Monday 28 August 2023

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
''Those who don't love me don't deserve to live.'' (By Muammar Gaddafi)

During a period that spanned four decades the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi became world renowned for his cult of personality, his proposal to partition Switzerland during a G8 summit, invading four out of Libya's six neighbours, his attempt to persuade an Egyptian(!) submarine to sink the British Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner and for orchestrating the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Nonetheless, many myths still shape contemporary thinking on Gaddafi, such as the provision of free electricity, free healthcare and free money to 'his people' while living a modest life largely devoid of any luxury himself. Gaddafi spared no effort to promote this image during his tenure, preferring to sleep in tents rather than in expensive hotels on state visits abroad. In reality, Gaddafi salted away billions during his 42-year long reign and travelled the world on a private $120 million Airbus A340 that even came with its own jacuzzi.

Sunday 27 August 2023

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By Stijn Mitzer and Kemal
 
The 2000s witnessed a widespread decrease in European defence spending, and the Netherlands was certainly not exempt from this trend. Within a span of less than a decade, the Dutch Armed Forces had to bid farewell to a multitude of weapons systems. This included all of its tanks, self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, multiple rocket launchers and maritime patrol aircraft. In addition, significant reductions were made in the inventory of frigates, fighter jets and AFVs. Compounding the situation was a shortage of spare parts and ammunition, along with a decline in morale, resulting in a significant loss of personnel as soldiers pursued better opportunities outside of the military.

Monday 21 August 2023

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By Thomas Nachtrab, Stijn Mitzer, Buschlaid and Jan Kerdijk
 
Kazakhstan found itself in a fortunate position when it came to inheriting military equipment from the USSR. The outcome was somewhat akin to a stroke of luck. If not for the drawdown of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany in the late 1980s, Kazakhstan could have been left with a substantial number of nuclear-capable Tu-95 bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), but sorely lacking in terms of conventional military equipment. However, with a significant number of troops formerly deployed to Europe being relocated to the Kazakhstan SSR, the country ended up inheriting a vast arsenal of military equipment far surpassing the needs of the newly-established republic.

Saturday 19 August 2023

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

It might come as a surprise to many that Switzerland continues to operate a significant number of armored fighting vehicles (AFVs), even in the aftermath of the Cold War and the seemingly remote possibility of facing an invasion from any (neighboring) nation. In spite of the decommissioning of most bunker systems and a considerable reduction in its air force, the Swiss Armed Forces are engaged in a continual process of modernising their capabilities. This involves both the acquisition of new equipment and the enhancing of existing AFVs through (limited) upgrade programmes.

Tuesday 15 August 2023

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
En güzel deniz: henüz gidilmemiş olandır. En güzel çocuk: henüz büyümedi. En güzel günlerimiz: henüz yaşamadıklarımız. Ve sana söylemek istediğim en güzel söz: henüz söylememiş olduğum sözdür – The most beautiful sea, hasn't been crossed yet. The most beautiful child, hasn't grown up yet. Our most beautiful days, we haven't witnessed yet. And the most beautiful words I wanted to tell you, I haven't said yet. (By Nazım Hikmet)

Monday 14 August 2023

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Bulgaria finds itself in a challenging economic position as the poorest country within the European Union. This economic struggle has had a notable impact on the country's efforts to modernise its armed forces. Insufficient funding has hindered Bulgaria's attempts to bring its military capabilities up to contemporary (NATO) standards, resulting in an inventory that bears a striking resemblance to that of the Bulgarian Army of the 1980s. As per former Minister of Defence Dimitar Stoyanov, the country's delay in modernising its armed forces has resulted in a current financial requirement amounting to some 3-4% of the nation's GDP to bring the military up to modern standards. [1]

Sunday 13 August 2023

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Bulgaria has emerged as a crucial lifeline for Ukraine, acting as an armsbasket amid the conflict with Russia. The country's defence companies have taken on an unprecedented role, operating around the clock to supply Ukraine with much-needed Soviet-type ammunition to support its resistance against Russia. Paradoxically, even as Bulgarian factories work tirelessly to aid Ukraine, the nation faces an internal contradiction. The pro-Russian President's attribution of blame to Kyiv for Russia's invasion and his vehement opposition to Bulgaria's indirect involvement in the war starkly contrasts with the pro-Ukrainian defence minister's aims of increasing his nation's assistance to Ukraine.

Friday 11 August 2023

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The following list attempts to keep track of military equipment delivered or pledged to Ukraine by Greece during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The entries below are sorted by armament category (with a flag denoting the country of origin). Due to the confidential nature of some arms deliveries they can serve only as a lower bound to the total volume of weaponry delivered. This list will be updated as further military support is uncovered or declared.

Tuesday 8 August 2023

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
With a yearly budget of $19 billion in 2023, Taiwan faces significant challenges in matching the pace of China's ever-expanding military might. Consequently, the country has made strategic decisions to prioritise investments in its air force and navy, recognising the critical role these branches play in defending the island nation. As the Taiwanese Army is set to engage only after Chinese forces have landed on its territory, the Taiwanese Armed Forces' primary objective lies in establishing a robust deterrent to deter China from carrying out an amphibious landing in the first place.

Sunday 6 August 2023

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Over the past decade, Uganda has quietly embarked on a significant modernisation drive. This ambitious effort has seen the acquisition of Su-30MK2 multi-role fighter aircraft, Mi-28N attack helicopters and T-90S MBTs from Russia. Additionally, the country has invested in advanced weapons systems from Israel, such as 155mm ATMOS SPGs, 120mm SPEAR Mk.2 and CARDOM SPMs, as well as Hermes 900 UAVs. To further supplement its ground forces, Uganda has also obtained Type-85-IIM MBTs and VN2C APCs from China and 240mm 'M-1991 MRLs from North Korea.

Saturday 5 August 2023

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Romania possesses the second largest military on NATO's eastern flank. Nonetheless, the country's inventory is largely comprised of Soviet-era equipment. In response to the 2014 Russian occupation of Crimea, Romania has undertaken a number of projects to modernise its military capabilities. Among the most important acquisitions to date are 49 F-16 fighter aircraft from Portugal and Norway, 7 Patriot SAM batteries, 54 M142 HIMARS and 54 M1A2 MBTs from the US and 21 Watchkeeper X UCAVs from Israel. Some of these contracts incorporate technology offset clauses, which ensures that Romanian companies play an essential role as subcontractors or component suppliers.
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The following list attempts to keep track of military equipment delivered or pledged to Ukraine by Romania 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. This list is updated as further military support is uncovered.