Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sarab 1 ,2 &3 Active Protection System

In the year 2012 militants in Syria started using Anti-Tank Guided Missiles such as 9M113 Konkurs and 9K115-2 Metis-M that were stolen from Syrian Arab Army's inventory. The limited number of such ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missiles) did not cause a significant problem for the Syrian Arab Armed Forces (SAA) back then, as the Syrian Forces were able to overcome the limited number of casualties inflicted by these ATGMs.

That situation gradually shifted when militants were supplied by their backers in the United States, Turkey, and Gulf States with more ATGMs. These included: 9M113 Konkurs, HJ-8 (Red Arrow), and BGM-71 TOW ATGMs; the delivery of these ATGMs happened in large numbers and was significant enough to cause a major shift on the battlefield, and perhaps the most significant shift was when the Syrian Arab Army withdrew from the city of Idlib in the year 2015 after militants used these ATGMs to destroy an estimated 40 SAA (Syrian Arab Army) Tanks.

After the Syrian Government withdrew from Idlib, the Syrian Military Intelligence studied aspects of the battles and came up with a full comprehensive report that was submitted to the Syrian High Command; with a suggestion that the threat of ATGMs must be addressed and eliminated.
The Syrian High Command addressed the situation by discussing the available options, such as the purchasing of modern armor and protection systems from the Russian Federation and countries in Eastern Europe.
Around this time, the Syrian Scientific Research Center (SSRC) provided and alternative solution, a jamming device against all SACLOS (Semi-automatic command to line of sight) guided ATGMs which were put into action in early 2012.

The Syrian High Command chose to back up the solution provided by the Syrian Scientific Research Center for multiple reasons: the economic factors, the length of time required to bring new armor to the front, and the fact that any domestic solution will mean less dependence on foreign options. Thus, the Syrian High Command instructed all Syrian Intelligence Agencies to provide all required data and aid the the SSRC.

To start a more specific and valid solution, the first step was to familiarize the SSRC with what tanks were encountering on the frontlines; such as the BGM-71 TOW. The first time it was encountered was was during the 1973 war against Israel and then in Lebanon during the 1982 war and finally the Iranian supplied variant of the Missile "Toophan" system which is used by the SAA to a limited extent. However, the SSRC had to have number of samples of the BGM-71 TOW which were already being used by the militants in Syria.

The first BGM-71 TOW captured by the SAA was in 2014 in which a joint operation with Hezbollah led to the capture of which included three missiles and one launcher. While the Syrian Intelligence Agencies were able to provide number of different variants of the missile using many methods; the simplest method was to buy the missiles from militants directly using the Syrian Military intelligence who were able to buy 18 missiles and three launchers from one FSA formation in Southern Syria. A SyAAF (Syrian Arab Air Force) intelligence asset among the terrorist group Ahrar Al Sham was able to steal two missiles and two launchers in Idlib from Squr Al Ghab group. SyAAF Intelligence happened to be a commander of a group in Southern Syria – FSA Tribal forces – the commander provided another two missiles and one launcher. All of this happened around the same time period when the Russian Air Forces were deployed in Syria in late 2015

After SSRC was provided with what it needed, they were able to initiate the latest active testing phase of the system they had constructed. The system's method was very simple, the new system generates and mimic the IR signal on the back of the missiles which providing false targeting information to the SACLOS Guided ATGM launch base, and thus the launchers will give false information to the ATGM itself and this will mean that the missile ends up losing and missing its target.

The very first prototype of Mirage (Arabic: Sarab) was placed on a T-62 tank –SSRC the preferred tank of choice for testing any system – for front line use; and was given economic priority, the need to have a system that can be produced in large quantities, and that could be fitted on many different types of vehicles was sorely needed. The initial prototype had a rugged initial design, with a plan for a future upgrade for a complete protection package.

The first battlefield testing took place in Khanaser district in the Southern Countryside of Aleppo where the system had its first successes against ISIS-Launched 9M113 Konkurs ATGMs,
then the tank was dispatched to the Countryside of Latakia for more battlefield tests, and here it encountered its first BGM-71 TOW systems: It successfully jammed the BGM-71 TOW systems. Based on the results yielded these two battlefield trials the system was adopted by the Syrian Ministry of Defence immediately, and as soon as the first rugged jamming device was adopted the SSRC initiated its large-scale production programme and started working on its upgrades to the system simultaneously.

The first variant Mirage-1 (Sarab-1) had over 80% effectiveness against all SACLOS ATGMs, it utilizes either a classical IR emitters or LEDs depending the production model, can work for 6 straight hours and can be easily mounted on all vehicles as well as stationary checkpoints and defensive points.

The effects of the Mirage-1 (Sarab-1) system were seen on the fronts of the Southwestern Countryside of Aleppo, where SAA armor saw a significant decrease in loss statistics, and thus the militants began using BGM-71 TOW ATGMs on other non-armored targets such as buildings and barricades (which lacked the Sarab-1) in an attempt to score hits after failing hit SAA armor targets.

Although the first variant Mirage-1 (Sarab-1) was a huge battlefield success, it had number of drawbacks such as the large source of energy it required when it was wired to a vehicle’s electrical system. The system also shortened the lifespan of the batteries in vehicles, and it was not as resilient to harsh environmental factors as planned.
Thus it was replaced by a newer more durable variant known as Mirage-2 (Sarab-2)

The Mirage-2 (Sarab-2) System utilized newer emitters and was fitted with new more powerful batteries as an energy source which increased its operation time to 10 hours before requiring a recharge, and the system was fitted in a more durable external container which completely surrounded the system for more protection.

As far as battle effectiveness went, the system was a major success in the operations to liberate Aleppo in 2016 where militants who fired BGM-71 TOW ATGMs did so almost exclusively against infantry and fortifications where the use of ATGMs as their success rates against SAA armor were very limited as they were unable to score any hits on IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) or tanks.

After the Syrian Scientific Research Center addressed all the design issues in the Mirage-1 by providing the Mirage-2 system, it switched its efforts to developing a complete soft-kill, or passive-countermeasure system. rather than only a jamming system. The pictures shown above are the latest pictures of the Mirage-3 (Sarab-3), on a T-62 tank which as fore mentioned is the preferred test tank for upgrades and modifications.

Here we see another set of lenses which could be a different type of emitters or LASER illumination sensors for incoming ATGMs. Also the new Mirage-3 (Sarab-3) Cover 360 degrees where the older models covered only ~180 degrees


Regardless of what experts think of these systems, it is non-deniable that the SAA's heavy and light armor losses have been significantly decreased after adopting these systems into service.
*Special thanks for the Syrian Military Capabilities who took a serius risk by sharing this info with the world ,and for The Resistance for re editing this report  .

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Syrian T-55 Upgrades : T-55AMV & Viper-55 sight

We’ve been over some Syrian T-55 tanks and the improvements introduced to them while they remain in service with the Syrian Arab Army. Today we’re going to address another version of this rugged beasts, The Ukrainian-upgraded Syrian T-55AMV.

The upgrade took place during the 2000s, unknown numbers of Syrian T-55 were fitted with the Ukrainian upgrade kit that includes improvement to protection, accuracy and electronics, in addition to some locally made equipment.

The most notable and visible indicator of the upgrade is of course the Kontakt-1 light-weight ERA plates. Although functional by themselves, the ERA armour fitted on the T-55AMV has performed less than expected on the Syrian battlefield due to the ill-considered installation, the armour units are not fixed very well and they are not maximising the capabilities of the design. And to an extent, the same can be said about the T-72AV.

The AMVs were also fitted with the KTD-2 laser range-finder.

to help implement the tanks into the Syrian doctrine. The Syrian armed forces realized the state of the tank in comparison to modern armour, especially that of Israel. In order to keep the T-55 in service and make good use out of them, they had to follow a rapid-movement tactic, where tank crews are trained and advised on detect-fire-move. Lest forget, these tanks were mostly given to light infantry divisions (called “special op” in Syria), who, in all-out war scenario, would work on inducing damage on the enemy’s flanks and transport routes.

The implementation of the T-55 as light, maneuverable tanks needed one more thing, the outdated gun fitted on the T-55 was no match for modern heavy armoured APCs/tanks/IFV…etc. used by Israel. Therefore, the addition of the barrel-fired 9M117 Bastion ATGMs (AT-10 Sabber) has added to the tank’s firepower and firing range. Each Syrian AMV would carry 4 Bastions.

 We saw Syrian T-55AMV using the Bastion one time ,the reason is according to a Syrian T-55AMV commander is the slow cruising speed of the Bastion leaves the T-55 exposed before the Bastion hits it's target .

And while considering different scenarios these special-use tanks may encounter, the SAA decided to improve the tank’s visibility at night. The Syrian AMV kit originally did not include a thermal vision option, however, a locally made ‘scope’, using a cooled-thermal camera was developed by the SSRC "Syrian Scientific Research Center" ,installed over the laser range finder
, inside an LCD screen was installed for observation while the aiming is throw the scope.

the sight that we will call "Viper-55" gave the tank crew a 4-5Km thermal-vision capability. The Bastion sights are not affected, and remain with the old guiding sights.

The upgrade that was introduced before the current war shows that the Syrian command understands the limitations of its armed forces, and tries to develop its capabilities in any possible way, be it with locally-developed improvements or imported technology and equipment.
Spical thanks to my friend anc co-writer Kane ,and to my friend Zack Vincent Sex 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Syrian Air Defense Pantsir-S1

Syrian Acquisition of Pantsir S-1 air-defense systems (SA-22 Greyhound) is a well-known fact today thanks to the few pictures taken during the current war. But as we all know, Syria was never this open about its inventory, and for years before the war, everyone with the least interest in the Syrian military knew about the news of Syrian interest in the Pantsir system. Today, we are going to have a look at the full story.

After Assad’s visit to Russia in 2005, news of new weapon deals between Syria and Russia took on the media worldwide, and kept resurfacing for years. One of those deals, is the 2006 Pantsir S1. It was a 2 stage bargain, Syria would receive 36 units, and afterwards, there were 14 optional units, estimated at $1 billion for the whole deal.
As expected, Israel staged a diplomatic war against the deal, supporting the effort with claims from media sources, like in the Jane's Defence Weekly article that claimed those systems real destination was Iran (which was still under international sanctions and arms ban at the time), and that Syria is just playing an intermediary part in the deal. Other journalists and followers claimed the systems would end up in Hezbollah hands. Several Russian officials denied these claims.
Deliveries started before the first stages of the Syrian crisis in 2011 (some are reported back in 2007-2009). But by 2012 all 36 units were delivered. Judging by the delivery time, the systems are equipped with the UHF band, PESA target acquisition radars, with an up to 32km detection range.

During the Russian intervention in Syria in 2016, Russia agreed to supply the second stage of the 2006 deal, especially after the rising tensions with Turkey and the few aerial incidents near the borders. These, unlike the first batch, were equipped with the more advanced AESA Target acquisition radars, with a range that can detect and track targets from 40km (wider ranges is reported, probably under ideal conditions), and a higher jamming resistance.

The older units were armed with 12  57E6-E short range SA missiles - export version -, with an average range of 20km ,we can confirm that all the older systems are armed with 12 from unofficial photos from the social media like this one .

However, newer systems appeared in leaked pictures with 6 missiles only, which may mean that the newer systems have a new missile (or maybe at least a non-export Russian version). This is highly possible, if we take in consideration that Russia brought many arms into Syria with no intention to take them back (it would be easier and more efficient to sell the weapons to Syria, than to transport them back to Russia).

No detailed information is available regarding the operational history of the Syrian Pantsir S1 systems. But back in 2012, during the Turkish RF-4E incident on 22/01/2012, some sources reported that the fighter was shot down using the Pantsir S1 automatic guns, however no evidence was presented at the time ,just a video that confirm the use of an undefined automatic gun .


Another incident is the December 2014 Israeli strikes on AA batteries near Damascus, the aggressors used Popeye cruise missiles (probably fired from F-15 strike fighters), this time we are sure the Pantsir was behind the failed strike, the location, pictures, and local media reports all point at this fact, but again, no further details are available.

At the end, it was hard enough to find evidence of the systems’ existence in Syria, it only makes since that it is even harder to determine how well they do on the proving ground. But looking back at the 2006 Pantsir deal, we realize that it is one of few Sryian arms deals that were fulfilled despite the international pressure.
special thanks to my friend Kane 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Syrian T-55 Upgrades : North Korean FCS

One of the mysteries of the SAA's arsenal are the soviet T-55 tanks that have been upgraded with North Korean equipment. Today, we brought you an exclusive close look at the details of these old yet stubborn and reckless metal beasts.
The most visually distinctive factor of this version of Syrian t-55s is of course the famous laser rangefinder situated above the barrel's base, for most people, this was the only known added device.
A closer look at the rabbit's hole, however, shows that there is a whole new fire control system added.
On the outside, the only visible part besides the 4km rangefinder is the sensor complex, which includes a barometer, a hygrometer, and a thermometer.
On the inside, a new ballistic computer is added, below is a picture of the control panel, which allows the gunner to add additional info like ammunition type/make, and wind speed and direction. The ballistic computer makes the calculations automatically based on the measurements it receives from the meters and the rangefinder.
The computer updates the output on the periscope. The periscope has also been modified for this purpose. The whole process is automatic and requires no human input other than the optional wind measurements ,with the ability to input in case any sensor was damaged . 

The computer also has a digital screen which shows the environment measurements and the range to the target.

 The last addition is panel that is used to control and synchronize the rangefinder.

Although this upgrade focus was the fire controls system, some t-55 that were fitted with this system were also fitted with a KPV 14.5 HMG, and smoke screen launchers.

But that is not all, although some parts were initial designed and manufactured in the PRK, the pictures we got shows all control panels are labeled in Arabian. That is due to the fact that the system as a whole, was also developed by the Syrian Military Research Center ,and with technology provided by the Korean part.

The upgrade is not new, and it is obviously not comparable to its modern counterparts. But the fact that Syrians were able to fetch this development despite the technological blockage that Russian arms industry practices shows how much they are determined to developing and manufacturing heir own systems based on their study of the Korean (maybe Ukrainian, and/or Italian?) fire control systems they received .
special thanks to my friend Kane 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fn-6 Manpad : from FSA to ISIS and Al-Qaeda

Since the reveal of Fn-6 anti-aircraft missile in the hands of the Free Syrian Army , speculations and warnings emerged on the danger of empowering non-state forces with such advanced mobile weapons.

While many saw that empowering the FSA with weapons like these is of no perilous consequences, others had ample doubts and worries .
The theory behind the proliferation of those Chinese manufactured weapons is that Qatar purchased them from the Sudan military stockpiles and transferred them with the cooperation of Turkey into Syria, and specifically into Deir Ezzor, Aleppo, Idlib, and Lattakia in addition to Homs's northern countryside and Qalamoun.

it appears that none of the batches found their way into southern Syria, that is likely due to Qatar and Turkey's unwillingness to threaten Israel's security and Jordan's fear of the incalculable consequences of such a move.

As for this weapon's operational history in the Syrian conflict, those missile were able to down a SyAAF Mi-8 helicopter during its landing or take off in Mingh AB on 24/2/2013.

On 5/3/2013, another Mi-8 belonging to the Syrian Air Force was downed using the Fn-6 during its take off or landing in Aleppo's International Airport.

A Syrian MiG-21 fighter jet was downed in Lattakia's northern countryside during a fighting mission on the 18th of August 2013 using the aforementioned weapon.

The downing of Mig-21 on 18-8-2013 is considered the last confirmed use of the Fn-6 missile. However, the Fn-6 Manpad is likely the reason for many later downing cases that were not announced possibly due to the US disapproval of this Turkish-Qatari unipolar effort or even due to the two country's fear of a Russian response following the Russian aerial intervention in Syria.

As an example of this censorship, a Syrian Mig-21 was downed on 12/03/2016 in Hama's countryside with a Manpad that could very likely be an Fn-6 operated by the Al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat Al-Nusra.

As we mentioned, there was a lot of fear of the unhindered proliferation of such advanced mobile weapons to factions blacklisted as terrorist groups by the United States.

Those fears would prove their magnitude when the full danger conceived would prove to transcend threatening the security of the Syrian airspace. Those fears would later not only prove their authenticity, but also show that the full danger of proceeding with such a hasty step is much larger than threatening security in the Syrian airspace.

On the 3rd of October 2014, ISIS had used an Fn-6 to down an Iraqi Mi-35 that was participating in a US-backed counterterrorism operation in Biji that lies in the Iraqi heartland.

In 30/11/2016, a more dangerous situation was scouted: an Fn-6 missile was confiscated in the Lebanese Majdal Anjar during a raid by the Lebanese Army on one of Abdallah Azam's Movement headquarters- a faction designated as a terrorist group by the American administration due to its links to Al-Qaeda. The raid was conducted to arrest Omar Hassan Khroub, the mastermind behind two terrorist attacks that targeted Lebanese civilians- the bombing of Al-Tuyouneh in 20/6/2014 and the bombing of Dahr Al-Baydar in 23/6/2014.

Given this rich history of terrorism, it is safe to assume that the Abdullah Azzam Movement were planning to use this missile in an attack inside the Lebanese territories possibly targeting a helicopter carrying important people or even civil aircraft flying from the Beirut International Airport.

many Fn-6 still around inside Syria like the one appeared with Homs liberation movement in northern Homs country side ,and that increase future risks

What is certain from all this stated information is that the Fn-6 is the perfect example of why insurgent groups should not be provided with such advance mobile weapons.

special thanks to Izat Charkati for translating

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Viper-72 thermal sight ,A Syrian solution

 since the SAA armors engaged in the ongoing war in Syria in late 2011 Syrian tanks been suffering from many maintenance problems due to the complexity of the urban warfare .
many old systems on SAA tank have proven to be unreliable and unsuitable for urban warfare among them is the TPN-3-49 night vision sight on T-72 tanks ,as SAA T-72 tanks start to take on the streets it become clear that protecting the IR lamps from the enemy fire is impossible just like the idea of fixing it again and again
after two years into the fight most of the tanks in urban area have lost it's night capabilities with all or almost all of it's IR lamps broken some even the TPN-3-49 night sight it self .
when the Syrian scientific research center was tasked with finding a solution for this problem in 2013 they were fast to come with an idea for the perfect replacement 
a thermal sight ,as thermal vision don't need illumination ,and they have already some experience working with thermal sights 
the Syrian scientific research center did before upgrade some of SAA's T-55MV with a Syrian thermal sight for direct engagement.

so the work was on and soon after the Viper thermal sight was born to replace the existing night TPN-3-49 vision sight .

Viper in outer design is similar to TPN-3-49 but with an arch shaped protection ,it also use many of TPN-3-49 components .

Viper range is up to 4km for big objects ,however the useful range for aiming is 1.5-2km tops
the tank gunner aim through an electronic scoop ,however an LCD can be attached .

as firearms flash is more visible in thermal imagery ,Viper is used even in day to detect snipers in urban areas ,giving the Syrian tank crew not only a better vision with less maintenance but also with a chance for revenge ...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Untold story : SyAAF & RuAF joint air squadron

In 12 April 2016 two Russian pilots Andrey Okladnikov and Viktor Pankov lost their life when their Syrian helicopter was shot down according to the Russian MoD
this claims have been denied by many who claimed the helicopter was Russian not Syrian ,while others ID the helicopter as a SyAAF Mi-25 .

In a recent info we receive including the photo below we find out that both opinion were wrong !

according to our information the RuAF and SyAAF since early 2016 founded a joint air squadron with the task of training SyAAF and providing close air support if needed for SAA troops .
the squadron that consists of at least 4 Mi-24p helicopters based in T4 AB ,all the helicopters in the squadron are with RuAF and SyAAF numbers and marking like the one above
with the RuAF 30 yellow serial number ,and SyAAF 2861 serial number and SyAAF logo .
as we said the main task is to train new Syrian pilots ,something the Syrian Air Force Academy become incapable of after a long siege.
however this squadron also provided SAA with close air support against ISIS around Palmyra where one of the helicopters was lost .
Syrian and Russian crews fly such mission separately or sometimes even a joint crew on the same helicopter .
such Russian aid was never announced although it can be recognized as any other form of training ,we can't say the helicopters are now owned by the SyAAF but we believe it will be one day .