Francotiradores de Estado Islámico

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Vídeo- análisis de 14 minutos a cerca de las tácticas, el entrenamiento y las escaramuzas en las que han participado los francotiradores de la llamada Wilayath Sinai, la provincia en Egipto del Estado Islámico.

Illuminating the new Turkish M-60T1 Sabra deployed in Syria

Before anything I want to thanks in first term to @trubia_t but also to @TarMilus and @WithinSyriaBlog for give me their valuable opinion while I was doing this article.

On this article we are going to have a closer look to the new Turkish tank that has also appeared in Syria, the M-60T1 Sabra.

Fist of all the M-60T Sabra is a very deep upgrade designed in Israel and based on the Magach 7C tank which is in turn based on the M-60 Patton, the Israelis called it Sabra Mk. II but when it was chosen by the Turkish Army it was called M-60T from “Türkiye” (Turkey).

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Israeli Magach 7C, the father of the M-60T Sabra, also called Sabra Mk. II

In the end of August, 2016 Turkey launched the Operation Euphrates Shield (OES) with the aim of kick ISIS from some areas in the nort of Syria and also there was a hidden objective to prevent Kurdish from unify their cantons in Syria and ensure survival of some Turkish backed rebel groups.

Since the begin the armored spearhead of the Turkish and its allies during OES was the M-60T Sabra, the tank was quite good and was able to even resist on the front the impact of a 9M133 Kornet, one of the most advanced Russian ATGMs, this is not a small matter as far as the M-60T in the end was based on a tank from the 60s, but despite of that the numerous impacts on the sides of the M-60Ts showed that they still were very vulnerable to the ISIS ATGMs.

The amount of losses of men and material was increasing at a relatively high rate and it finally lead to the appearance of the Leopard 2A4TRs to replace at a certain degree the losses suffered by units equipped with the M-60s.

So the situation was relatively bad and Turkey came up with a new upgrade that has probably been conceived in less than a few months, unless it was a previous secret program, so this is why the M-60T1 probably bornt, to meet the demanding requirements of the new Syrian operational environment.

On 7th February some images of a tank called “M-60T1” merged and that was quite strange as far as we didn’t hear nothing about that upgrade before.

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First image of the M-60T1 Sabra in Syria, via @huseyinbozan

The first interesting thing is the Remote Weapon Station (RWS) that replaces at the left-back of the turret the M85 HMG weapon station, that was not remotely operated, the new RWS uses a typical 12,7 x 99 mm M2 Browning HMG, the new RWS looks like is a N-2000 from the Turkish company Nurol Makina who has put it on the Ejder Yalçin 4×4 armored vehicle, also it is possible that this product has been developed with some know-how from ASELSAN or could be a SARP RWS from the same Turkish company with a lot of experience in the field of RWS design.

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Ejder Yalçin with one variant of the N-2000
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Ejder Yalçin with another variant of the N-2000, this one looks closer to the one featured in the image of the M-60T1

The company provides some information about the N-2000 that is stated to use a DNP-28 ASELSAN night and day vision system and also it can be rotated manually from inside between -20° and +60° in elevation and 360° in azimuth (multi-turn).

In opposition to most tanks in the world the M-60 was one of the few with a commander’s machine gun fired from a protected station without the need to expose himself to the bullets or the shrapnel when firing the machine gun so the motivation of this improve can not be the protection, we think that the reason is due to the optics and at a less extent because of the standarization.

The N-2000 possess good optics, specially for night operations much better than those of the original M-60T M85 machine gun, and also it is the standarization which is a minor point. The M85 is a machine gun only operated in the M-60 series  and, in spite of be similar to the M2 Browning it is still different and could have some disadvantages against the M2 that is used in a lot of vehicles and by the Turskish infantry and so it has a less complex logistic.

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M-60T1 in Syria

The other main improvement of the M-60T1 is the “artifact” located at the side of the turret, but before treat it we would like to say that the opinion emitted about the artifact must not be taken as a fact because we are far from sure to be able to say what it is exactly.

The artifact looks comprised of two different elements that we have not been able to ID, the one on the top looks like a Laser Warning Receiver, a device that would be useful just against the 9M133 Kornet, the only laser guided missile on hands of ISIS, the device below could be a camera or a dazzler, the camera could be useful for driving and at close range during urban fighting, but for us it looks fixed so at a certain degree it wouldn’t have sense to install such a big camera fixed in the end we find this second theory less likely.

The lower part of the artifact could be a TLUS LWRS from ASELSAN but unleast some better images appear we can’t be sure.

Also the theory of a non hard-kill APS similar to the Shtora-1 has some weak points as @trubia_t notest because just 8 smoke-launchers on the tank are not enough to fully exploit a system like this.

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*SARP or N-2000 RWS

So in our opinion the most likely and desirable device would be a dazzler similar in concept to the “red eyes” of the T-90’s Shtora, essentially it consists in a special light able to confuse the automatic part of the guidance system from a Semi Automatic Line of Sight (SACLOS) ATGM, a system present in most ATGMs in Syria, with the exception of the 9M14 Malyutka that is MCLOS, that would explain the fixed position looking at the sides of the device, as far as the M-60T front has shown to be very well protected against all the threats in Syria and so the tank  does not need protection on the front but rather on the sides were nearly all of the impacts had happened.

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T-90A with the dazzlers of the Shtora-1 activated

It is interesting to note the arid camo paint on the M-60T1 what proves the especialization of this upgrade for the Syrian scenario, at the moment just the Leopard 2A4 TR and a few M-60Ts deployed in Syria had get something like it while most M-60Ts even keep the typical Turkish green camouflage.

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M-60T Sabra in Syria with arid camouflage

We are not sure if this is a prototype or an incoming massive upgrade for M-60Ts but it is interesting to note that Turkey has recently launched a competition to upgrade 40 M-60A3s, 40 Leopard 2A4s and 120 M-60Ts, while of course this has no direct relation with the M-60T1s it makes us think that maybe the M-60T1 is a temporary patch until those upgraded tanks are ready.


Hope you have enjoyed the reading, I am writing a book about tank on tank engagements during the Syrian Civil War so stay alert if you are interested on it, also if you want to help me to invest more time in my English articles you can donate something by clicking here.

If you want to contact me for everything feel free to write me at minstertipo@gmail.com

Made on the Caliphate Attack Drones: Brief Analysis of the Threat

Along 2016 and 2017 have emerged images and videos showing us an exponential increasing use of drones as attack platforms by ISIS and some rebel groups in Syria and Irak, on this article we are going to treat the evolution we have been able to see in their use their capabilities and the projectiles designed by Islamic State.

At first drones were used just for propaganda to record images from above, lately they were used for reconnaissance and intelligence and finally following the logical development  ISIS used them on ground attack role.

How threaty they are?: Knowing their secret weapon

At first ISIS used them as SVBIEDs but with not a very high effectiveness, for example on the New York Times on October 2016 was stated: “Of the three known drone attacks in Iraq, only the one involving the Kurdish soldiers caused casualties. “The explosive device inside was disguised as a battery — there was a very small amount of explosives in it, but it was enough to go off and kill them[…]”.

The relatively low degree of effectiveness is related to the relatively cheap series of drones available for ISIS and their small payload capacity.

Normally civilian drones are designed for especific missions and most of them are not designed to wear big payloads as ISIS needs, still they offer a safety space between the capability of the engines and its total weight letting ISIS install relatively small explosives and devices on them.

On December 2016 in the besieged city of Deir ez Zor the pro-Assad forces were able to down two ISIS drones by presumably using some kind of electronic warfare equipment, both drones can be seen on the images below.

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Both are civilian drones, the first uses a PG-7V and the second an improved PG-7VM warhead. These ones were rocket-propelled grenades originally intended to be fired from the Soviet rocket launcher  RPG-7  with multipurpose capability, and they are able to penetrate more than 20 cm of armor (RHA) or to roughly create an explosion like that of a hand grenade but more powerful.

A PG-7 warhead alone would weight around 1 kg but it would also need a dropping mechanism if it is a tactical support drone, or even a phone or a special device to make the SVBIED exploit at the desired moment unleast the plan is launch the drone straight to the target and make the impact fuze exploit, what could be a difficult task.

While we are not sure if those drones were intended to be SVBIEDs or to be support attack drones they were using typical war material from the region adapted to their new purpose, in spite of use especially designed projectiles.

On November 2016 Conflict Armament Research documented some interesting DIY ” Made in the Caliphate” mortar round fashion artifacts, as can be seen on the images below.

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We have calculate that the lenght and the radius of the cylinder containing the explosive must be 4,5 and 1,85 cm approximately

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The projectile is formed by five elements: (5) The plastic tail designed to gain stability and so accuracy during the flight (4) The main part of the body is united to the tail and made of the same plastic, it is cylindical and inside (3) it is the manufactured explosive  mixture, (1) then it is the pin point steel plain impact fuze and (2)  it also has an ingenious safety system by using a pin that needs to be removed to get the projectile armed.

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Behind these artifacts there is a much bigger project that includes design, production, know-how and testing, what tells us a lot about ISIS State-like capabilities, but still if we have a closer look to some of them we will see that they are not mass pruced but manufactured because their lines are not equal and perfect on every product, we may call this kind of middle way between DIY and industrial product a “DIY/2”.

We have been able to make a rough estimation of the explosive inside the projectiles on the images above, and they have a volume of 40 to 70 cm3 to be filled with an ISIS produced DIY/2 explosive mix with less power than a military one.

Conflict Amamente Research show us on its excellent document  that ISIS has been able to produce plastic fuzes so, why do not use those on these artifacts?. In my opinion when the projectile is falling it is good for the accuracy that most of the weight is on the nose where the fuze is and so if the projectile is so light a fuze composed of steel has a great advantage over a plastic one providing the desired “nose-falling” effect.

Also some may think that this looks like a DIY/2 mortar round, but this can not be true because the “projection cartridge” (as we call it in Spanish) needed to fire a mortar round would destroy the whole projectile if it was made of plastic.

Finally if we compare the ISIS designed projectiles with the adapted PG-7s we will find out that for every PG-7 at least 3 ISIS projectiles probably can be carried by a drone, but to attack an armored vehicle, even like a humvee, just a PG-7 can be effective so If I were a terrorist I would use PG-7s against highly protected targets while ISIS projectiles against enemy exposed infantry or unprotected vehicles. In the end even a M1 Abrams hasn’t got protection enough on the roof to deal with a PG-7.

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Soviet RPG-7 along with a PG-7V (green) and a PG-7VM (black) both used on ISIS drones and very popular warheads in the world

But here comes the other question: Accuracy.

These drones can fly very high but if it is too high they can loose a lot of autonomy and also their payload is very low so there is no possibility to install even some kind of primitive aim device so everything must be done literally by the eye of the operator. If conditions are good without wind nor rain and the altitude is low, I would say no more than 100 metres, a well trained operator might be able to calculate with some precision the dropping, but if we are speaking of a PG-7 warhead not designed to fall from the sky it is very probable that the operator needs to send the drone as a SVBIED straight to the target in order to let the fuze of the PG-7 impact on the target.

Let’s have a closer look to another recently released ISIS video, on this one we see another civilian drone, some claimed that it was one called “X8 Skywalker” while I don’t think it is this model probably they are quite similar products, so for example there is a video on Youtube of a flying X8 that goes extreme and flies at an altitude of 5.341 metres!. Also its payload can be as much as 2 kg, and its price is around 180$ to 250$. This could be considered as a representative example for a typical ISIS  drone.

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View from the camera of a X8 drone
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ISIS drone with two small bombs, it is possible that they were inert and were used just to record the propagandistic part of the video

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On the images above we see more interesting projectiles, in this case the drone mounts two artifacts, one per wing, and they are composed by a similar tail of that of the projectile treated above.

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ISIS produced projectile being dropped

In the case of the artifact used on the attack while we can’t know its size I would say that it has a similar white plastic tail as other ISIS designs while in this case it is coupled with what looks like a 40 mm grenade typical from Western grenade launchers or even a OG-7V HE-Fragmentation warhead designed for RPG-7s.

 

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The ISIS projectile may use a typical Western grenade like one on this image. A normal HE  40 mm grenade has a weight of around 0,25 kg and a kill radius of 5 metres and so is ideally suited for the low payload capacity of a civilian drone

Also when this artifact exploits just at a  few metres from a group of 5 men it produces minor injuries to two of them while heavy injuries to the other three, and this with a relatively accurate attack.

If we do a comparison, what could be the cost of an ISIS SVBIED including car, oil, the man, the explosives and the typical add on armour?. Just the car should cost several times the drone, but still both are different weapons meant for different situations. For example in my opinion every unit of ground based VBIEDs can be a very powerful tactical weapon while a few drones can be useful for a squad or a company of ISIS but not for a whole offensive, and even more if the enemy is digged in fortified areas.

Would also be interesting to see if ISIS includes thermal or infared cameras on its drones, what could be an interesting option for them.

Also I know that this is speculation, but what about the use of big formations of like 20 drones or so, a true unmanned air force ideally suited for non-state actors, maybe the combination of something we may call mini-carpet-drone-bombings could be effective in some situations, or the use of small wings of drones to attack objectives in succession looking if the first drone has succeed and sending another if not, like a true air force does. If this hasn’t happen yet it could be for two reasons: The less important is that the drones, specially those with a certain size are available for ISIS just in limited quantities, but the most important is that they would need a real training program of drone operators, what must be the real challenge for non-state actors. The money should not be an issue as far as buy for example 100 X8s might cost, going extreme, as much as 40.000$ what isn’t a problem for an organization able to earn billions of dollars every year.

I must also say that during the propagandistic video a drone was recording the other drone so it is possible that ISIS has some ability operating at least small groups of drones simultaneously.

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It is obvious that the drone on the image was recorded by another drone

Finally I would like to say that new imaginative and unpredictable tactics using bigger drones formations could be expected if ISIS has time enough.

They are vulnerable

Teach the ground soldiers to fire at the drones could be okay if they are able to mass enough muzzles firing and there is no risk of betray their positions to other ISIS weapons like mortars, but still it is a relatively costly measure. From my point of view the best way to deal with them would be to make troops aware of the threat and so survey the sky and hide when they see or hear something.

Finally as equipment especially designed to combat drones we should not forget that these are civilian drones with badly protected links between the machine and the operator and so they are very vulnerable to minimum electronic warfare countermeasures so apart from specialized EW units I think that the use of relatively cheap devices designed to inhibit the link between the operator and the machine could be enough to effectively deal with the increasing threat that apparently drones possess on the hybrid battlefield.

China A2/AD

En este artículo escrito por mi y publicado en Ejércitos.org se aporta una visión bastante más crítica y escéptica de lo que viene siendo habitual acerca de las capacidades chinas para llevar a cabo la estrategia A2/AD contra Taiwan y EEUU.

This article provides us a much more critical and skeptical point of view than commonly seen about the Chinese true capabilities to make its A2/AD strategy really effective.

http://www.ejercitos.org/2017/01/18/refutando-las-capacidades-del-material-militar-chino/

Document 2: NBC equipment in Syria

An article in Spanish will be published few days after the English version of the document.

Este mismo artículo será publicado en castellano días después de la versión en inglés.

Click here to download the document “NBC equipment in Syria”:

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This is an  article about the NBC equipment in Syria.

 

Mi primer libro: armamento español en Yemen, industria de defensa…

Título:

Relaciones de defensa entre España y países de la península arábiga. En especial el conflicto de Yemen


Adquirir el libro en papel en blanco y negro

 

Existen descuentos para pedidos de varios libros (mínimo cuatro), si está interesado en ello o en cualquier otro elemento del libro contacte con minstertipo@gmail.com


Este libro analiza principalmente las relaciones de venta de material militar desde España a Arabia Saudita, Emiratos Árabes Unidos, Catar, Bahréin, Omán y Yemen. En el caso de este último país se ha realizado un análisis de hasta 18 productos militares españoles que están o podrían estar en el conflicto en que se haya inmerso Yemen.

Al final del libro se incluye una reflexión a cerca de la exportación de material de defensa y su relación con los Derechos Humanos.

Todo el documento cuenta con fuentes, así como numerosas gráficas y tablas para ilustrar el intercambio económico con la península arábiga, así como el inventario del material español en Yemen.

Además hay múltiples imágenes cuidadosamente seleccionadas que prueban la existencia de algunos de los productos militares españoles en la guerra del Yemen.

Dejo aquí el índice para que pueda hacerse una idea de en qué consiste el libro.

  1. Prólogo y metodología  
  2. Implicaciones y generalidades de la industria de defensa en España 

– ¿A qué le llamamos industria de defensa?

– ¿Qué implicaciones tiene la industria de defensa para un país?

– ¿En qué beneficia a España su industria de defensa?

– ¿Cómo es la industria de defensa española?

  1. Relaciones políticas, económicas y militares de España con las naciones de la península arábiga 

– Relaciones políticas

– Relaciones económicas

– Relaciones militares

  1. Armamento vendido por España confirmado, potencial o posible en Yemen 

– Material confirmado

– Material potencial

– Material posible

– Análisis

  1. Conclusiones, errores, aciertos y soluciones 

– Transparencia

– Aplicación del Derecho internacional

– Sobre los Derechos humanos y la venta de material de defensa

En total el libro consta de 100 páginas.


Ejemplos de contenido del libro:


Comencé el proyecto de escribir este libro a finales de marzo de 2016 cuando decidí que por primera vez iba a poner a prueba todos los conocimientos que tenía sobre cuestiones militares.

Desde entonces y hasta ahora me ha llevado decenas de horas y unos cinco meses concluir el libro.

Nace Europa, muere el independentismo

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La Unión Europea es una idea incompatible con el independentismo.

Resulta curioso observar como aquellos que en España reclaman la independencia buscan esta siempre sin abandonar la UE. Mientras tanto nos encontramos inmersos en un proceso de cesión de soberanía de los estados hacia la propia Unión; claro ejemplo de esto es que muchos de los estados miembro de la UE ya ni si quiera poseen su propia moneda. Y recordemos que lo que hace a un Estado independiente es precisamente su soberanía, su poder sobre sí mismo.

Frente a este proceso resulta un tanto inútil solicitar la independencia de unos estados avocados a desaparecer y ceder su soberanía ya que con el tiempo no habrá estados a los que reclamar, y de hecho si un territorio se independiza y aspira a ser un estado independiente habrá de serlo fuera de la Unión Europea.

En definitiva si Cataluña o cualquier otro territorio aspira a ser un estado independiente en algún momento tendrá que abandonar la UE, y si como todo apunta desea permanecer en esta organización no tiene sentido demandar la independencia del Estado español que en un futuro ni existirá.