Thursday, 10 November 2016
By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
Exclusive new images featured in one of our articles for NK News Pro have revealed the construction of four 77 metres long corvettes is in an advanced stage, once again showing rearmament of the ill-equipped Korean People's Navy is continuing at an unexpected pace.
Although unfortunately, our full analysis is behind a paywall, an NK News article featuring various experts in the field of North Korean weapon proliferation on the new corvettes is available for free. Alternatively, you could wait for the full analysis in our upcoming book: The Armed Forces of North Korea: on the path of Songun.
A Navy reborn: New warships spotted in North Korea
Exclusive HD photos reveal secretive new class of large warships with advanced capabilities set to enter service
''Four new large naval combatants are being constructed in the DPRK, set to become the new centerpieces of a fleet that has seen a range of new projects slowly replace the obsolete equipment from the Cold War. Although progress on the new corvettes, two of which have been under assembly since 2011, has been slow and disorderly, new images show their entry into service may not take much longer. At a length of 77 meters each, the new vessels constitute the largest naval project undertaken by the Korean People’s Navy (KPN) in decades, bringing new capabilities to the table that represent a tangible threat to opposing navies in the region.''
The full analysis of these vessels, which incorporate a variety of the latest technologies available to the KPN, can be found at the NK Pro website here: https://www.nknews.org/pro/a-navy-reborn-new-warships-spotted-in-north-korea/
A free NK News article featuring various experts in the field of North Korean weapon proliferation on the new corvettes can be read here: https://www.nknews.org/2016/11/exclusive-new-low-visibility-corvette-spotted-in-north-korea/
N. Korea flaunts new ship with advanced missile capability
KPA Navy flag ship undergoing radical modernization
North Korean Kh-35 anti-ship missiles shed light on a modernizing navy
First North Korean SLBM presents wholly novel threat
Sunday, 6 November 2016
By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
The following images were taken during Syrian Arab Army exercises over the past several years, including the large-scale exercise involving all branches of the Syrian Armed Forces in 2012. This exercise was carried out amid an increasingly deteriorating security situation in Syria, leading to calls from the international world for an intervention similar to the one seen in Libya. In response, the Syrian Armed Forces launched a several day long exercise to show its strenght to the outside world.
The T-72AV, also known as the T-82 in Syria, seen during an exercise in the Rif Dimashq Governorate. Although the fleet of 'T-82s' has suffered heavily due to the large-scale proliferation of rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) in Syria, a sizeable amount of tanks remain operational. Fully intact T-72AVs still sporting all of their explosive reactive armour (ERA) blocks as seen below have become an increasingly rare sight however.
Operating alongside the T-72AV is the T-72 'Ural', the first and also the least numerous T-72 variant to have been acquired by Syria before the start of the Civil War. The tanks can be seen equipped with a laser engagement system for training uses only. The T-72 'Ural' can easily discerned from other T-72 variants by the TPD-2-49 optical rangefinder protruding from the turret and by its flipper-type armoured panels instead of the rubber side-skirts seen on later types.
The Syrian Arab Army's fleet of T-55(A)MV has traditionally been concentrated along the Golan Heights, and although outdated when compared to Israeli armour currently in service, one could argue their combat effectiveness could surpass that of the T-72 'Ural' and T-72M1. The T-55(A)MV features Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armour (ERA), a KTD-2 laser rangefinder, smoke grenade launchers, an upgraded engine and the capability to fire the 9M117M Bastion anti-tank missile. The costs of just a few of these missiles is higher than the actual price of the T-55 launching them, and they have seen only limited action in Syria's Quneitra Governorate.
recently sighted in service with the 4th Armoured Division.
Although many hoped for the reintroduction of the T-34/85 on today's battlefield, sightings of this legendary tank in Syria in recent years has so far remained limited to just five examples, two of which belonged to a batch of T-34/85s converted to T-34/122 self-propelled howitzers armed with the 122mm D-30, which was retired long before the Civil War. Two other (intact) T-34/85s were seen in Syria's Quneitra province, used as static pillboxes facing Israel. It is likely these tanks were operational until quite recently. The T-34/85 below was seen during an exercise shortly before the start of the Civil War. While the T-34/85, or T-34/76 for that matter, indeed continues to be used in oeprational capacity across the globe, their presence nowadays remains limited to Yemen and North Korea.
160mm M-160 mortars seen during the 2012 exercises. Seeing heavy use during the early stages of the Civil War, when many of the protests and armed uprisings that followed were still contained in the cities, these and other heavy mortars were often deployed just outside the city perimiter for the shelling of neighbourhoods that had revolted. In more recent years, the M-160s are believed to have been supplemented by additional 240mm M-240s with rocket-assisted projectiles.
A BM-21 fires one of its forty 122mm rockets towards a new target. The BM-21 is by far the most numerous multiple rocket launcher (MRL) in service with the Syrian Armed Forces. The type previously operated alongside a sizeable number of North Korean 122mm BM-11 MRLs before these were donated to Lebanon along with Syria's remaining stock of T-54 and older T-55 variants. With an increasing number of Volcanoes and 220mm, 300mm, 302mm multiple rocket launchers at hand, the Syrian Arab Army has somewhat compensated for the loss of large numbers of BM-21s by a substantial increase in qualitative firepower. Rebels operating in Northern Syria recently received BM-21s acquired from Eastern Europe by one of the Gulf States, further increasing the proliferation of this system in Syria.
Photo Report: The Syrian Arab Air Defence Force
Photo Report: The Syrian Arab Navy
Photo Report: Syrian Arab Armed Forces Calendar 2015