Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Confirmed Arms Transfers To The Ethiopian Military During The Tigray War

By Stijn Mitzer
An air bridge between Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates and Iran has ensured Ethiopia is equipped with all the armament it needs to defeat the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) in the ongoing conflict. Despite totalling some 140 flights by January 2022, relatively little is known about the types of arms and equipment delivered to the embattled Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF). [1] This is not in the least through the enforcement of strong operational security (OPSEC) rules throughout the entirety of the ENDF, forbidding soldiers to take photos of their equipment. Prior to the outbreak of the Tigray War, Ethiopia was known for its laxity in adhering to proper OPSEC procedures, a welcome fact for analysts like us.

In an effort to turn the tide in the ongoing Tigray War, Ethiopia has devoted most of its scarce resources to the acquisition of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) from a number of countries around the world. This has included Iran, which delivered at least two Mohajer-6s in August 2021, China, from which Ethiopia received three Wing Loong I in September 2021, and the United Arab Emirates, which deployed at least six of its own Wing Loong Is to Harar Meda air base in November 2021. [2] [3] [4] A number of Emirati-delivered VTOL UCAVs also continue to see service in Ethiopia. [5]

However, less is known about the types of ground-based weaponry delivered to the ENDF. The country's original inventory of armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) and towed artillery pieces appears to have been sufficient to replace combat losses and the loss of some 100 tanks and 70 artillery pieces to Tigray forces. [6] In contrast, the ENDF lost most if not all of its large-calibre multiple rocket launchers (MRLs), guided rocket and ballistic missile systems when Tigray forces overran their bases in the Tigray Region. [7] [8] The delivery of equipment such as large-calibre rocket systems to replace Ethiopia's lost capabilities thus seems plausible.
This list aims to catalogue the equipment types known to have been supplied to Ethiopia during the Tigray War. Each flag indicates the source of the equipment rather the country that produced it. Click on the equipment type to get a picture of them.

Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs)

(Guided) Munitions (For UCAVs)


[1] Iran Is Still Resupplying The Ethiopian Military https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2021/12/iran-is-still-resupplying-ethiopian.html
[3] Wing Loong Is Over Ethiopia: Chinese UCAVs Join The Battle For Tigray https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2021/10/wing-loong-is-over-ethiopia-chinese.html
[4] The UAE Joins The Tigray War: Emirati Wing Loong I UCAVs Deploy To Ethiopia https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2021/12/the-uae-joins-tigray-war-emirati-wing.html
[6] The Tigray Defence Forces - Documenting Its Heavy Weaponry https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2021/09/the-tigray-defence-forces-documenting.html
[7] From Friend To Foe: Ethiopia’s Chinese AR2 MRLs https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2021/09/from-friend-to-foe-ethiopias-chinese.html
[8] Go Ballistic: Tigray’s Forgotten Missile War With Ethiopia and Eritrea https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2021/09/go-ballistic-tigrays-forgotten-missile.html