rail than countries like the United States, South Korea and the United Kingdom, and once it completes currently planned projects it is set to have the third largest high-speed rail network in the world. [1] [2] Ambitions hardly stop there, with the country well on track to becoming a high-speed rail superpower: as in addition to building the necessary rail infrastructure Turkey also intends to build the trains that operate on it. These exploits perfectly position the country to one day export its technologies and expertise to the rest of the world.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Though mostly operating weaponry purchased from countries like Russia, Ukraine and China, the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) has occassionally looked elsewhere for the acquisition of arms and equipment. This has included defence manufacturers of countries like Germany, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, whose products have been widely introduced with the ENDF. [1] [2] One such product is the 5.56mm IWI Tavor TAR-21 bullpup assault rifle, significant numbers of which would enter service with elite units of Ethiopia's security apparatus during the late 2000s.

Friday, 3 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

It's not only Turkish drones that have found export success on the international market. Other segments of Turkey's arms industry are also subject to critical acclaim on the world stage. Sometimes this includes systems that for their less glamorous (but nonetheless highly important) roles receive little attention by international analysts, as is the case with the recent purchase of MEMATT mine-clearance vehicles by Burkina Faso and Togo. [1] [2] Other platforms receive more attention, as was recently the case with Nigeria's acquisition of two 76m offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) from Turkey's Dearsan Shipyard.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Algeria is notoriously secretive when it comes to devulging details about its arms acquisitions and current inventory of weapons systems. It is thus all the more surprising that quite a lot of information regarding the types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) purchased and operated by Algeria is publicly available. This reveals a highly diverse inventory of (armed) drones sourced from China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Africa and a number of other countries. In recent years, Algeria has also designed several types of indigenous drones. While promising, these projects have yet to spawn an operational system. Most of Algeria's UAVs are currently based at Ain Oussera air base located 200 km south of the capital Algiers.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Turkmenistan has accumulated a highly diverse arsenal of arms and equipment acquired from a plethora of countries worldwide. Intriguingly, many of those acquisitions appear to stem from an intention to increase ties with a particular country rather than actually fulfilling a genuine military requirement. This 'friendship through arms' policy comes at the cost of an increasingly complicated logistic system that by now has to source spare parts from nine countries for Turkmenistan's fleet of infantry mobility vehicles (IMVs) alone!

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The deployment of Emirati unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) on the side of the Ethiopian government has been speculated on ever since the beginning of conflict with the rebellious Tigray Region in November 2020. Nonetheless, the oft-repeated claim that several Chinese-made Wing Loong UCAVs operated out of Assab air base in Eritrea to undertake combat missions over Tigray has never been supported by evidence that points towards such a deployment. However, new information received by the authors' from an aircraft mechanic working at Harar Media air base appears to finally disclose the presence of Emirati Wing Loong Is UCAVs over Ethiopia. [1]
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Out of all of the countries reportedly interested in acquiring the Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), the United Kingdom is arguably the most notable. Currently operating a significant fleet of WK450 and MQ-9A Reaper U(C)AVs in service with the Army Air Corps and Royal Air Force, one might argue that another UAV system wouldn't be the first priority on the long wish list of the British Armed Forces. However, when approached from a broader perspective the acquisition of TB2s would fit in the country's recent attempts to meet the challenges of future warfare through the acquisition of flexible and more affordable armament.

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

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By Thomas Nachtrab in collaboration with Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Many of our readers are certain to be familiar with the French tradition of adorning their armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) with the names and dates of important battles fought by the French Armed Forces. Nowadays, this tradition is mainly showcased during parades, but the markings are often retained even after the conclusion of the parade, sometimes even seen during combat deployments of the vehicles.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The commercial success of the Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) seems to know no bounds, with the number of countries reportedly interested in procuring the system increasing by the month. In late October 2021, thirteen nations were reported to have purchased the TB2, an increase of three countries since August 2021. [1] The significance of this success is hard to overstate, with Baykar Tech successfully concluding more deals in three months than most other UCAV manufacturers ever hope to achieve during the entire production run of their systems.

Monday, 22 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]

Sunday, 21 November 2021

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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]

Monday, 15 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Armoured warfare in Afghanistan diminished drastically after the 2001 United States invasion of the country. While past regimes and factions relied heavily on the use of armour as fire-support platforms, the U.S.-led Coalition saw little use for heavy armour by the new Afghan National Army (ANA). Plans to re-equip the only remaining armour unit of the ANA with M60A3 tanks were eventually shelved as a result, and only through sheer dedication did the ANA managed to cling on to a single tank battalion. [1]

Saturday, 13 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Ethiopia's use of Su-27 fighter aircraft as bombers against targets in the Tigray Region could count on international condemnation for the numerous civilian casualties caused by the inaccurate strikes. In one instance, the dumb bombs dropped by a Su-27 missed their intended target by a kilometre away. [1] Originally designed as an interceptor and never upgraded to carry guided weaponry in Ethiopian service, the use of Su-27s (which's pilots were never trained to deploy bombs) to strike targets even as large as the Northern Command's headquarters had little chance of success to begin with.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans 
 
Relatively little is known about Armenia's weapon industry since its inception in the mid-1990s. Despite the unveiling of several promising projects in the decades since, most of its designs were destined to never leave the drawing board or progress beyond prototype status due to a lack of funding and interest from the Armenian Army. Nonetheless, a number of designs that did ultimately see the light of day serve as a reminder that such an industry survives to some degree.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

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By Thomas Nachtrab in collaboration with Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Malian Armed Forces used to operate large quantities of armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) received from the Soviet Union. In addition to acquiring sizeable numbers of T-54B MBTs, PT-76 light tanks and BTR-60 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), several more types operated in the shadows of their more numerous counterparts. One of these types is the 9P133 Malyutka, an anti-tank variant of the BRDM-2 reconnaissance vehicle. Instead of the original turret, the 9P133 features an elevatable launcher with six 9M14 Malyutka anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). 

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
This website earlier reported on the acquisition of Chinese-made Wing Loong I unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) by Ethiopia and their subsequent sighting over Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray Region. [1] [2] As the Tigray War appears to be slowly spiralling out of control for the Ethiopian government, the Ethiopian Air Force (ETAF) has now acquired weaponry for the three Wing Loong Is it purchased in mid-September 2021. The first batch of 50 TL-2 air-to-ground missiles arrived to Ethiopia on the 3rd of November. [3] [4]
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans in collaboration with Alper Akkurt
 
Turkey's arms industry currently offers a variety of both wheeled and tracked APC designs for sale to clients home and abroad. Many of these incorporate features such as remote weapon stations or even electric drive propulsion. Undoubtedly owing to their advanced capabilities and their proven quality, Turkish APCs have found commercial success in Georgia, Bahrain, the Philippines, Oman, the UAE and Malaysia. We previously reported on Turkey's first (truly indigenous) APC design, the Nurol Ejder 6x6 produced by Nurol Makina, which was later acquired by Georgia. While respectable in its own right, the Ejder 6x6 is actually not the first APC design to have come out of Turkey.

Friday, 5 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Less than two months after the first Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) arrived to Morroco, one example has already been sighted in the skies over the Kingdom. Morocco is notoriously secretive when it comes to the types of drones it operates and where they're being deployed, and some of its UAV types have managed to evade public attention for years while others have yet to been sighted in Moroccan service. [1] Nonetheless, with thirteen TB2s reported to have been acquired the chance of spotting one increases considerably.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The Ethiopian Air Force (ETAF) has traditionally relied on its fleet of Soviet-era MiG-23BN fighter-bombers to carry out bombing missions and to provide close air support (CAS). These rugged aircraft have seen considerable use during the Tigray War that commenced in November 2020, so far leading to the loss of two airframes in November and December 2020. [1] Although appreciated by the ETAF for their ability to carry a hefty bomb load, the less than a dozen or so remaining MiG-23BNs lack the ability to deploy modern precision-guided munitions (PGMs), severely limiting their options to accurately strike enemy targets.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Over the past decades Ukraine has garnered a questionable reputation for supplying just about any interested nation with every type of armament you could possibly imagine. Whether a country was in the market for 2500km-ranged cruise missiles (Iran), S-300 SAM systems (United States), Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers (Russia), or even a complete aircraft carrier and the blueprints to build more of them (China), Ukraine had you covered. In some cases these deals were carried out at government level and according to international law, while others were concluded in nightclubs involving bribery and a lot of alcohol. [1]

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Throughout its modern history Armenia has frequently come up with ingenious weapons designs in an attempt to provide its military with new combat capabilities at relatively little cost. One such project, a remote weapon system designed for use in trenches, has already been covered in an earlier article on this website. Another relatively little-known project entailed the design of a short-range thermobaric multiple rocket launcher (MRL) that utilises twelve RPG-7 launchers installed on a towed-trailer or truck.

Much like the remote weapon station, this contraption too was likely designed with trench warfare against Azerbaijani forces around Nagorno-Karabakh in mind. Known as the N-2, the MRL was designed and produced by the Garni-ler arms company likely somewhere during the 1990s or 2000s. [1] The launcher uses twelve TBG-7V thermobaric rockets (or its Armenian copy the TB-1), although any warhead that can be fired from a regular RPG-7 can be used in theory. The twelve rockets are fired remotely either in single shots or several rockets at a time.

Monday, 1 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Tigray’s missile war with Ethiopia and Eritrea was a rare instance of a non-state actor capturing short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and long-range guided rockets and subsequently using them to attack targets in Ethiopia and the capital of a different country entirely: Eritrea. [1] Despite being a notable event in modern history, the Tigray missile war nonetheless received very little attention in international media. And as quickly as the attacks occurred, the threat subsided again, with Ethiopian and Eritrean forces apparently quickly destroying or recapturing the launchers and their missiles.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The number of cargo flights between the United Arab Emirates and Ethiopia has left little doubt that the UAE has taken an active role in supporting the Ethiopian military in its fight against Tigray forces in the northern parts of Ethiopia. In two months, some 70 Il-76 cargo aircraft flying out of the UAE landed in Ethiopia. [1] [2] While some of the large cargo aircraft appear to have landed at Addis Ababa international airport, in most other cases they landed at Harar Meda air base, undoubtedly to unload their military cargo away from prying eyes and cameras.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Some nations eagerly show off their drone arsenal in an effort to display their military might to the rest of the world, other countries are less keen on revealing their inventory and operations of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). One such country is Morocco, which currently operates a sizeable fleet of Israeli, Chinese and Turkish UAVs and UCAVs. [1] Nonetheless, very little is known regarding their actual operations, with Morocco appearing intend on keeping UAV operations the armed forces' best-kept secret.

Friday, 29 October 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
A number of attacks on Turkish patrols in northern Syria have brought Turkey and YPG forces to the brink of war. In response to the latest attack, which saw the death of one Turkish soldier, President Erdogan vowed to clear northern Syria from the YPG. [1] In order to achieve this, YPG (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel – People's Protection Units, itself the primary faction in the Syrian Democratic Forces alliance) forces would either have to leave the border region voluntarily or take up arms and fight the Free Syrian Army and Turkish military. In the latter case, the YPG's armour is undoubtedly set to play a role as the faction's primary fire-support platforms. This article attempts to catalogue the YPG's fleet of AFVs and other heavy weaponry and explain how its armoured force came to be.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
A video uploaded on the 26th of October 2021 depicts a meanwhile all too familiar sight for those following armed conflicts: A Bayraktar TB2 striking an unsuspecting foe on the ground. [1] The difference to past drone strikes carried out by the TB2 is that this one took place in Eastern Ukraine, the first strike to have occurred here since the delivery of TB2s to Ukraine in 2019. Less novel was the target of the drone strike: A 122mm D-30 howitzer operated by separatist forces. The successful destruction of the howitzer marked the 56th D-30 to have been destroyed by TB2s over Nagorno-Karabakh, Syria and now Ukraine. [2]