Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Islamic State going DIY, 122mm D-30 howitzers used as anti-aircraft guns



Imagery recently released by the Islamic State's media office of Wilayat Ninawa in Iraq (Nineveh governorate) shows truck-mounted 122mm D-30 howitzers of the al-Farouq Platoon (of the Wilayat Ninawa Air Defence Battalion) firing at U.S. (E)P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft used for SIGINT missions over Mosul. The use of this weaponry, ordinarily used as conventional artillery against ground targets only, is highly notable, and highlights the Islamic State's severe lack of means to counter the Coalition's overwhelming air assets.

The images, captured in and around Mosul, the largest city under the Islamic State's control, depict U.S.-made Navistar International 7000 Series and M-35 trucks which have been modified to carry the Soviet-legacy 122mm D-30 howitzer. The M-35-based example appears to be housed in a hardened bunker, only being moved outside when a potential target appears. Furthermore, the truck has been outfitted with stabilisers and a mount to lower the howitzer into travel position. Other images show more conventional assets of the al-Farouq Battalion, including a 14.5mm ZPU-2, 23mm ZU-23-2, 37mm Type-65 and 57mm AZP S-60, all of which mounted on a variety of trucks.

Also shown are two shots fired by the truck mounted howitzers missing their intended target: A U.S. (E)P-3 Orion. These planes are being used for intelligence gathering and electronic warfare over Mosul, seriously hampering the Islamic State's ability to coordinate operations in Iraqi territory. The slow-flying (E)P-3s, often flying in circles over the city, must be a thorn in the eye of the Islamic State, which, in contrast with fast flying jets also used in the region, must appear as though they have a chance of shooting them down. Despite the fact that the high-powered artillery is capable of reaching the altitude at which these aircraft operate, the fact that their High Explosive (HE) munition lacks any type of anti-aircraft fuse means they have to score a direct hit on their target in order to disable it, an almost impossible feat to accomplish.


Although this practise might thus appear to be a waste of time and munition, the Islamic State is not the first to resort to such tactics. Indeed, the Mujahideen is known to have employed mortar- and RPG-fire against Soviet helicopters during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and Iranian artillery targeted low-flying Iraqi helicopters during the Iran-Iraq War as well. Of course, neither of these cases resulted in any reported aircraft losses or even minor damage being done, most likely because the use of such weaponry (lacking time fuses) only results in either a complete destruction of the target or a complete miss.



Still, the Islamic State is arguably the most inventive faction currently battling in Syria and Iraq, especially considering the fact that most of their weaponry is quickly targeted by Air Forces operating over the conflicted battlespace. Although certainly a desperate attempt to shoot down slow-flying enemy aircraft, it once again demonstrates the willingness of the Islamic State to dedicate resources to continue the fight, no matter the costs. Future posts will shed more light on DIY projects conducted by the Islamic State to improve its fighting capabilities, which have so far been severely underreported.




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17 comments:

  1. Woowwww....you guys are back...finally!!!!!

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  2. Welcome back guys!

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  3. Welcome back!

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  4. Finally!!!! Welcome back!!!

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  5. I hate these guys, but you do gotta respect their willingness to try anything, lol. Nice post, welcome back

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  6. ddddddddeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrpppppppppppppp

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  7. Welcome back! Do you have a link to the images showing the other weapons mentioned? 

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  8. Welcome back guys!! Can't wait to see some articles on the recent PMU refurbishment of old Iraqi equipment, tanks and APC's from the boneyards!

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  9. I find it odd they don't have Proximity Fuses. That's WW2 technology.

    But lets say they develop the appropriate fuses, just what kind of area of effect are we looking at? For that matter if they do bring down a plane, the crew of course would be dead or soon to be, what effects would that have coalition forces?

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    1. They don't have proximity fuses because the D-30 was never intended to be used in an anti-aircraft role. Proximity fuses were available on Soviet anti-aircraft artillery, such as the 85mm KS-12 and the 100mm KS-19

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  10. Do you mind if I translate this and posted on its website?

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    1. As long as you mention Oryx Blog as the source, sure!

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