Saturday, 27 August 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The following photos were taken during a Libyan National Army (LNA) parade to commemorate the 7th anniversary of Operation Dignity at Benina airbase in Benghazi on the 29th of May 2021. Even though the LNA of warlord Khalifa Haftar was to merge with the forces of the Government of National Accord (GNA) as part of the newly-established Government of National Unity (GNU), the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) passed a no-confidence motion against the unity government in September 2021. Khalifa Haftar subsequently announced his candidacy for the presidential election in December 2021 before it was postponed. The May parade was aimed at showing the LNA's (and thus Haftar's) strength to both internal actors and the outside world. In doing so, the LNA showed off a large number of equipment types inherited from the Gaddafi-era and received from Russia, the UAE, Jordan and Egypt since. [1]

Saturday, 20 August 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
While many NATO member states have duly answered Ukraine's call to supply it with heavy weaponry, for other countries President Zelensky's plight has offered a stark realisation what decades of defence cuts have come to. For no country is this true more than for Belgium, which in March 2022 had to come to the painful conclusion that it had no heavy weaponry to send from its own stocks. This staggering feat is the result of years of chronic underfunding that had eroded the Belgian Army to the point it could not even pay to operate man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) any longer, leaving an entire army without any form of ground-based air defences. Although Belgium has since announced additional investments into its military, it will take years for these investments to actually have effect.

Friday, 19 August 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
After years of having to delay new acquisitions due to the Greek government-debt crisis, the Hellenic Air Force has recently enjoyed a series of new acquisitions. In 2018, Lockheed Martin was contracted to upgrade 84 F-16C/D Block 52+s to the latest F-16V Block 70/72 (Viper) standard. Two years later, the Greek government signed for 18 Dassault Rafales from France (with a further six ordered in 2021) along with an advanced weapons package consisting of SCALP cruise missiles and AM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles. [1] In June 2022, Greece's prime minister confirmed that the country had sent a request to the Unites States for the purchase of 20 F-35s slated for delivery in the late 2020s. [2]

Thursday, 18 August 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Few countries have offered Ukraine even half the extent of military support that Poland has provided. Polish military aid to Ukraine has so far encompassed well over 300 armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), including over 230 tanks and some 110 pieces of self-propelled guns and multiple rocket launchers, amongst a host of other weapon types. Poland also serves the important role of central transit hub for arms donations to Ukraine, and the majority of Western military aid enters through Poland. Even though Poland does not disclose details of most of its arms deliveries, a great number of armament types have meanwhile been spotted or reported on by authorities in Ukraine.

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Mali has been in a near constant state of conflict since 2012, when the Tuareg rebellion prompted an Islamist insurgent advance that soon threatened to put the whole country under Al-Qaeda control. The French military intervened in early 2013 in order to halt their advance towards the capital Bamako and to bring back northern Mali back under government control. The French Army, with the support of Malian forces, quickly reversed the enemy's gains and secured much of the country with the exception of the Kidal region, to which Al-Qaeda (and later Islamic State) retreated. In recent years, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State have attempted to further expand their areas of operation by carrying out numerous attacks on Malian and U.N. forces, which remain deployed to Mali. The primary objective of U.N. forces is to combat the extremist groups, cut off their supply routes and prevent them from creating safe havens to which they can retreat training security forces in the region to handle these threats in the future.

Monday, 15 August 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

As much of Europe has rallies behind Ukraine to help it in its fight against the Russian military, plenty of attention has been devoted to the endeavours of the UK and Germany to keep Ukraine in the fight. Far less coverage has been given to the efforts of countries such as Norway, Sweden and Finland in providing Ukraine with military aid. Though this is partly the result of the decision by some governments not to disclose details of arms deliveries to Ukraine, a more general lack of focus in the news cycle on the contributions of these countries cannot be denied.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Libya's aerial refuelling programme has only been rarely reported on since its inception in the late eighties, and suffered from a series of setbacks that ultimately led to the abandonment of the programme in the following decade. Nonetheless, this ambitious project has definitely left its traces within the Libyan Air Force, and aircraft once playing a key role in the in-flight refuelling programme are still flying inside the country today.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Support for Ukraine has come from far and wide. Yet while some countries are able to back up their support with military aid or by opening their borders to Ukrainian refugees, others are unable to follow suit because of politics or simply because of their distance to Ukraine. One such nation is the Republic of China, more commonly referred to as Taiwan, which despite not being officially recognised as a country by Ukraine, has delivered humanitarian aid, funds and even small drones to Ukraine. Much of this support has come from private citizens and companies – a clear sign of sympathy for the Ukrainian people and an acknowledgment of the parallels between Ukraine and Taiwan, which is claimed by Beijing and has faced its own fears of a foreign invasion over the years.