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Azerbaijani and Armenian military Clashes

FJAG

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This is an interesting article dispelling some early conclusions being reached out of this conflict.

The sharp lessons that need to be dealt with, especially by Canada, is that our force - as constituted, as equipped and as trained - will be easily degraded on a modern battlefield because it does not have the appropriate tactics nor the requisite defensive measures, nor will it be able to counterstrike because it does not have the appropriate weapon systems nor the necessary network capabilities to link sensors to counter-strike systems as are needed these days.

Again I find it incredulous that Canada, with ten times the military budget of Azerbaijan, is so far behind.

Time to wake up folks.

The Key to Armenia’s Tank Losses: The Sensors, Not the Shooters
Jack Watling
RUSI Defence Systems, 6 October 2020
Military Sciences, Land Forces, Land Operations

Amid a lively debate about the viability of the UK’s heavy armour, the loss of over 42 Armenian T-72s to Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh requires further analysis.

Despite the heavy Armenian armoured losses, the key lessons from the videos Azerbaijan has published online are not about armour. Rather, they reflect how the density of sensors on the modern battlefield is changing the balance in combined arms warfare.

Before tackling this, some myths need to be challenged. There is a tendency for Western soldiers to dismiss what can be learned from these incidents because the videos show limited tactical proficiency being displayed by Armenian troops. This is misguided for several reasons. The snippet videos usually show armour manoeuvring, when camouflage is hard to maintain, and which Western forces would equally have to do if they were to affect the outcome of battle. The videos have also been selected as examples of Azerbaijani successes. However, there is actually a lot of evidence of Armenian forces digging in, concealing positions, and deploying decoys, of which at least two were struck by Azerbaijani forces.

More importantly, this dismissal of evidence suggests a lack of appreciation of just how naked the modern battlefield has become. Against a peer adversary it is entirely reasonable to expect the battlefield to be swept by ground-moving target indicator (GMTI) radars, with tactical units able to scan terrain out to 150 km. Night or day, unusual cross-terrain movements, coordinated spacing, and lack of adherence to civilian roads, all make military vehicles highly distinct to trained operators.

A further layer of scrutiny will come from electronic warfare units. Dependency upon radio in Western operations is a hard habit to kick, especially given the stringent safety standards in exercises. Western forces tend to leave a tell-tale map of electronic signatures for an adversary to analyse. Even platoon infantry attacks tend to see a lot of exchanges on the company net. For a competent adversary these signatures offer another potent tool to map Western forces’ movements.

Such stand-off ISTAR techniques are unlikely to provide track-quality targeting solutions, unless the adversary intends to saturate a large area. It is the threat of area targeting that has driven the UK to experiment with dispersed manoeuvre with its STRIKE concept, rendering long-range area saturation uneconomical. But these techniques will be quite capable of identifying areas of interest to prioritise the allocation of UAVs and other electrooptical sensor bearers.

The hope that camouflage will conceal vehicles from observation is highly optimistic. The proliferation of infrared and thermal imaging cameras makes concealment harder – by night or day – and even vehicles under thermal screens can often be given away by personnel leaving those screens to urinate or similar, all too human, needs. More importantly, some traces are hard to cover. The best evidence that armour will be unable to hide is that Western tracked vehicles struggle to avoid observation by friendly UAVs on exercise, which can quickly follow track marks on the ground to the woodblock where a vehicle is hiding.

To conclude from this that the tank’s days are numbered, however, is a serious error. From the videos in Nagorno-Karabakh it is evident that unarmoured vehicles and dismounted infantry are faring no better, even those dug into positions with camouflage screens. Indeed, the lack of protection means they will likely fare worse since there are more kinds of munitions that are lighter and easier to employ that can kill them.

Besides the vulnerability of other kinds of vehicle, the ability to inflict persistent attrition upon an adversary at reach does not change the fact that land warfare is about taking and holding ground, and the ground will still ultimately need to be assaulted. Once committed to an assault on defended positions, armour remains critical to rapid success with acceptable losses. The challenge is to get a combined arms formation within striking distance without it having suffered heavy losses before entering the direct fire zone. Armenia, for instance, has lost the equivalent number of tanks to more than a third of the UK’s heavy armour inventory.

The lessons are far reaching. Heavy formations must likely disperse to avoid being engaged by area-of-effect munitions at reach. This makes protecting them from UAVs and air attack more challenging, requiring the integration of short-ranged air defences (SHORAD) across tactical units, along with EW – specifically electronic attack – capabilities. This means a move away from camouflage towards hard protection, able to sanitise areas of the battlefield of enemy ISTAR assets. This does not prevent detection, however, since finding UAVs and engaging them will require radar – especially at night – which implies the need for  emissions detectable by enemy EW.

Therefore, a broader shift in mindset is required as to how combined arms manoeuvre functions. Infliction of attrition against enemy ISTAR must be prioritised to degrade the enemy’s sensor picture to a point where they will struggle to distinguish decoys from real targets. Deception, saturating the electromagnetic spectrum, and other active rather than passive means will be needed to protect the force as it moves into direct contact. Once in contact many traditional tactics and capabilities will remain relevant.

A critical challenge to be worked out is how to transition from a dispersed approach to a concentrated attack, since at the forming-up point there will be a significant vulnerability to artillery, anti-tank guided weapons and other threats. This is a key area of focus in developing robust tactics.

Challenges like this transition – ultimately resolvable through tactics and the employment of systems of technologies – highlight how the debate over future capabilities needs to shift. The challenge is not whether tanks are obsolete, but how a system of capabilities can be fielded and trained that gets the force to where it needs to be, with enough combat power to achieve the desired result. It is the system, not the platforms, and the balance within that system that we need to get right.

That new system of fighting – understanding the balance of capabilities critical to the future of combined arms operations – must also go further than articulating how to blind the enemy’s sensors. It must also outline how to reverse the calculus and impose comparable challenges on the enemy. Here there are more difficult structural questions to be resolved. The British Army had intended to disband 32 Regiment Royal Artillery, responsible for employing tactical UAVs, because it felt that UAVs should become organic across the force. There is a risk, however, that this would leave UAVs as an enabler to augment what regiments do already. The absence of a community of excellence to challenge thinking, develop new tactics and inform other units about the implications, is a problem, which has led to the regiment ultimately being retained. At the same time, keeping UAVs as a capability integrated throughout the force promises to encourage combined arms employment. Similar challenges might be asked about counter-UAV and EW systems. Should they be grouped at echelon, or attached organically to manoeuvre elements? If the latter is pursued, how can British forces avoid fratricide in the electromagnetic spectrum?

The answers to these questions can only be found through experimentation. In that sense while the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh highlights some key deficiencies in British forces – SHORAD, EW, UAVs – the answer cannot be a series of binary trade-offs between platforms. Instead, it cuts to the heart of what the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, highlighted in his recent address on the Integrated Review: the British Army should build a force fit for a new age of warfare.

Jack Watling is Research Fellow for Land Warfare in the Military Sciences team at RUSI.

Full article here.

:cheers:
 

Infanteer

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My riposte to Dr Watling's remarks.

There is a tendency for Western soldiers to dismiss what can be learned from these incidents because the videos show limited tactical proficiency being displayed by Armenian troops. This is misguided for several reasons. The snippet videos usually show armour manoeuvring, when camouflage is hard to maintain, and which Western forces would equally have to do if they were to affect the outcome of battle. The videos have also been selected as examples of Azerbaijani successes. However, there is actually a lot of evidence of Armenian forces digging in, concealing positions, and deploying decoys, of which at least two were struck by Azerbaijani forces.

Disagree.  The footage we saw linked earlier demonstrated many examples of Armenian positions that were "dug in" but basically exposed from the air, so it isn't all "tank moving in open gets struck."  What we aren't seeing is footage of positions that aren't concealed and aren't getting hit.  How many positions like that are out there?  Operational analysis after the conflict should be asking this.

The point I'm trying to make is that "Western soldiers" should critique what we are seeing on video, because it is clearly evident that poor fieldcraft is a contributing factor as to why these positions/vehicles are getting hit.  I will maintain my position that good fieldcraft will help mitigate the effects of enemy aerial observation - manned or unmanned.

More importantly, this dismissal of evidence suggests a lack of appreciation of just how naked the modern battlefield has become. Against a peer adversary it is entirely reasonable to expect the battlefield to be swept by ground-moving target indicator (GMTI) radars, with tactical units able to scan terrain out to 150 km. Night or day, unusual cross-terrain movements, coordinated spacing, and lack of adherence to civilian roads, all make military vehicles highly distinct to trained operators.

The battlefield has been fairly naked since 1917, where the rule is if it was spotted it would be destroyed.  There are other key consideration is that humans are in the loop - just because you inundate commanders with GMTI sweeps out to 150km doesn't mean they are going to be able to process and action it quickly enough.  Fog, friction, and fear all still have a role to play in things.  Technology can be spoofed - there is a good article on reconnaissance that highlights the Iraqis spoofing JSTARS by dragging a strand of razor wire behind a truck.

I maintain that, despite over 100 year of technological advances in observation, humans are still surprised in war.  There are reasons for this.

A further layer of scrutiny will come from electronic warfare units. Dependency upon radio in Western operations is a hard habit to kick, especially given the stringent safety standards in exercises. Western forces tend to leave a tell-tale map of electronic signatures for an adversary to analyse. Even platoon infantry attacks tend to see a lot of exchanges on the company net. For a competent adversary these signatures offer another potent tool to map Western forces’ movements.

This is just professional laziness in the West - anyone who served prior to 1991 is well versed in this battlefield reality and knows of the countermeasures that would be put in place to reduce signatures.  I have studied numerous case studies where units would spend 6-12 hours moving on radio silence to avoid detection.

The hope that camouflage will conceal vehicles from observation is highly optimistic. The proliferation of infrared and thermal imaging cameras makes concealment harder – by night or day – and even vehicles under thermal screens can often be given away by personnel leaving those screens to urinate or similar, all too human, needs. More importantly, some traces are hard to cover. The best evidence that armour will be unable to hide is that Western tracked vehicles struggle to avoid observation by friendly UAVs on exercise, which can quickly follow track marks on the ground to the woodblock where a vehicle is hiding.

Measure - countermeasure is an enduring reality of technology in war.  Nothing has convinced me that infrared and thermal imaging - which actually aren't that new - will eliminate the ability to conceal and generate surprise on the battlefield.

Besides the vulnerability of other kinds of vehicle, the ability to inflict persistent attrition upon an adversary at reach does not change the fact that land warfare is about taking and holding ground, and the ground will still ultimately need to be assaulted. Once committed to an assault on defended positions, armour remains critical to rapid success with acceptable losses. The challenge is to get a combined arms formation within striking distance without it having suffered heavy losses before entering the direct fire zone. Armenia, for instance, has lost the equivalent number of tanks to more than a third of the UK’s heavy armour inventory.

I can concur with this...and it is nothing really new.  I just finished an Israeli book on Golan in 1973, and you could apply this directly to a conflict that occured almost 50 years ago.

The lessons are far reaching. Heavy formations must likely disperse to avoid being engaged by area-of-effect munitions at reach. This makes protecting them from UAVs and air attack more challenging, requiring the integration of short-ranged air defences (SHORAD) across tactical units, along with EW – specifically electronic attack – capabilities. This means a move away from camouflage towards hard protection, able to sanitise areas of the battlefield of enemy ISTAR assets. This does not prevent detection, however, since finding UAVs and engaging them will require radar – especially at night – which implies the need for  emissions detectable by enemy EW.

Therefore, a broader shift in mindset is required as to how combined arms manoeuvre functions. Infliction of attrition against enemy ISTAR must be prioritised to degrade the enemy’s sensor picture to a point where they will struggle to distinguish decoys from real targets. Deception, saturating the electromagnetic spectrum, and other active rather than passive means will be needed to protect the force as it moves into direct contact. Once in contact many traditional tactics and capabilities will remain relevant.

There are some good points here, but some hyperbole.  The lessons aren't "far reaching" - I'd argue that they confirm what we already know.  "Sanitizing areas from enemy ISTAR assets" - you mean I shouldn't just let the enemy fly stuff over my head and see what I'm up to?  That's a far-reaching revelation!  I'd argue that we need to be cautious about overselling the UAV threat.  If measure/countermeasure is a constant on the battlefield, and both sides neutralize, at least to some extent, each others UAV capability, then what does this mean for manouevre forces?

One thing is for certain - we ignore GBAD in the CA to our own peril, but that isn't anything new.  We've just gotten away with it for 30 years because we've been faced against an enemy with flip-flops and AKs.
 

FJAG

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Infanteer said:
The battlefield has been fairly naked since 1917, where the rule is if it was spotted it would be destroyed.  There are other key consideration is that humans are in the loop - just because you inundate commanders with GMTI sweeps out to 150km doesn't mean they are going to be able to process and action it quickly enough.  ...

There are some good points here, but some hyperbole.  The lessons aren't "far reaching" - I'd argue that they confirm what we already know.  "Sanitizing areas from enemy ISTAR assets" - you mean I shouldn't just let the enemy fly stuff over my head and see what I'm up to?  That's a far-reaching revelation!  I'd argue that we need to be cautious about overselling the UAV threat.  If measure/countermeasure is a constant on the battlefield, and both sides neutralize, at least to some extent, each others UAV capability, then what does this mean for manouevre forces?

One thing is for certain - we ignore GBAD in the CA to our own peril, but that isn't anything new.  We've just gotten away with it for 30 years because we've been faced against an enemy with flip-flops and AKs.

If there's one thing that this article (and the Armenia/Azerbaijan conflict in particular) has got me thinking about is that there is a distinction starting to develop between the close in fight conducted by the brigade and the fight in depth which should be conducted by a separate organization freeing up the brigade level commanders to concentrate on their own fight.

I've lost touch over the years with Canadian doctrine on this issue but expect that with our operational experience over the last two decades that we haven't done much about it.

In my day that separation was easy in that it was the role of Corps, to some extent the division and our air resources. Brigades were divorced from the fight in depth because of the limited range of their artillery and that the depth surveillance resources were primarily air anyway. With today's use of UAVs and long range strike capabilities, it becomes clear that there is a critical need for GBAD and electronic countermeasures within the brigade to protect the brigade, but the actual acquisition of the enemy's resources in depth and counterstriking against those is a fight that should be fought by resources provided from outside the brigade which in large measure are now also above brigade army resources, air and possibly even off-shore ships.

Looking at the establishment and organization of the Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Latvia; the Latvian Mechanized Infantry Brigade; the Multinational Division North; and the Multinational Corps North East there seems to be virtually no capability to conduct a fight in depth or, for that matter, to defend the brigade against the type of surveillance and long range strike capability being used routinely by Russia in Ukraine or even low-tier combatants like Azerbaijan.

I'm frankly mystified by our lack of progress on these issues since we left Afghanistan in 2011 and especially since the Russo-Ukrainian conflict of 2014. On the other hand we've adopted old rank insignia and have written one kick-butt memo on racism, so I guess we're doing okay then.  :sarcasm:

:cheers:

 

b00161400

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Thoughts from the article.

1. We need to have the capability to significantly degrade enemy ISR capabilities. Surprise surprise. It's likely that future conflict could see the requirement to achieve "ISR Superiority," or "ISR Degradation" of the opposing force, similar to how we would seek air superiority, before committing to decisive land ops.

2. There are multiple ways of disrupting these capabilities. They need significant bandwidth and control of a portion of the EM spectrum. Automation can eliminate some of these vulnerabilities by taking the requirement for bandwidth and communications with the drone out of the picture but also increase the risk by putting the machine in charge.

3. When I watch these videos what I see is tank plinking. This is generally how most forces including ourselves have approached the employment of these assets. If your strategy is to exhaust your enemy to compel them to adopt your preferred policy then this maybe a workable solution. Alternately, this is a very incremental approach which will provide the enemy with significant opportunities to adapt. We're only a little over a week into this conflict and we already have people providing analysis but I suspect that we will see some significant changes in behavior to avoid airborne precision firepower. Depending on what you're trying to achieve strategically, I would suggest a better use of these weapons is to enable decisive maneuver with a view to achieving important objectives in the shortest period possible to limit the enemy's ability to adapt, as opposed to incremental destruction which the enemy is likely able to absorb and adapt to. We need avoid becoming overly enamored with these types of videos as we consider the employment of these systems.

A good example is Desert Storm. While there was lots of tank plinking in the lead up, more importantly the coalition knew the location of the end of Iraqi defence line which allowed VII Corps to drive around and attack directly the reserve Republican Guard divisions.
 

Infanteer

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Haligonian said:
1. We need to have the capability to significantly degrade enemy ISR capabilities. Surprise surprise. It's likely that future conflict could see the requirement to achieve "ISR Superiority," or "ISR Degradation" of the opposing force, similar to how we would seek air superiority, before committing to decisive land ops.

The Germans recognized this in 1917.  They created Richthofen's Flying Circus to "achieve ISR Superiority."

3. When I watch these videos what I see is tank plinking. This is generally how most forces including ourselves have approached the employment of these assets.

We may see arguments come out of this that are the next generation of "Airpower Wins Wars Alone" al la Gulf War and Kosovo.  "Drones Win Wars Alone."  Buyer beware.
 

CBH99

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FJAG said:
If there's one thing that this article (and the Armenia/Azerbaijan conflict in particular) has got me thinking about is that there is a distinction starting to develop between the close in fight conducted by the brigade and the fight in depth which should be conducted by a separate organization freeing up the brigade level commanders to concentrate on their own fight.

I've lost touch over the years with Canadian doctrine on this issue but expect that with our operational experience over the last two decades that we haven't done much about it.

In my day that separation was easy in that it was the role of Corps, to some extent the division and our air resources. Brigades were divorced from the fight in depth because of the limited range of their artillery and that the depth surveillance resources were primarily air anyway. With today's use of UAVs and long range strike capabilities, it becomes clear that there is a critical need for GBAD and electronic countermeasures within the brigade to protect the brigade, but the actual acquisition of the enemy's resources in depth and counterstriking against those is a fight that should be fought by resources provided from outside the brigade which in large measure are now also above brigade army resources, air and possibly even off-shore ships.

Looking at the establishment and organization of the Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Latvia; the Latvian Mechanized Infantry Brigade; the Multinational Division North; and the Multinational Corps North East there seems to be virtually no capability to conduct a fight in depth or, for that matter, to defend the brigade against the type of surveillance and long range strike capability being used routinely by Russia in Ukraine or even low-tier combatants like Azerbaijan.

I'm frankly mystified by our lack of progress on these issues since we left Afghanistan in 2011 and especially since the Russo-Ukrainian conflict of 2014. On the other hand we've adopted old rank insignia and have written one kick-butt memo on racism, so I guess we're doing okay then.  :sarcasm:

:cheers:


I think most of us, when looking at our current state - and quite frankly, the state of some of our allies - also wonder the same thing.  While we watched the Russians execute a very lethal and professional hybrid warfare campaign against Ukraine - using drones, long range precision fires, raining artillery down on any units that emitted any sort of electronic or radio signal - we have, ourselves, not adapted to an enemy that is literally showing us how they operate.

I don't think anybody would disagree with you at all FJAG.

I will however state the obvious, which is something we all know, all too well.



Militaries are by and large, reactive organizations.  They shouldn't be.  Heck, they are one of the only government institutions that should be as proactive as possible.  But, the reality is, more often than not, they are reactive.

We only need to look at Afghanistan to see how the government / military said "Wowa!  We need a bunch of stuff that we don't have...shopping spree time!"  We reacted by UOR'ing RG-31's, Leopard 2's, C-17's, a new fleet of Chinooks, C-130's, etc etc.



I fear if we ever find ourselves involved in a conflict such as this current one between Armenia & Azerbaijani, we'll just end up solving the problems the same way we did in Afghanistan.  A quick shopping spree & some painful lessons learned early on...  :( :2c:
 

FJAG

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CBH99 said:
I think most of us, when looking at our current state - and quite frankly, the state of some of our allies - also wonder the same thing.  While we watched the Russians execute a very lethal and professional hybrid warfare campaign against Ukraine - using drones, long range precision fires, raining artillery down on any units that emitted any sort of electronic or radio signal - we have, ourselves, not adapted to an enemy that is literally showing us how they operate.

I don't think anybody would disagree with you at all FJAG.

I will however state the obvious, which is something we all know, all too well.



Militaries are by and large, reactive organizations.  They shouldn't be.  Heck, they are one of the only government institutions that should be as proactive as possible.  But, the reality is, more often than not, they are reactive.

We only need to look at Afghanistan to see how the government / military said "Wowa!  We need a bunch of stuff that we don't have...shopping spree time!"  We reacted by UOR'ing RG-31's, Leopard 2's, C-17's, a new fleet of Chinooks, C-130's, etc etc.



I fear if we ever find ourselves involved in a conflict such as this current one between Armenia & Azerbaijani, we'll just end up solving the problems the same way we did in Afghanistan.  A quick shopping spree & some painful lessons learned early on...  :( :2c:
 

We may not have the luxury of time to acquire and learn how to properly use everything. That's my worry.

:pop:
 

CBH99

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FJAG said:
 

We may not have the luxury of time to acquire and learn how to properly use everything. That's my worry.

:pop:


Sure we will!!

Maybe not in time to be in the thick of it on the opening days, but if it's drawn out for a decade like Afghanistan was, we'll eventually have the kit & be good with it  ;)  *insert devil face emoji here*



**Mods, we need a little devil face emoji like on iPhone**
 

TangoTwoBravo

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I was in the Lessons Learned business for three years, including a operational tour, and my Staff College research paper was on institutional learning from other armies' experience (if you need a non-medicinal sleep aid let me know). I looked at the Russo-Japanese War, the Spanish Civil war and the October 1973 War. I say this only to frame my comments and not establish expertise. My first observation is that individuals and units learn quickly and effectively. Or they die. They intimately understand the context of their experience. There is no question of validity.

There are pitfalls trying to learn from other people's experience. Is the experience valid? What is the context? Is the situation relevant? You can learn the wrong lesson (make a bad or in appropriate adaptation), or fail to pick up a vital adaptation. The latter certainly happened in the case of the Russo-Japanese War. Its one thing to transmit lessons within the same army. Its another to do so from one army to another. We can tend to see what we want to see. While the Germans picked up some good lessons from the Spanish Civil War, they were participants. Foreign observers drew very contradictory lessons, usually reinforcing pre-existing notions in ongoing debates.

Its very tempting to say that this clash should change our doctrine, equipment, training and organization. Its also very premature. Knocking out a tank battalion in an afternoon was doable in 1991, 1973, 1941 and indeed 1917. We should certainly examine this clash, keeping the frame of the engagement in mind. If nothing else, its a reminder that conventional interstate conflict is not something relegated to history. History is not dead. There are likely some old lessons that this clash have reinforced.
 

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https://globalnews.ca/news/7390379/armenia-azerbaijan-cease-fire/

Russia has helped broker a cease fire starting tomorrow (Saturday) we shall see if it holds
 

Kat Stevens

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MilEME09 said:
https://globalnews.ca/news/7390379/armenia-azerbaijan-cease-fire/

Russia has helped broker a cease fire starting tomorrow (Saturday) we shall see if it holds

Soon to be followed by Soviet Russian troops moving in to protect the three dozen ethnic Russians in the region.
 

daftandbarmy

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I was keen on was getting the 60mm MOR back into the rifle platoon until I saw this, and then the list got longer  :eek:

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is ushering in a new age of warfare

Drones, sensors and long-range weapons have given one side a clear edge in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan, traditional enemies, have been building up their armed forces over the last decade. They fought a bloody war that ended in 1994, in which tens of thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced on both sides. Azerbaijan’s army collapsed and Armenia took control of several regions, including the key regions of Fuzuli and Jabrayil in the south, bordering Iran. President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan has been explicit in his desire to return these regions to Azerbaijan.

The country has a defence and mutual assistance pact with its neighbour and ally Turkey. Extensive joint exercises were held in late July and early August with, according to Azerbaijan, as many as 11,000 Turkish troops taking part, with units training alongside each other. Turkish Air Force

The exercises were run just after a bloody clash between the two enemies in early July lasting several days in which drone warfare was prominent.
Tanks and armoured vehicles take part in a comprehensive joint military exercise between Turkey and Azerbaijan in Baku, Azerbaijan on August 6, 2020 [Azerbaijan Defense Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]
Drones and more drones

The use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been increasing in battlefields across the world and the current conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia is no exception. Images of armoured vehicles being destroyed, regardless of attempts at camouflage, flooded Western media outlets as Armenian tanks were swiftly targeted by armed drones. Azerbaijan has been steadily building up its force of UAVs.

Israel, a major drone exporter, has been supplying the Azeri armed forces with loitering munitions like the Harop, which were used to great effect in the previous major skirmish in 2016, dubbed the “Four Day War”. This is a new class of munition which is essentially a Kamikaze or suicide UAV. A combination of bomb and drone, it loiters over the battlefield, its remote operator searching for targets. Once found, the drone is flown into the target, destroying both itself and the target.

The Harop, or Harpy, could be heard due to its engine but newer models of Kamikaze UAV like the Skystriker and Orbiter 1K, recently supplied by Israel to Azerbaijan, use electric motors and are virtually silent until they start their attack dive.

More recently, Azerbaijan has bought the operationally successful Bayraktar TB2 from Turkey and has used them with great success. Cheap and effective, they have more advanced optics, sensors and can return to base, swiftly refuel, rearm and be back in the air again, hovering over the battlefield looking for fresh targets.

Drones have one more important effect. Their cameras, filming the destruction of a target in clear, unwavering high definition video, allow a country to dominate the propaganda narrative. Media outlets were saturated with images of Armenian armour and artillery being effortlessly destroyed, not the other way round. Despite Azerbaijani losses, the Armenian armed forces, for the most part, did not have cameras trained on their intended target. These images have enhanced Azerbaijan’s sense of success on the battlefield, presenting an image of near-total Azerbaijani victory.

It is not just the use of drones that has been so decisive. The modern battlespace is filling up with sensors, making it far easier to spot an adversary from far off. Drones, armed or not, are effectively sensor platforms, feeding vital information about the enemies’ movements back to command centres.

This, coupled with ground detection radar – which is able to pick up moving or concealed tanks and armoured vehicles, day or night – means that it is now increasingly hard to hide on the battlefield.

With movement, and therefore tactics, detected, long-range artillery and air raids are brought to bear, often with devastating results. Turkey used this successfully in northern Syria and these lessons have clearly been passed on to the Azerbaijanis in their recent joint exercises.

https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2020/10/11/nagorno-karabakh-conflict-ushering-in-new-age-of-warfare?fbclid=IwAR28NohwtJCt1v5CSq2rT7hiOY5IuoMXtRIX6UFVU_GYI-M_1G2fdoYZB5s
 

FJAG

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The lessons that I'm quickly getting out of this are:

1. suicide drone attacks are effective in the way that dive bombers were - can they also earth-skim and pop-up dive? They'll probably have to in a more hostile AD environment;

2. either way, it should not be a major technical leap to have a drone where the munition can separate at the last moment (possibly automatically) and allow a chance of recovering the drone making it a cost saver in that the flight and electronics package can be reused;

3. these things should be less expensive than guided 155 rounds as none of the components need to be capable of withstanding the shock of firing;

4. when launched they do not give away their position like artillery;

5. these systems should be well within the manufacturing capability of a Canadian company and therefore capable of viable domestic production especially as they are more in the nature of a munition and therefore have have an ongoing manufacturing requirement for projectiles and replacement delivery aircraft;

6. You can build a really cheap Nerf trg round that can be used on exercise.

If I was 10 years younger I'd be forming a company.

:cheers:
 

reveng

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FJAG said:
2. either way, it should not be a major technical leap to have a drone where the munition can separate at the last moment (possibly automatically) and allow a chance of recovering the drone making it a cost saver in that the flight and electronics package can be reused;

Might not be worth the added effort & cost, depending on the size and complexity of the unit. And if you can recover it, so can someone else. Be it to exploit technology & information, or to re-purpose the hardware.

Definitely some interesting things one can push out of a 40mm launcher or a 60mm tube these days.
 

The Bread Guy

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MilEME09 said:
https://globalnews.ca/news/7390379/armenia-azerbaijan-cease-fire/

Russia has helped broker a cease fire starting tomorrow (Saturday) we shall see if it holds
Aaaaaaaaaand there's Turkey, throwing a stick into the spokes ...
Turkey and Azerbaijan may have jointly planned the Azerbaijani offensive to contest Armenia’s control of Nagorno-Karabakh that reignited that simmering conflict. Tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed, Armenian-held region of Nagorno-Karabakh escalated into conventional combat on September 27. International media coverage has largely portrayed the ongoing conflict as the result of a spontaneous escalation. But Turkish-Azerbaijani military cooperation, drone sales, and force mobilization indicate Azerbaijan prepared – with Turkish support - to dispute Armenia’s presence in Nagorno-Karabakh prior to September 27. Azerbaijan reportedly purchased Turkish-made drones in June 2020 and is deploying them to great effect. Turkish and Azerbaijani forces conducted large-scale joint military exercises between July 29 and August 10 and conducted high-level bilateral meetings on July 16 and August 13.[ii] Following the exercises, Turkey left behind F-16 fighter jets in Azerbaijan as a “deterrent” against Armenia. The extent of Turkish military personnel involvement in current active combat operations, if any, is unclear.

(...)

A Kremlin-brokered ceasefire has so far failed to halt hostilities, but the Kremlin is positioned to control a potential political process. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov met with Azerbaijan FM Jeyhun Bayramov and Armenian FM Zohrab Mnatsakanyan in Moscow for over 10 hours on October 9 and negotiated a “humanitarian ceasefire” to exchange prisoners of war and recover bodies, beginning at midnight local time on October 10.[vii]  As of October 12, neither Azerbaijan or Armenia have formally ended the ceasefire despite major violations with civilian casualties on both sides.[viii] Armenia reported Azerbaijani shelling of multiple positions in Nagorno-Karabakh, including its capital Stepanakert.[ix] Azerbaijan reported Armenian violations at multiple positions inside Azerbaijan including a missile attack on Azerbaijan’s second largest city, Ganja, later on October 10.

Putin seeks to control a negotiation process to frame Russia as the key actor and broker in the former Soviet Union ...
More @ link
 

MarkOttawa

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Turkey certainly encouraging Azeris for now:

Turkey wants Armenian forces to leave 'occupied' Azeri lands
Ankara supports Azerbaijan's bid to retake "its own lands" in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Turkish defense minister said while talking to Moscow. Azerbaijan has been pushing for Turkey to be given a bigger role in peace talks.

Amid a failing ceasefire in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar restated Ankara's support for Azerbaijan's "campaign to take back its own lands." Akar made the comments during a telephone call with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu on Monday.

The Turkish official also told Shoigu it was necessary for Armenia to end its attacks and "withdraw from the occupied lands."

The region of Nagorno-Karabakh is officially part of Turkey's ally Azerbaijan, but populated by Armenians and controlled by an Armenia-backed government. The latest clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces have already claimed hundreds of lives. The two ex-Soviet states met to negotiate in Moscow last Friday with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov serving as a mediator. After 10 hours of talks, both sides agreed to a temporary ceasefire which went into effect on Saturday [Oct. 10]. However, both Armenia and Azerbaijan have since accused each other of launching fresh attacks.

Azeri officials have also emphasized the ceasefire was temporary and that they had plans to take more territory [emphasis added].

No room for Turkey?

In Moscow, the two sides agreed that talks about a more permanent solution would be mediated by the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group: France, Russia, and the US. The OSCE body also involves Turkey and several other regional powers as members. The body was formed in 1992 but has so far failed to achieve substantial change in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Following the Saturday deal, Azerbaijan suggested giving Turkey a bigger role in the peace talks.

When asked about the suggestion on Monday, Russia's Sergey Lavrov said that no changes were envisaged in the talks format.

"The joint statement in Moscow confirms immutability of the negotiations process, the format of the talks," he was quoted as saying by the Azerbaijani SalamNews agency.

Ankara previously hailed the Moscow deal as an "important first step" but noted it would not replace a permanent peace treaty.

During the call between Russia's and Turkey's defense ministers on Monday, Turkey's Akar warned that "Azerbaijan will not wait 30 more years for a solution [emphasis added]."
https://www.dw.com/en/turkey-wants-armenian-forces-to-leave-occupied-azeri-lands/a-55250406

Mark
Ottawa
 

Kat Stevens

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Can't someone just fly over with some covids in the contrails and send them all to bed with the sniffles for a week or two till they calm down?  ???
 

MilEME09

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Target Up said:
Can't someone just fly over with some covids in the contrails and send them all to bed with the sniffles for a week or two till they calm down?  ???

Or maybe we need a UN/NATO buffer zone to separate the two parties, then force both sides to the table. Then again that might turn into the seife of Sarajevo all over again.
 

CBH99

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Target Up said:
Can't someone just fly over with some covids in the contrails and send them all to bed with the sniffles for a week or two till they calm down?  ???


This comment was flagged by the alien super computers over at the MIB...

Expect a knock on the door in 3...2...1...  8)
 

CBH99

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MilEME09 said:
Or maybe we need a UN/NATO buffer zone to separate the two parties, then force both sides to the table. Then again that might turn into the seife of Sarajevo all over again.


On the surface, it sounds like a noble idea.  But with Turkey backing one side, and Russia backing the other -- neither NATO nor Russia could be trusted to be acting in the best interest of the mission.  :2c:
 
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