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From Syria To Libya, Turkish Drones Outsmarting Russian Air Defence Systems?

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Turkey and Russia have been at opposite ends in both Syria and Libya. Just like Syria where Turkish drones excelled against the Russian air defence systems, the situation in Libya looks almost similar. 

Turkish drones have yet again battered Russian air-defence systems. According to TRT World, the introduction of drones in Libya by Turkey has caused the tide of the war to swing in its favour.

To understand the Libyan war is not easy as different countries support different leaders and this has caused widespread chaos in the region. Much like Syria, Russia and Turkey are supporting different groups in Libya.

Moscow backs and supports Khalil Haftar of the Libyan National Army (LNA) based in Benghazi. Haftar also has allies in France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The LNA recruits from all over Africa and its aim are to wrest control of the capital, Tripoli, from the Government of National Accord (GNA) and rule over the African country.

The GNA is the internationally recognised government in Libya and the defence of the government lies in the hands of Turkey, Qatar and Italy and its army. The LNA, under Haftar, launched a military campaign in April 2019 to take control of Tripoli even though the UN Secretary-General had requested him not to do so.

A year on, Haftar’s self-styled LNA is on verge of defeat as Turkey’s drones have wreaked havoc on LNA controlled territories.

Turkish Drones – Changing the Tide

According to reports, Turkish drones started arriving in late 2019 and the Turkish Army assisted the GNA to familiarize Libyans with the new weapons.

Prior to the arrival of the drones, Haftar’s own air force, supported by the UAE, Egyptians and Russians had devastated the GNA forces resulting in heavy casualties.

However, the drones have proved to be the game-changer yet again. Using their experience from Idlib in Syria, Ankara mastered the use of sophisticated unmanned aerial warfare, hitting targets at distance and assisting ground troops.

Now using the same technology and experience, Turkish drones have been vital in assisting GNA claim nearly all of western Libya from Haftar’s forces. Since April, the GNA has captured numerous cities between Tripoli and the Tunisian border.

The latest feather in the GNA’s cap is the seizure of the Al-Vatiya, HQ of the LNA’s western operations, and the largest airbase across Western Libya. The Turks reported the destruction of two Russian anti-aircraft missile-cannon systems (ZRPK) “Pantsir-C1”.

This is the first time that the GNA has announced hitting the Russian air defence system since the start of the assault on Tripoli forces in April 2019.

Russia Wounded Yet Again?

For the Russian forces, the latest advance in Libya is a flashback of Syria. As reported by EurAsian Times in March, drones from Turkey had destroyed several Russian-made, Syrian-operated air defence vehicles. The Russian Ministry of Defence later confirmed that two Pantsir air-defence systems were destroyed in the Turkish onslaught.

In Libya, the air defence system has met the same fate and has now raised questions over its efficacy. The aerial offensive from Ankara has put Moscow on the backfoot. But like always, analysts agree that the Russian will not go out without a fight.

In an effort to counter GNA and its allies, Moscow has sent 6 MiG-29 fighter jets and 2 Su-24 attack planes to the LNA-controlled al Jufra airbase. The Russians did get some positive news as the LNA was able to destroy 4 Turkish drones last week. Haftar’s only hope to stem the GNA’s advance is to regain air superiority.

The Libyan war has been going on since 2011 and while the tide has now swung in the GNA’s favour, it does not mean the war will end anytime soon. Experts speaking to EurAsian Times believe that there is no military solution to Libya and Haftar must be removed from the scene in Tripoli.

Written by – Armaan Srivastava

EurAsian Region

Russia Could Annex More Parts Of Ukraine Over ‘Crimean Dispute’: US Reports

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The lack of water in Crimea may lead to a new military aggression by Russia against Ukraine. Analysts he Jamestown Foundation believes that the water situation in Crimea has reached a critical level, which might prompt Moscow to seize more Ukrainian territories. 

Australia Getting Squeezed Between US & China; Infuriating Policies Add To The Woes

Goble writes – the Crimea has long endured water shortages now intensified by frequent winters with little-to-no rain or snow. According to officials in Moscow, Crimea has seen its reserves of freshwater slump by 60% and there could be no water by this August in the peninsula.

The situation poses a grave health crisis in Crimea and this could prompt Russia to seize more Ukrainian territories to gain access to freshwater supplies as Kiev has bluntly rejected selling water to Russia.

Until the Russian annexation of Crimea, 85% of the drinking water for the Crimean residents was supplied via the North Crimean Canal, from the Dnieper River. However, Ukraine abruptly terminated the supplies, forcing Moscow to rely on groundwater and reservoirs.

Ukrainian experts state that the water deficiency in Crimea is a direct result of the Russian invasion. If it ends (the Russian occupation) the water crisis will end too, which is also the official position of Ukraine,”

The groundwater levels in much of Crimea have decreased dramatically as the region faces the prospect of water shortages for both agriculture as well as the resident population.

Not only is Crimea running out of water, but experts claim that Russia has often played up this issue in order to pressurize Ukraine via Europe. Indeed, the expert notes, what Moscow says about water for Crimea has matched the Russin attempts to extend its control into other parts of Ukraine.

When Russia overran Ukrainian territory in 2014, they had planned to capture a much larger portion of the nation than they were able to, including the places from which Crimea had historically obtained its water. Will the current “hysteria” in Crimea about water shortage prompt the Russians to move against Ukraine?

Ukraine is unlikely to change its position on Crimea and Russian occupation. That is because there is a looming water shortage in Ukraine itself, and supplying water to the Russian occupation would only increase the matter, besides Kiev looks determined to stand its ground firm.

That raises the probability that Russia may use the military option and drive northward into Ukraine to seize full control of water for Crimea before a humanitarian disaster hits the region this summer.

he Jamestown Foundation

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EurAsian Region

Is India Set To Export BrahMos Missiles To The Philippines, Indonesia & Vietnam?

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India-Philippines defence relations could get stronger as Manila plans to acquire BrahMos missile. “There are discussions going on a range of weapons systems between India and the Philippines. Once travel becomes possible, the joint committee that looks at defence logistics will meet discuss these things,” said India’s ambassador to the Philippines Jaideep Majumdar.

In 2017, during the visit to the Philippines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Industry and Logistics Cooperation (MoU). The MoU provides a framework for enhancing and strengthening cooperation in logistics support and services and in the development, production and procurement of defence materials.

India had offered $100 million a line of credit to the Philippines for defence purchases but Manila is considering the option to procure BrahMos missile with its own funds.

BrahMos Deals with other countries

ASEAN nations have earlier approached New Delhi exploring the idea to procure major defence and weapon systems, including the Akash and BrahMos missiles.

In the last few years, India has exported personal protective items or bulletproof gear and armour plating for military vehicles to the Philippines. New Delhi is now exploring the defence deals with Indonesia and Vietnam to sell its Indo-Russian missile, BrahMos.

India has earlier contracted to sell coastal defence radars and marine-grade steel to Indonesia and to service the Russian-made Su-30 combat jets flown by the Indonesian air force. “It is significant if India is offering the BrahMos missile to Indonesia. It enhances the relevance of India’s military profile as a credible exporter of cruise missile technology,” said Commodore (retired) C Uday Bhaskar.

This is a big push for PM Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. “We are not a significant exporter of arms mainly because we have very little exportable military equipment,” Amit Cowshish, former Financial Advisor (Acquisition), Ministry of Defence stated.

BrahMos Missile

BrahMos is a cruise missile which means that it can be controlled towards a pre-determined land- or sea-based target. It is classified as a supersonic cruise missile which can achieve a speed 2.8 times the speed of sound.

The name comes with the amalgamation of rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva and was produced by a joint venture between Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Mashinostroyenia of Russia.

“India’s missile development programme has made sure that its missiles are upgraded and new systems are also developed. BrahMos has undergone development through the early 2000s till date. Its land-to-land, submarine-fired and now air-fired variants have been developed stage by stage. Each new version has something additional compared to the previous version,” said a DRDO scientist.

The Indian Navy indicted the missiles on its warships in 2005 while army began acquiring from 2007 after a series of tests. After the Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully air-launched a Mach 2.8 supersonic surface-attack missile of this category from a fighter jet, it became the first in the world to do so.

India has been in talks with the ASEAN nations for a long time over the export of BrahMos missiles and experts are predicting that New Delhi should be able to make inroads into the South-East Asian nations as pressure from China mounts.

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EurAsian Region

Russian S-500 Missile Defence System To Be Deployed by 2021- Could Make Patriot, THAAD, F-35s Obsolete?

S-500 Missile Defence System vs THAAD vs F-35 vs S400s? How Does the Russian S-500 compete against US adversaries?

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Russia will deploy Prometheus S-500 missile defence system or otherwise known as 55R6M ‘‘Triumfator-M’’ to its military arsenal by 2021. The latest Russian S-500 surface to air (SAM) missile aka air defence system is being developed by Almaz Antey, a state contractor.

The S-500 is a supplement to the S-400 and a replacement for A-135 anti-ballistic missile and could render the American missile systems such as the Patriot and THAAD as well as fifth-generation stealth fighters obsolete.

Although the delivery dates of the game-changing S-500s have been pushed forward a couple of times, Russian Deputy Defence Minister, Alexei Krivoruchko, recently confirmed that the Russian army will get the delivery within a year. The Russians army is currently using the S-400 and with the arrival of S-500 hopes to further strengthen its defensive capabilities.

The S-400 was introduced into service in 2007 and is believed to be one of the most advanced systems in the world. It has proved to be popular amongst Russia’s key allies such as India and Turkey due to its economical costs and prooven capabilities.

Russia’s S-400 costs approximately $500 million, whereas a Patriot Pac-2 battery costs $1 billion and a THAAD battery rings in at about $3 billion, according to people with first-hand knowledge of a U.S. intelligence assessment.

New Delhi has ordered the formidable S-400 from Moscow in a deal expected to be around $5.37 billion. The delivery of the missile systems is scheduled for 2021 as India looks to bolster its air defence capabilities.

S-500 vs S-400 Missile Defence Systems

Russia has been secretive of the details of the S-500 but there have a few leaked reports on the internet. According to reports, the development of the S-500 started in 2009 and the first prototype was completed in 2012.

The Russian military conducted the world’s longest surface-to-air missile test in 2018, The test successfully struck a target 299 miles away, which the U.S. assessed is 50 miles further than any known test according to CNBC reports.

The S-500 is speculated to be a completely new design compared to the S-400 and will use a new computer system, radar and even missiles, thus making it superior to the popular S-400.

The Prometheus S-500 is expected to have an extended range of up to 600 km (an improvement of 200km over the S-400) and simultaneously engage up to 10 targets. The radar range is also more than that of the S-400 and the system will have the potential to destroy hypersonic and ballistic targets with interceptors operating at an altitude higher than 185km.

The S-500s will have a response time of about 3- 4 seconds, which is considerably shorter than the S-400 which takes 9-10 seconds. The missiles will be carried by heavy-duty trucks thus adding the advantage of mobility to the latest addition to the armed forces. The Prometheus will use 2 new types of missile, the 77N6-N and 77N6-N1, the first-ever Russian missiles with inert warheads, capable of destroying nuclear warheads by force of impact.

Russian S-500 Missile Defence Systems – The Game Changer?

Russian media and military experts believe that Triumfator-M will be the first missile defence system able to precisely target and neutralize lower orbit satellites as well as fifth-generation stealth fighters like the F-35. This is a major threat to the US and her allies since they consider the F-35 the most advanced fighter jet in the world.

In comparison to the American Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system, Almaz Antey believes that the  Russian missile delivery system is decades ahead of its American counterpart. “The S-500 is a blow against American prestige,” Almaz-Antey head engineer Pavel Sozinov told Russian media.

“Our system neutralizes American offensive weapons, and surpasses all of America’s much-hyped anti-air and anti-missile systems,” he added.

The addition of S-500 anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic missile defence systems could prove to be a big boost for the Russian defence industry. Russia is the second biggest exporter of arms in the world and generates substantial revenue from the same.

In the S-500s, Moscow has a weapons system which is not just unparalleled but puts most modern jets such as American F-35 at risk. Experts speaking to EurAsian Times believe that the missile system could draw buyers away from the United States and help elevate the stagnant Russian economy.

The S-500 could also be used as diplomatic leverage to win the support of countries that at the moment support sanctions on Russia.

Penned By – Armaan Srivastava, Edited By Xavier Francis

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