Friday, 28 May 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans 

The casual reader may be forgiven for thinking that Armenia's armed forces operate solely Soviet-legacy weaponry inherited from the USSR, or armament received from Russia in recent years. In reality, operating alongside familiar types such as the T-72 MBT, BM-21 MRL and 9K33 Osa SAM are several types of equipment acquired from more surprising sources. This includes Sako TRG-42 sniper rifles bought from Finland, Swathi artillery-locating radars acquired from India and also 273mm WM-80 multiple rocket launchers (MRLs) sourced from China.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Cuba is widely known for its former leader Fidel Castro, a surprisingly enduring devotion to communism and its world-renowned cigars, exporting the latter two to numerous countries across the globe. By contrast, its role as an exporter of arms remains much more obscure. While Cuba has begun converting and manufacturing a wide range of arms-related equipment in recent times, this industry has so far mostly been serving the needs of Cuba's own Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias (FAR). The presence of Cuban 'David' infantry mobility vehicles (IMVs) in service with the Forças Armadas Angolanas is thus highly notable.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
As Ukraine continues to build up its military forces to face the ever present threat of Russian interference in its Eastern regions, it has gradually managed to rejuvenate its battered inventories thanks to much increased funding. This has resulted in acquisitions such as those of Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs and Ada-class corvettes from Turkey, but also in the introduction of numerous indigenous weapon systems and upgrades for equipment already in active service. Together, these introductions have enabled Ukraine to restore the combat readiness of its embattled military to a point where capability gaps with Russia are swiftly decreasing, and actually allow it to outperform its foe in some areas.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Bayraktar TB2 has gained a formidable reputation for its role in deciding the fate of nations and enemy offensives from the skies of Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh and Syria. The TB2's consistent successes are unmatched by any other type of unmanned aerial combat vehicle (UCAV) in the world, attracting considerable attention and the interest of several countries across the globe. While the acquisition of significant numbers of TB2s by Ukraine and Azerbaijan has meanwhile become widely known, it is nearly not as well-established that half a dozen examples are also operated by Qatar, which is in fact the first foreign country to have purchased the type.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Benden bu millet için bir șey istiyorsanız, en mükemmelini istemelisiniz. Madem ki bir millet tayyaresiz yaşayamaz, öyleyse bu yaşama vasıtasını başkalarının lütfundan beklememeliyiz. Ben bu uçakların fabrikasını yapmaya talibim. - If you want something from me for this nation, you should ask for the most splendid. Seeing that a nation cannot live without a plane, we shouldn't expect this means of living from the grace of others. I aspire to build the factory for these planes. (By Nuri Demirağ)
 
Turkey's ascension as a global aviation giant has in modern history been unrivalled in the scale, scope and speed of its achievements. This accomplishment is in no small part due to the country's determined endeavours towards attaining near self-sufficiency in the defence sector, in turn becoming less dependent on foreign suppliers and countries that have sanctioned Turkey on more than one occasion. Although the fruits of this policy are already in active service in most sections of the Turkish Armed Forces, arguably the most ambitious attempts at achieving self-sufficiency are the development of the Hürjet advanced jet trainer and the TF-X stealth air superiority fighter, both of which are slated to make their first test flights this decade.

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer
 
On the 6th of May 2021, protests erupted in Jerusalem over a decision to evict Palestinian residents in favour of Israeli settlers in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood of East Jerusalem that under international law is a part of Palestine. Israeli authorities violently cracked down on the protests, injuring scores of Palestinians and bringing both camps closer to the brink of armed confrontation. As protests continued with many more wounded, Hamas issued an ultimatum under which Israel was required to pull back its forces from Jerusalem's religiously sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque by the 10th of May. Following Israel's failure to adhere to the ultimatum, Hamas then commenced rocket fire at Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip, which has been the scene of many comparable clashes in the past decades.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans 
 
The turn of the 21st century marked the start of a period of decay for Ukraine's military, with masses of military hardware facing early retirement while replacements for its surviving inventory were nowhere in sight. The 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia and the war in Donbas brought about a dramatatic reversal of this policy, and factory yards previously filled with surplus tanks began to be emptied to reinforce the ranks of the battered Ukrainian military. This has so far resulted in the reactivation of hundreds of T-64, T-72 and T-80 main battle tanks (MBTs) and BMP infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
For everyone that ever landed at Istanbul Atatürk International Airport while sitting on the right hand side of the plane, the aircraft featured in header image should be an all too familar sight. Three blue and white Airbus A300s standing in a remote corner of the airport near Yeşilköy, seemingly waiting for their inevitable scrapping in the near future. Ever since landing at Atatürk Airport for the first time, I've taken an interest in the three aircraft. Why were they parked there? How long did they operate in this livery before eventually being retired?

Monday, 10 May 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Ever since the takeover of Crimea by Russia and the outbreak of armed conflict in the Donbas region, Ukraine has launched an ambitious re-equipment programme to make up for the decades of neglect of its armed forces. In addition to pulling older equipment out of storage to overhaul and upgrade them, it has also begun to introduce entirely novel capabilities to its armed forces. Notable examples include the indigenous Neptune anti-ship missile (AShM) the Hrim-2 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) and the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial combat vehicle (UCAV).

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Saudi Arabia is well known for operating some of the most advanced military equipment currently on offer, including the M1A2S main battle tank (MBT) and the F-15SA multirole strike fighter acquired from the U.S. But as with many a military worldwide, aging and sometimes unexpected armament operates in the second line of defence and on fronts deemed less volatile. For the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, this not only includes an assortment of older equipment such as the M60 Patton MBT and the M113 APC, but also a number of peculiar-looking BTR-3 APCs acquired from Ukraine for use as emergency rescue vehicles.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Some 8 years years after its official retreat from Turkey, the PKK continues to wage guerrilla warfare and conduct infiltrations into Turkey from their mountainous fortresses in Northern Iraq. Dead set on eliminating this threat, the Turkish Armed Forces frequently launch offensives into PKK-controlled areas to neutralise hideouts and weapons caches. In an effort to counter these heliborne incursions and the threat of attack helicopters, the PKK uses a variety of locally improved heavy machine guns and cannons to target helicopters and the personnel disembarking from them.