Monday, 31 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Most who follow international affairs know about Türkiye's rise to a global drone power. Not nearly as widely known is the fact that the precision-guided munitions carried by Turkish drones are being introduced just as swiftly as the drones carrying them. This meanwhile comprises an expansive arsenal of guided munitions cleared for use on several types of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) and combat aircraft. The latter includes the upcoming Hürjet jet trainer and TF-X stealth fighter. The fact that all of these munitions adhere to NATO standards for munitions means that countries can easily integrate Turkish-produced munitions on their own aircraft, which might be precisely what ensures their commercial success.

Sunday, 30 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Spurred on in the early 2010s by the growing international unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market, Belarus has gone on to develop a wide range of UAVs. But despite the country's success as an exporter of armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) and surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, foreign clients have so far largely avoided Belarus as a source of their UAVs. Only Angola and Turkmenistan are currently confirmed to operate Belarusian UAVs, which the latter also produces under license. Further deals signed with Egypt, Ecuador and Vietnam for cooperation and possible production of Belarusian UAVs in these countries has so far not led any of these countries to actually operationally deploy any Belarusian UAV types. [1] [2]

Saturday, 29 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
  
The 2022 Russo-Ukrainian War has laid bare the issues affecting the Russian Armed Forces and the farce that was Russia's military build-up of the 2010s after a lengthy period of decay throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Having lost the initiative across the whole frontline and so far unable to change the tide, Russia's only remaining hope at stabilising the front are the country's mobilisation and the potential mass use of (Iranian) loitering munitions and ballistic missiles to force Ukraine to the negotiation table at terms favourable to Russia. Whatever their eventual effects on the course of the war, there can be no doubt the Russian leadership completely overestimated its own capabilities while at the same time severely underestimating the Ukrainians' resolve in defending their country.

Friday, 28 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Few countries have weaponised disinformation to the extent Russia has over the past decade. Yet for all its attempts at influencing foreign opinion through fabrications and false narratives, Russia generally puts surprisingly little effort into crafting most of its propaganda claims. Whether it's denying the use of cluster bombs over Syria while at the same time publishing a video showing Syrian-based RuAF aircraft carrying cluster bombs or using footage from a video game as evidence of the United States supporting ISIS in Syria, most false narratives serve to convince Russias's domestic audience or a foreign audience that is already inclined to believe Moscow's narrative in the first place. [1] [2]

Thursday, 27 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Bayraktar Akıncı is world's first production multi-role unmanned combat aircraft. Arguably the most innovative aspect of the Akıncı is its capability to use air-to-air missiles (AAMs), consisting of the indigenous Bozdoğan IIR-guided AAM and the (fire-and-forget) Gökdoğan BVRAAMs. Another novel feature is the ability to use the 275+km-ranged SOM family of cruise missiles designed to be used against enemy command posts, SAM sites, hardened bunkers ships or any other target that requires a precision hit.

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Although most military analysts are well aware of Türkiye's rise as a major drone power, meanwhile also boasting the first production multi-role unmanned combat aircraft in the world, not nearly enough know about the strides it is making in the design of unmanned surface vessels (USVs). [1] The year 2021 witnessed the unveiling of three armed unmanned surface vessel (AUSV) types, the ULAQ-series by ARES, the NB57/RD09 by Sefine and the USV 11/15 by Dearsan. Thanks to these designs, its UCAVs and a great number of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), Türkiye is well on its way to becoming the market leader in unmanned weapons systems.

Sunday, 23 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
In late October 2021 it was announced that the mountainous country of Kyrgyzstan had placed an order for three Turkish Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs from Baykar Tech. [1] The news of the deal came as a surprise not only because Kyrgyzstan was previously not believed to have a requirement for UCAVs, but also because Kyrgyzstan possesses little in the way of an air force in the first place. In fact, the Kyrgyz Air Force first began to operationally deploy fixed-wing aircraft in 2018, and that only because it received two An-26 transport aircraft from Russia free of charge. [2] On the 18th of December 2021 the much-anticipated TB2s entered service with the Kyrgyz State Border Guard Service. [3] The TB2s are the first aerial assets known to have entered service with the State Border Guard. In October 2022 it was further revealed that Kyrgyzstan is eyeing the acquisition of several Bayraktar Akıncıs. [4]

Thursday, 20 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The Malaysian government seeks to turn the country into Southeast Asia's testing ground for drones, where international companies will design and produce unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for carrying out deliveries and to provide other unique services. [1] Considering these unmanned ambitions, it is perhaps all the more surprising that the Malaysian government has invested little in the acquisition of UAVs for its armed forces, despite the presence of an indigenous drone industry that has come up with several different military-grade drone designs since the early 2000s.

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Bangladesh is the eighth-most populated country in the world with a population of more than 168 million. Despite boasting a force of some 225.000 military personnel that frequently deploys on peacekeeping missions throughout the world, the Bangladesh Armed Forces are notably lacking in long-range weaponry and modern combat aircraft. Forces Goal 2030, a modernisation programme that was originally launched in 2009, seeks to introduce these and other new capabilities as neighbouring Myanmar already has made great strides in expanding the capabilities of its military.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Turkmenistan has accumulated an exotic arsenal of armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) acquired from a colourful range of countries worldwide. Intriguingly, at least some of those acquisitions appear to stem from an intention of increasing ties with a particular country rather than of actually fulfilling a genuine military requirement for that type of equipment. 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 different countries for Turkmenistan's fleet of infantry mobility vehicles (IMVs) alone!

Monday, 17 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The Central Asian region isn't exactly well-known for its armed-drone prowess. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan currently operate small numbers of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs), with Kyrgyzstan having entered the age of drone-powered warfare only in late 2021. [1] Whilst Uzbekistan possesses a modest unmanned aerial reconnaissance capability in the form of several RQ-11 Ravens received from the US in 2018, it can be argued that only one Central Asian country has been constantly expanding its unmanned arsenal to keep up with the newest trends: Turkmenistan.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Vietnam has sought to address its security requirements by fielding a large military apparatus equipped with mostly Soviet-era weaponry that can be quickly reinforced by a massive reserve force armed with anything from World War II-era Soviet rifles to U.S. Main Battle Tanks dating from the 1960s. Modern equipment is relatively lacking in the inventory of the Vietnamese People's Army (VPA), with Vietnam instead preferring to upgrade existing weaponry to keep it combat effective in the 21st century. A prime example of this is the T-54M3 tank upgrade project.

Friday, 14 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Egemenlik verilmez, alınır – Sovereignty is not given, it is taken (By Mustafa Kemal Atatürk)

The Turkish Navy is set to build at least four TF-2000 air-defence destroyers that will be the most capable and heavily-armed naval vessels in the Mediterranean Sea once they enter service throughout the 2030s. The TF-2000 will incorporate almost every technological achievement made by Türkiye in the field of naval systems in the last decade, including an indigenous vertical launch system (VLS) fitted with domestic surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and Gezgin land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs) and (notably) directed-energy weapons including high-energy lasers (HELs).

Thursday, 13 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Russia is notably lagging behind in the development and production of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). Its attempts to catch up have included weaponising the Forpost UAV, which is a licensed copy of the Israeli IAI Searcher, and designing an indigenous UCAV known as the Kronshtadt Orion. Several more advanced UCAV designs are also in the pipeline, including Sukhoi's Okhotnik-B, and Kronshtadt's Sirius and Grom projects. The future of these systems, already in some doubt due to a lack of access to certain key technologies, will be even more so now that Russia finds itself buckling under the weight of international sanctions. Regardless of the continued course of their development, it is certain that Russia has all but missed the boat when it comes to cashing in on the worldwide drone revolution. To add further insult to injury, Russia has recently found itself forced to turn to Iran for the acquisition of Mohajer-6 UCAVs and Shahed-131/6 loitering munitions to satisfy its operational needs during the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

In November 2021 it was announced that Kazakhstan had signed a contract with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for the delivery of three TAI Anka unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). [1] Their purchase comes some five years after the Kazakh Air Force first acquired an armed drone capability in the form of four Wing Loong Is from China. [2] Rather than acquiring additional Chinese-made UCAVs, in 2021 Kazakhstan thus turned to Türkiye to press on with its armed drone programme. Other suppliers of UAVs to Kazakhstan are Israel and Russia, which both have delivered a number of reconnaissance UAVs.

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Republic of China, more commonly referred to as Taiwan, continues to invest billions into its domestic arms industry to safeguard R&D and production capabilities. While Taiwan is already self-sufficient in the design and production of most weapons systems or well on its way towards attaining such a capacity, the nation still makes regular purchases from the United States, its biggest supplier of arms and munitions. Recent purchases have included 108 M1A2T MBTs, 29 M142 HIMARS MRLs along with 84 ATACMS SSMs and 864 guided rockets, and Harpoon coastal defence missile systems. [1] [2] The latter two systems will serve alongside their Taiwanese-designed counterparts.

Monday, 10 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Though home to elements of the 17th Army Corps of the Central Asian Military District, Kyrgyzstan inherited little in the way of (modern) military equipment after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In fact, it can be argued that Kyrgyzstan was the worst off of all post-Soviet states when it comes to the military assets they inherited (with the exception of the Baltic states). With little investments having been directed to the Kyrgyz Army since, the country's inventory in many ways resembles that of the Soviet Army during the late 1970s. The acquisition of three Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs for the State Border Guard in 2021 represents the biggest military investment by Kyrgyzstan so far, and these were used with high effect during the September 2022 border skirmishes with Tajikistan. [1]

Sunday, 9 October 2022

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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)
 
Istanbul's intercontinental Marmaray Line has been hailed as a modern-day Silk Road. Connecting the European and Asian sides of Istanbul via a tunnel running underneath the Bosphorus, the Marmaray is a modern engineering marvel that has drastically improved transportation in the whole of Istanbul by the number of stations it attends to and its connection with other modes of transportation including the metro, tram, and bus rapid transit. The 76.6km-long commuter line has 43 stations, fourteen of which are located in the European part of Istanbul.

Saturday, 8 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The Islamic Republic of Iran was one of the first countries in the world to operationally deploy unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980 to 1988. Consisting of radio-controlled Mohajer-1s armed with up to six RPG-7, Iran's drone arsenal has since expanded to include copies of the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel, PGM-toting (stealth) UCAVs and highly accurate loitering muntions. These types set the stage for an increasingly effective replication of legacy aerial assets, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by an increasing number of customers for Iranian drone designs.

Friday, 7 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The goal of this list is to comprehensively catalogue Iran's current inventory of ballistic missiles, guided rockets and artillery rockets. If several configurations of a missile, rocket or launcher are known, they are added as such. The part within the apostrophes refers to other designations or an unofficial designation. When available, the missile's range is added. As this list relies on OSINT, the range should be used as a rough indication rather than a precise estimate.

Thursday, 6 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The goal of this list is to comprehensively catalogue Iran's current inventory of vehicles and equipment. In an effort to streamline the list and avoid unnecessary confusion, civilian trucks towing military trailers and military trucks on which missiles, rockets or radars are based are not included in the list. Vehicles captured or produced during the Iran-Iraq War and subsequently only used for a short period of time are not included in this list. To avoid confusion over the names of certain SAM systems, the names of the missiles used on these SAM systems are sometimes indicated. If several configurations of a vehicle with one designation are known, they are added as such. The part within the apostrophes refers to other designations or an unofficial designation. When available, the range (of missiles) are added. As this list relies on OSINT, the range should be used as a rough indication rather than a precise estimate.

Wednesday, 5 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
As naval shipbuilders in Europe face fierce competition by catering to a market that has meanwhile become too small for all of them to survive over the coming decades, naval shipbuilding in Turkey is booming. Currently offering a wide range of naval vessels (and arguably just as important, the associated armament and radar systems) at prices that are actually attainable for most countries worldwide, Turkish naval shipyards have achieved significant successes during the last decade. The most successful of these shipyards are Yonca-Onuk, STM and Dearsan. The latter two offer anything from small submarines to large frigate designs, one of which will be the subject of this article.

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
In August 2008, the militaries of Russia and the Georgian breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia fought Georgia in a brief five-day war. On August 1, South Ossetian forces began shelling Georgia in spite of a 1992 ceasefire agreement. In response, the Georgian Army was sent into territory controlled by South Ossetia on the 7th of August, taking control over most of the city of Tskhinvali. Russia accused Georgia of committing genocide as an excuse to enter the war on behalf of South Ossetia, launching a full-scale land, air and sea invasion of Georgia on the 8th of August.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The Tajik National Army operates an exotic inventory of armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) inherited from the Soviet Army in 1991 and acquired or received from China, Russia and the U.S. since. In addition, the Tajik Army has undertaken a number of indigenous projects to improve the fighting characteristics of several AFV types. Situated in Central Asia, Tajikistan is bordered by Kyrgyzstan to the north, China to the east, Afghanistan to the south and Uzbekistan to the west. Tajikistan was embroiled in a civil war that ravaged the country from 1992 to 1997, and has fought several border skirmishes with Kyrgyzstan over the poorly demarcated border between both countries.

Monday, 3 October 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
A series of border skirmishes over an old water dispute between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan resumed on the 14th of September 2022 following a series of earlier clashes in April 2021. Tajik forces used tanks and artillery to advance into one Kyrgyz village and shell the town of Batken. Though Tajikistan has the upper hand in artillery assets, Kyrgyzstan used its newly-acquired Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to strike back at Tajik tanks and multiple rocket launchers (MRLs). Possessing no surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems in the area capable of shooting down the TB2 whatsoever, Tajik mechanised forces proved highly vulnerable to the invisible enemy above.