Showing posts with label United Arab Emirates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United Arab Emirates. Show all posts

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer
 
The heavy infantry fighting vehicle (HIFV) concept has found little success with militaries around the world. Although the HIFV's heavy firepower and increased armour protection is of particular use during fighting in urban areas, the hefty pricetag of most HIFVs and their niche role have been enough to dissuade most militaries from ever acquiring them. Still, new HIFVs are designed to this day, with the Russian T-15 Armata, the Israeli Namer (HIFV) and the Chinese VT4 being some of the more recent examples. Of these, only the Namer has so far entered service.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer
 
An air bridge between Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates and Iran has ensured Ethiopia is equipped with all the armament it needs to defeat the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) in the ongoing conflict. Despite totalling some 140 flights by January 2022, relatively little is known about the types of arms and equipment delivered to the embattled Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF). [1] This is not in the least through the enforcement of strong operational security (OPSEC) rules throughout the entirety of the ENDF, forbidding soldiers to take photos of their equipment. Prior to the outbreak of the Tigray War, Ethiopia was known for its laxity in adhering to proper OPSEC procedures, a welcome fact for analysts like us.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer

The last few months have seen a remarkable reversal of fortunes for the Ethiopian government. After a large Ethiopian Army offensive against Tigray forces in early October 2021 backfired spectacularly, the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) commenced a counteroffensive that at one point even threatened the security of the capital Addis Ababa. [1] Possessing little in the way of air defence systems that can counter (armed) drones flying high overhead, Tigray forces eventually succumbed to the pressure of unabated drone warfare and withdrew to the borders of the Tigray Region in mid-December 2021. [2]

Monday, 3 January 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer
 
Just a month after the deployment of six Emirati Wing Loong I unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) and their operators to Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates is already implicated in a series of airstrikes on civilian infrastructure in the town of Alamata in the Tigray Region. The strikes resulted in the deaths of 42 civilians and the wounding of at least 150 as munitions struck the town's hospital and market. [1] [2] The majority of deaths are believed to have resulted from unguided bombs dropped by the Ethiopian Air Force's (ETAF) Su-27 fighter aircraft, which Ethiopia has repurposed as makeshift bombers armed with dumb bombs and cluster munitions. [3]

Thursday, 30 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans based on data gathered by Gerjon
 
In November 2021 the United Arab Emirates deployed at least six Wing Loong I unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to Harar Meda air base in Ethiopia to help the embattled Ethiopian government in its fight against Tigray forces. [1] The deployment was the first confirmation that Emirati armed drones had begun operating over Ethiopia after rumours concerning their use over Ethiopia first surfaced in November 2020. [2] New data now suggests that the UCAVs are not the first aircraft to have been deployed to Ethiopia by the UAE during the Tigray War.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
In early June 2020, forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) captured the strategically important city of Tarhuna, marking the official end of the Libyan National Army's (LNA) 14-month long offensive that aimed to capture Tripoli. [1] In the process of sifting through the spoils of war littered about the city, the GNA encountered a number of MRLs that were at the time completely unknown. Tarhuna had acted as a giant supply depot for LNA forces in Western Libya, and since the LNA received significant military support from the UAE, a link was easily established. [2]

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The deployment of Emirati unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) on the side of the Ethiopian government has been speculated on ever since the beginning of conflict with the rebellious Tigray Region in November 2020. Nonetheless, the oft-repeated claim that several Chinese-made Wing Loong UCAVs operated out of Assab air base in Eritrea to undertake combat missions over Tigray has never been supported by evidence that points towards such a deployment. However, new information received by the authors' from an aircraft mechanic working at Harar Media air base appears to finally disclose the presence of Emirati Wing Loong Is UCAVs over Ethiopia. [1]

Friday, 19 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Much has been written and discussed about the quality of Chinese-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). While some argue that Chinese drones have proven cost-effective alternatives to American UAVs, others have pointed out the drones' high crash rates and reliability issues when compared to their Israeli, U.S. and Turkish counterparts. Despite these issues, Chinese UAVs remain highly popular on the market today. This is likely not the least due to the fact that there are few strings attached to Chinese arms sales, enabling countries like the United Arab Emirates to deploy its Chinese-made UCAVs over areas where it wouldn't be allowed to operate its U.S.-produced drones.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans based on data gathered by Gerjon
 
The Emirati air bridge that aims to keep the Ethiopian military stocked on weaponry and munitions shows no sign of abating. Since August 2021, more than 100 cargo flights from the United Arab Emirates to Ethiopia have been recorded by aircraft tracker Gerjon. [1] When also including Ethiopian Airlines cargo aircraft flying between Ethiopia and the UAE and additional flights from Iran, the total influx of armament to the war-ravaged country increases even further. [2] Though originating in countries that couldn't be more opposed to one another, the UAE and Iran appear to have found common middle ground in delivering arms and equipment to the embattled Ethiopian military.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The number of cargo flights between the United Arab Emirates and Ethiopia has left little doubt that the UAE has taken an active role in supporting the Ethiopian military in its fight against Tigray forces in the northern parts of Ethiopia. In two months, some 70 Il-76 cargo aircraft flying out of the UAE landed in Ethiopia. [1] [2] While some of the large cargo aircraft appear to have landed at Addis Ababa international airport, in most other cases they landed at Harar Meda air base, undoubtedly to unload their military cargo away from prying eyes and cameras.

Friday, 8 October 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans based on data gathered by Gerjon 
 
Amidst an increasingly deterorating security situation throughout large parts of northern Ethiopia, the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) has embarked on an international shopping spree in an effort to acquire new weapon systems that could help it to halt the seemingly unstoppable advances of Tigray forces. As part of its efforts, Ethiopia has sought to acquire arms from countries like the UAE and Iran. Recent data collected by aircraft tracker Gerjon reveals the scale of the air bridge maintained by these countries to keep the ENDF supplied with all the weaponry and equipment it needs. [1]

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The deployment of Emirati unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) on behalf of the Ethiopian government has been speculated on ever since the beginning of hostilities with the rebellious Tigray Region in November 2020. The oft-repeated claims that several Chinese-made Wing Loong UCAVs operate out of Assab air base in Eritrea to undertake combat missions over Tigray have never been supported by evidence that points towards such a deployment either in 2020 or now. However, almost one year into the conflict evidence that shows UAE-combat drones have indeed been delivered to Ethiopia to help it in its fight against the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) has now finally emerged. [1]

Monday, 4 October 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The continued delivery of arms and equipment to the war-thorn country of Ethiopia remains largely unreported on, and its impact on the situation on the ground is at the moment largely unknown. What is known however is that the constant attrition of Ethiopia's military arsenal has led the country to scrounge the planet for anyone willing to supply it with additional weaponry, which has even included Mohajer-6 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) from Iran. These UCAVs now operate alongside Israeli and Chinese designs, showing just how complicated the modern day network of foreign arms suppliers has become.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

This list aims to catalogue visually confirmed Coalition unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) losses during the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen launched in March 2015. This list only includes visually confirmed losses recorded. Thus, the actual number of UAVs lost in the theatre is likely significantly higher than what is recorded here (for example drones that crashed inside Saudi Arabia but whose wreckages were never photographed). As the conflict is still ongoing, the list will be updated as new downings occur.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

A comprehensive catalogue of weaponry and equipment supplied to the LNA can be found further down in this article.
 
Since the renewal of a civil war in Libya in 2014 a slow-burning yet at times surprisingly intense conflict has left its future in doubt, with multiple parties vying for control and their international backers not shying away from investing large sums of money to see a favourable result come about. Although a UN-imposed arms embargo (in place since February 2011) is meant to stop both sides from obtaining weapons and equipment, it has since been blatantly and consistently ignored by their foreign backers. A recently released UN panel of experts report aimed to document transgressions of this embargo since its instatement, primarily focusing on analysis of international shipments of arms and equipment by means of air transport. [1] The resulting body of work although painstakingly detailed in some aspects is a testament to shortcomings of this method, and is wholely lacking in competent imagery analysis, failing to note the delivery of a myriad of weapons systems and munitions, while misidentifying others. Its conclusions therefore are far off the mark essentially throwing Turkey as a foreign power in the region under the bus, while categorically ignoring serial offenders such as the UAE, Russia, Jordan and Egypt. This article aims to function as a counterpoint to UNSC's report not by refuting its contents (though a concise rebuffal can be found here), but by providing an actually comprehensive overview of arms transfers by the aforementioned parties to Libya's LNA since 2014.

Friday, 12 February 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Al-Watiya. An airbase few had ever heard of until it became a symbol in the fight of the internationally-recognised government of Libya (GNA) against Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) that seeks to overthrow it. While its capture on the 18th of May 2020 temporarily managed to put the spotlight on the severely underreported Libyan conflict, not the least because of the destruction and capture of two Russian Pantsir-S1 missile systems supplied by the UAE, the full implications of the capture of al-Watiya have gone mostly unnoticed.

More than just a local success story for the Government of National Accord, al-Watiya was a major stronghold in the LNA's offensive line around Tripoli. Tasked with protecting and supporting the Western flank of the LNA's military thrust into Tripoli, what was left of Haftar's prospects of capturing Libya's capital crumbled with the loss of this key airbase. The freeing up of GNA forces as a result of the capture and the subsequent increase in pressure on other fronts around Tripoli made the LNA's and Wagner PMC's position in this part of the country untenable, leading to a chaotic retreat from Western Libya and ending Haftar's long-held dream of capturing Tripoli and installing himself as self-proclaimed president of Libya.

Monday, 2 November 2020

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer
 
Over time, stories detailing North Korea's arms exports to countries in the Middle East have become more and more common. Though any military link to the DPRK is hardly something nations have been likely to boast about, the actors in these stories are familiar and, in a certain sense, unsurprising. Egypt and Yemen were willing customers in the past, but Iran and Syria (and the non-state actors they support) maintain quite well documented links to the present day. Exposing the extent of these links is by no means trivial and definitely an interesting subject of its own; today however we shed light on a subject that is much less familiar.