Thursday, 15 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Czech Army is set to undergo a major transformation that will eventually see the replacement of most remaining Cold War-era equipment in favour of modern Western types. Planned to include military hardware such as the Leopard 2A7 MBT, CV90 MkIV IFVs, Caesar 8x8 SPGs, SPYDER-MR SAM systems, AH-1Z attack helicopters and even up to 24 F-35 stealth combat aircraft, the Czech Republic as a result will be in possession of a highly capable and well-equipped military. The latest reported acquisition of three Heron I U(C)AVs from Israel for the Czech Air Force would further expand on these already advanced capabilities. Of course, all this comes with a significant price tag.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan flared up again on Monday the 12th of September 2022, with both sides engaging in artillery duels that have so far resulted in hundreds of soldiers killed on both sides. Azerbaijani forces struck Armenian forces after what it claims is a buildup of Armenian landmines on the border, while Armenia said that several border towns were being shelled as part of a large-scale provocation by Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has made extensive use of Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to strike Armenian positions, leading to the destruction of numerous targets including two S-300PS surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries.

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Saudi Arabia has mostly relied on China for the purchase of UCAVs. This has manifested in the acquisition of significant numbers of Wing Loong I, Wing Loong II and CH-4Bs from the mid-to-late 2010s onwards. These supplemented several types of South African, Italian and German-made reconnaissance UAVs already in action over Yemen since start of the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in the country in March 2015. [1] In 2019, Saudi Arabia further expanded its drone arsenal with the acquisition of the Turkish-made Lentatek Karayel-SU UCAV, which is soon to be produced in Saudi Arabia under the designation of Haboob. [2] Saudi Arabia seeks to localise at least 50% of its defence spending by 2030 as part of the country's Vision 2030, providing a stimulus for defence companies to set up indingeous production lines.

Monday, 12 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Like so many NATO member countries Canada has contributed significantly to Ukraine's defensive capabilities after the Russian invasion of the country in February 2022. This aid has so far included 39 brand-new Armoured Combat Support Vehicles, eight brand-new Roshel Senator infantry mobility vehicles (IMVs), four M777 towed howitzers and 4600 anti-tank weapons. Canada was also the first nation to supply Ukraine with guided artillery rounds, with an unknown number of M982 Excalibur GPS-guided shells being sent for use with Western-supplied 155mm howitzers.

Friday, 9 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Netherlands was one of the first countries in Europe to pledge meaningful military aid to Ukraine as Russia began the build-up of its military forces along the border with Ukraine. Days after Russia commenced its invasion of the country on the 24th of February 2022, further military aid that included 50 FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS launchers with 200 missiles and 50 Panzerfaust 3 anti-tank weapons along with 400 rockets was quickly announced. Not much later, the Dutch Ministry of Defence declared it would no longer provide details on arms deliveries to Ukraine. [1]
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Iran has set up a network of smuggling routes through Oman and the Arabian and Red Seas to transport arms and equipment to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. This has included anything from small arms to cruise missiles, loitering munitions and even ballistic missiles. The fact that these continue to reach Yemen in spite of a naval blockade in place is a testament to Iran's skill in arms trafficking. Nonetheless, arms shipments are occasionally intercepted and seized by Western and Saudi warships sailing in the area. The volume of these intercepts has meanwhile been enough for Western countries to supply war-thorn Ukraine with at least some of the armament captured. [1]

Thursday, 8 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans in cooperation with Tarao Goo
 
Japan has traditionally maintained one of the strictest armament export policies in the world, which has for the most part prevented Japanese defence companies and government agencies from exporting or even donating military equipment to other countries. The fact that the Japanese government amended its own guidelines to bypass laws that would otherwise have prevented it from supplying Ukraine with military aid should thus be seen as highly exceptional. Although the resulting deliveries have remained limited to non-lethal equipment, the move to supply war-torn Ukraine with military equipment is unprecedented in Japan's modern history. Military aid has so far included 40 small reconnaissance UAVs, 6900 helmets and 1900 bulletproof vests.

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
In addition to supplying Ukraine with large volumes of armament, Germany has also attempted to entice other countries to send their heavy weaponry to Ukraine in a programme known as 'Ringtausch' (which roughly translates to 'circular exchange'). Under this policy, countries can receive German armament free of charge in exchange for delivering tanks and infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) from own stocks to Ukraine. Although this seemed a promising scheme at first, the 'Ringtausch' programme has largely failed to live up to expectations as most countries expect to have their Soviet-era systems replaced by larger numbers of modern weapon systems than what Berlin is currently able (or willing) to offer.

Monday, 5 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Finland is renowned for being the happiest country in the world, having the world's best education system, coolest Prime Minister (Sanna Marin), and not feeling the need to brag about help given to other countries. The latter has made an accurate analysis of Finnish military support to Ukraine relatively difficult. What is known is that Finland pledged its first shipment of military aid already by February 27. Since then, at least six more batches of military aid have been sent to Ukraine. [1] By early July 2022, military aid from Finland was worth more than €88 million. [2]

Sunday, 4 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The goal of this list is to comprehensively catalogue the current inventory of drones, rockets and missiles of the Houthi rebels as well as clarify their origin. The part within apostrophes refers to the designation given by Houthis to foreign-delivered equipment. A year in square brackers after the designation refers to its perceived date of inception in Yemen. The year is only added to armament delivered or produced after the Houthi takeover of Yemen in 2014/2015.
 
(Click on the equipment to get a picture of them in Houthi service.)

Saturday, 3 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
As many observers of the Russo-Ukrainian War are awaiting the possible debut of Iranian drones with the Russian Armed Forces, relatively few know that Iranian-made and Iranian-procured armament is already in active use on the battlefields of Ukraine since at least April 2022. Rather than being used by the Russian Army, these weapons systems are deployed by Ukrainian forces in their fight against the Russian Army. The story of how these weapons ended up in Ukraine is perhaps just as fascinating as the fact of their actual presence in Ukraine, and requires us to first delve into the topic of Iranian arms trafficking to Yemen and the efforts of Western countries to combat it.

Friday, 2 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Türkiye's unprecedented drone success propelled by Baykar Tech is only set to increase after the effective use and popularity of the Bayraktar TB2 during the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian War. [1] One of the countries that has recently shown an interest in Baykar's products is Saudi Arabia, which already operates a sizeable fleet of Chinese and Turkish unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). [2] Although this fleet is sometimes reported to consist of hundreds of locally-manufactured Chinese UCAVs, the actual composition and size of Saudi Arabia's drone fleet is largely unknown. What is known is that the country's UCAVs have been deployed intensively against Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen since 2018. [3]
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
It is not often that a weapon system is proving so popular that countries are waiting in line to buy it. Ironically, this appears to be the current situation with the Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV). Already in service with or on order by 24 countries other than Türkiye, the TB2's commercial success currently looks to be without bounds. With new export agreements being signed with more countries to this day, there is little doubt that the Bayraktar TB2 will go down in history as world's most successful UCAV both in terms of export clients and numbers sold. In this capacity it is now consistently beating its main two competitors on the drone market of China and Israel, whose products though more attractive than expensive (and exclusive) Western wares or underperforming and politically-laden Iranian ones have shown their own deficiencies. The TB2's success should come as little surprise to those that examined the system in combat, as the TB2 is arguably the first UCAV that manages to combine reliability and affordability with devastatingly effective results on the battlefield: a capability keenly looked for in the 21st century.

Thursday, 1 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Contrary to popular perception, Germany has delivered significant amounts of arms and equipment to Ukraine to aid the country in its fight against the Russian military. In fact, the volume of arms deliveries by Berlin exceeds that of every other country safe for the United States and the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, Germany has faced severe criticism and even mockery for its perceived lack of support to Ukraine and its ill-fated attempts to keep its relationship with Moscow intact. While ultimately positioning itself as a reliable partner of Ukraine, it can be argued that Berlin's communication to affirm its Ukraine stance and explain foreign policy goals has been nothing short of an unmitigated disaster.