Tuesday 27 December 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

''Western medicine says you can't cure asthma. I cure asthma in five minutes.'' (By Yahya Jammeh)
 
The Gambia's ousted President Yahya Jammeh had the curious distinction of having Africa's largest luxury car collection and the continent's largest VIP aircraft while being the head of the smallest country (within mainland Africa). He accomplished these feats as his country ranked as one of the poorest in the world, with half of its population living on less than $2 a day. [1] During his 22-year long tenure, Jammeh embezzled tens of million dollars from state enterprises and even used the State's Pension Fund to purchase one of his private jets. [2] From his entry into power after a coup d'etat in 1994 to his ousting in 2017, Jammeh spent much of his ill-gotten fortune on luxury cars, private jets and his palaces.

Monday 26 December 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
On display at the Etimesgut Tank Müzesi near Ankara are a great number of exotic AFVs. This includes the country's first true tank, the T-26, which was acquired from the Soviet Union in the 1930s, and even German Panzer III and IV tanks received in 1943. These are generally maintained in a moderately fine condition, though they all have lost their original camouflage patterns and some overzealous museum director has installed massive fake gun barrels on all tanks he must have deemed underwhelming. Between AFVs such as the R-35, the Cemal Tural APC and M48 stands another AFV that although anything but rare, is still a surprising find in a Turkish Army tank collection: A Czechoslovak-made T-55A MBT. [1]

Sunday 25 December 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
After we previously covered the world's ugliest 'Air Force One' on this website, it is about time to introduce the polar opposite of The Gambia's President Jammeh's horribly decorated Ilyushin Il-62. [1] As perhaps already apparent to the keen-eyed aviation enthusiast, the majestic De Havilland Comet 4C in question flew on behalf of the Saudi Royal Flight for use with King Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Lavishly decorated with a VIP cabin filled with gold and distinguished by a gold, green and white colour scheme, the aircraft was the world's first executive jet. Sadly, the beauty of the aircraft was not to last for long, with a fatal crash in the Alps in 1963 making its glamour short-lived.

Saturday 24 December 2022

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Countries and private companies alike have taken actions in support of Ukraine amidst Russia's 2022 invasion of the country. Countless (private) efforts have been undertaken to make sure it can maintain its independence, whether through the provision of free Starlink satellite internet systems by SpaceX, the donation of 500.000 packs of cigarettes to the Ukrainian Army by Philip Morris International or the handout of 100.000 free flight tickets to Ukrainian refugees located in Eastern Europe by Wizz Air. [1] [2] [3] Military manufacturers around the world have also contributed significantly to Ukraine's Armed Forces, most often through the donation of military gear, ammunition, small drones and weapons. [4]
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
''I will develop the areas that vote for me, but if you don't vote for me, don't expect anything.'' (By Yahya Jammeh)
 
It's no secret that the world's top leaders travel in style. Just look at America's 'Air Force One' or the lavish fleet of VIP aircraft owned by the Qatari royal family. While all these planes come with different levels of luxury, one thing is certain: The world's leaders like to travel in style. That is every world leader except for the Republic of The Gambia's now ousted President Jammeh, who boasted a fleet of VIP aircraft that included an Ilyushin Il-62M with arguably the worst looking airplane interior in the world. A Soviet jet airliner with a 1970s interior, flying for an African despot who purchased it with the State's Pension Fund while being maintained and flown by a crew from Cuba: What's not to like?

Friday 23 December 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The use of Leopard 1A3 and Leopard 2A4 MBTs by the Turkish Army is quite well known, with Türkiye even deploying the latter in combat against Islamic State in late 2016. Yet the story of German-made Panzers in Türkiye doesn't start with the delivery of the first Leopard 1s in the 1980s, but rather with the delivery of Panzer III Ausf. Ms and Panzer IV Ausf. Gs from Nazi Germany in 1943. Here they joined an exotic inventory of tanks and other AFVs already in service with the Turkish Army. In fact, Türkiye is the only country in the world to have operated tanks from nearly all major players of the Second World War, including the Soviet Union, the UK, Germany, the U.S. and France.

Friday 2 December 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) is known to operate a modest fast jet force comprised of some nine Chengdu F-7NII and FT-7N fighter aircraft and ten Hongdu K-8E jet trainers acquired from China in the late 1980s and mid-2000s respectively. Unbeknownst to many however, older jet aircraft types once thought long retired from operational service continue to see limited use as well, being maintained in operational condition and occasionally flown to ensure their airworthiness in times of need. These consist of the MiG-23UB, the BAe Hawk T.Mk 60 and even the Hawker Hunter FGA.Mk 9 and T.Mk 81 continue to be operated some 60 years after they were originally produced. In doing so, Zimbabwe is the last air force in the world to operationally deploy the Hunter, an absolute unicum!
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg boasts a small yet well-equipped military that since 2020 also includes an Air Component. Despite not actually being an independent service branch of the Luxembourg Armed Forces, it constitutes world's most modern air arm by virtue of its sole current aircraft (an A400M), which was delivered as recently as 2020. Setting aside this underwhelming feat, Luxembourg has in recent years further expanded its Air Component through the acquisition of two Airbus H145M helicopters, one Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and RQ-11 Raven, RQ-20 Puma and RQ-21 Integrator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The acquisition of additional aircraft and helicopters for tactical airlift and maritime surveillance is also planned in the near future. [1]

Monday 28 November 2022

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The following list attempts to keep track of foreign military equipment delivered to Russia by Belarus and Iran during the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian War. The entries below are sorted by armament category (with a flag denoting the country of delivery), and due to the confidential nature of some arms deliveries they can serve only as a lower bound to the total volume of weaponry shipped to Russia. Private purchases and commercially available military gear purchased for mobilised troops are not included in this list. This list will be updated as further military support is uncovered.

Sunday 27 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Iran's drone success sets the stage for an expansion of its sphere of influence as the number of countries where Iranian UAVs operate is growing. This not only includes a vast number of non-state actors such as Hizbullah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, but also countries like Ethiopia (which began to operate its Mohajer-6 UCAVs in late 2021 after some initial teething issues), Russia and Tajikistan. It seems like the number of state actors operating Iranian UAVs is only set to increase in the future, while non-state actors like the Houthis will continue to receive new Iranian drone designs as the country's UAV designs are rapidly evolving despite the implementation of foreign sanctions specifically targeting Iran's drone industry and its exports abroad.

Saturday 26 November 2022

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Few Russian weapons systems have managed to impress international audiences during the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian War. Though this is partially the result of decades of hyping up Russian weapons systems to standards they could never live up to by Western think tanks, Russia also failed to timely invest in certain technologies and thus is a latecomer to systems such as unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) and loitering munitions. Despite having designed a host of guided weapons systems, few were ever acquired by the Russian Air Force in any meaningful numbers, which mostly continues to make use of 1980s-era Kh-25s and Kh-29s and even unguided bombs. Even Russia's most modern precision-guided munitions (PGMs) have been observed to be lacking in accuracy, especially compared to Western PGMs.

Friday 25 November 2022

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By Jakub Janovsky, naalsio26Aloha, Dan, Stijn Mitzer, Joost Oliemans and Kemal
 
Misses on Ukrainian equipment by Russian loitering munitions are no longer being counted. Hits on Ukrainian equipment are included in the list of Ukrainian losses. This page was last updated in early March 2023.
 
The use of Iranian-designed loitering munitions by Russia has received a large share of international media attention. Though they are a menace to Ukraine's civilian infrastructure, Russia has so far largely refrained from using them against Ukrainian military targets. A more serious development to Ukraine's Armed Forces comes in the form of the indigenously-designed Kub and Lancet-3(M) loitering munitions that Russia has increasingly been deploying to strike Ukrainian artillery, radars and surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems out of reach from Russia's ground-based assets.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Transnistria, or the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) as it is officially called, is a breakaway state situated between Moldova and Ukraine that has largely escaped the world's attention ever since its self-proclaimed independence as a Soviet republic in 1990 and the subsequent violent secession from Moldova in 1992. When Transnistria took control over most of the weapons storage depots located on its territory, it inherited large amounts of highly specialised vehicles while being left without any significant numbers of (self-propelled) artillery or infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). The limited amount of such equipment that was present in Transnistria was returned to Russia after the conclusion of hostilities, leaving the PMR with an extensive arsenal of engineering vehicles only in service with a few countries in the world, while being almost completely deprived of equipment such as artillery and IFVs. 

Thursday 24 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The Moldovan Armed Forces is one of the most elusive fighting forces in Europe. As the poorest country on the European continent, Moldova has the dubious honour of not having made one acquisition for its military since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Instead, it has been the recipient of military aid from Romania in the 1990s and the United States throughout the 2000s and 2010s, and has in recent years attempted to improve the fighting efficacy of its forces by launching a number of upgrade projects for its armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs).

Wednesday 23 November 2022

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How to provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with military aid when your country barely possesses a military in the first place? That's a question the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg must have asked itself in late February shortly after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. But while Belgium is still struggling for an answer to this question even in June 2023, the Lëtzebuerger Arméi reacted quickly, and immediately donated seven Jeep Wranglers, 102 NLAW anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and 15 military tents to Ukraine on the 28th of February 2022. [1]

Monday 21 November 2022

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As the Russo-Ukrainian War inches forward towards the one-year mark, Türkiye has used its unique position – as a NATO member and as the only remaining connection of Russia to the West – to both arm Ukraine as well as host several rounds of peace talks and negotiating the Black Sea grain deal. Though Türkiye has remained the friendliest of all the NATO countries towards Moscow, it is also the only NATO country that has supplied armament to Ukraine without the explicit condition not to use these against targets located inside Russia. Ukraine has gladly made use of that operational flexibility, using its Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs to strike targets in Russia's Kursk and Belgorod Oblasts on numerous occasions. [1] [2] Its strategic leniency is not the only thing that distinguishes it amongst Ukraine's allies however, with its military support ranking as one of the most expansive of all NATO members.

Monday 14 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Armenia's attempts at increasing the fighting efficacy of its forces has seen it designing and producing anything from lightweight MRLs, remote-controlled machine guns that can be fired from the safety of a trench to various types of drones and even IR dazzlers to protect tanks against the threat of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). [1] [2] Most of these designs have remained shrouded in obscurity as a result of their low production numbers and the fact that little attention was ever devoted to the Armed Forces of Armenia, despite it being engaged in active conflict for decades.

Thursday 10 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has seen NATO countries scrambling to strengthen their defensive posture by acquiring additional weaponry. For no country is this more true than for Poland, which has embarked on a military shopping spree unprecedented in modern European history. This has so far included the purchase and planned purchase of 1,000 K2 MBTs, 672 K9 SPGs and 288 K239 MRLs from South Korea and 366 M1 Abrams MBTs and 92 AH-64E attack helicopters from the United States. Meanwhile, domestic defence producers are to provide the Polish Armed Forces with almost 1,500 IFVs and hundreds artillery pieces in addition to systems such as drones.

Monday 7 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The Indonesian Air Force is currently undergoing a re-equipment programme with the aim of building up a qualitative and quantitative force to defend its territory and counter an increasingly assertive China. Among planned acquisitions of assets such as multirole combat aircraft, tanker aircraft and new attack helicopters, the Indonesian Armed Forces are also investing in the acquisition and development of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). This has so far included the purchase of six CH-4B armed drones from China and the rumoured acquisition of Turkish-made UCAVs from Baykar Tech. [1]

Sunday 6 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The Serbian arms industry is flourishing, with anything from small arms to advanced guided weaponry being designed and produced for the Serbian Army and for a number of international customers including the UAE, Cyprus, Turkmenistan and Bangladesh. This meanwhile has come to include a number of unmanned aerial vehicle designs that have already entered service with the Serbian Army in limited quantities. More ambitious designs are also in the pipeline, including the Pegaz 011 UCAV, the Gavran 145 loitering munition and the X-01 Strsljen helicopter UCAV.

Saturday 5 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The possible participation of Belarus in the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian War has been speculated about on more than one occasion. Yet others argue that Belarus is already a participant in the war simply by allowing Russia to stage a part of the invasion from its territory and by allowing Russian missile launchers stationed inside the country to fire at targets inside Ukraine. Nonetheless, with a direct Belarusian participation in the war all but certain to trigger a chain of events that would ultimately see the end of the Belarusian regime, President Lukashenko is likely to do everything in his power to prevent an increased Belarusian participation (i.e. providing troops) in the war in Ukraine.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The Republic of China (ROC), popularly known as Taiwan, has seen the number of countries that recognise it as a sovereign country diminish from 24 in 2012 to 13 in 2023. The election of President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016 and in 2020 was met by a diplomatic offensive by the PRC to steal away the few remaining countries that still recognise the ROC as the sole legal government of China. Nonetheless, it can be argued that the de-jure recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign nation ultimately matters little, as it is de-facto already treated as one. Indeed, Taiwan has been lauded for its highly effective Covid-19 response, and Eastern European countries (including Ukraine) have not shied away from cosying up to Taiwan even under diplomatic pressure from the PRC. Still, international recognition is an important matter of national pride and Taiwan has invested significant resources in keeping countries committed to it.

Friday 4 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer, Lukas Müller and Joost Oliemans
 
For an article on the development of the Islamic Emirate Air Force click here.
 
The Islamic Emirate Air Force (IEAF) has surprised friend and foe alike by not only continuing to exist as a functional air force, but also by continuously expanding its operational inventory of aircraft through overhauling both damaged and decommissioned aircraft. Though still only a fraction of the size of the Coalition-supported Afghan Air Force, the IEAF's operational inventory meanwhile includes more than a dozen attack helicopters, more than twenty transport helicopters and half a dozen transport aircraft. While the Taliban was expected by many to be unable to operate its UH-60A+ Black Hawks for more than a few months, at least six Black Hawks currently continue to see service as well.
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By Lukas Müller in collaboration with Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
This article summarises the development of the Islamic Emirate Air Force or the 'Taliban Air Force' as the service is popularly known as in the West, and attempts to answer oft-asked questions such as: 'Who are the Taliban's pilots?', 'What aircraft does the Taliban operate?' and 'How can they maintain these aircraft?' For an inventory assessment of the Islamic Emirate Air Force click here.

Thursday 3 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
It is scarcely known that the Polish Navy operated two guided-missile destroyers from 1970 until 2003. Although by no means modern ships even for 1970s and 1980s standards, these vessels nonetheless constituted one of the few classes of naval vessels armed with surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) operating in the Baltic Sea that were not operated by the Soviet Union for a significant part of the Cold War. The decommissioning of the Project 61MP-class destroyer ORP Warszawa in 2003 brought an end to 73-years of consecutive destroyer operations by the Polish Navy.

Tuesday 1 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Belarusian Army has for the most part experienced a drought in new acquisitions since its founding in 1992. Much of the scarcely available funding for new acquisitions has been used for the purchase of combat aircraft and air defence systems, most often acquired at friendly prices from Russia. The Ground Forces have been the recipient of 25 T-72B3 Obr. 2016 MBTs and some 65 BTR-82A(M) IFVs from Russia, while China has donated 22 EQ2058s and an unknown number of CS/VN3 infantry mobility vehicles (IMVs) since 2012. China is also the source of the technology behind the Belarusian Polonez guided MRL/SRBM system, which entered service with the Belarusian Army in 2015.

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 Kaan (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]

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 for the first time used its newly-acquired Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to strike back at and multiple rocket launchers (MRLs). Possessing no surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems in the area capable of shooting down the TB2 whatsoever, Tajik forces proved highly vulnerable to the invisible enemy above.

Friday 30 September 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Abbrevations:
 
- CBAF (Carro Blindado de Apoyo de Fuego) = Armoured Fire-Support Vehicle
 
- CBE (Carro Blindado de Exploración) = Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle
 
- CBI (Carro Blindado de Infantería) = Armoured Infantry Vehicle
 
- C-AP (Cañón Autopropulsado) = Self-Propelled Artillery
 
- C-AP-AT (Cañon Autopropulsado Anti-Tanque) = Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Cannon

Wednesday 14 September 2022

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By Jakub Janovsky, DanStijn Mitzer, Joost Oliemans and Kemal
 
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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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 eight Leopard 2A4 MBTs, 39 brand-new Armoured Combat Support Vehicles, 208 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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The following list attempts to keep track of military equipment delivered or pledged to Ukraine by the Netherlands shortly prior to and during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The entries below are sorted by armament category (with a flag denoting the country of origin), and due to the confidential nature of some arms deliveries they can serve only as a lower bound to the total volume delivered. The Netherlands has provided nearly €2 bilion worth of military assistance to Ukraine. [1] This list will be updated as further military support is uncovered.
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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]