south front

Turkish Developers Compete For Middle-Class UGV For Ankara’s Armed Forces
South Front, Jul 26 2021

Turkey is steadily and almost surely moving towards military self-sufficiency. In addition to that it is moving towards one of the leading positions of unmanned systems producers. The Bayraktar TB2 UAV is infamous at this point, with its affordable price and easy maneuverability and capability to carry out strikes in various environments. Now, Turkey’s indigenous manufacturers compete to produce an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). Four unmanned ground vehicles are competing to enter service with Turkey’s military under the force’s medium-class UGV project. Turkey’s largest defense company, Aselsan, is participating in the competition with its Aslan UGV, while Havelsan is pitching its Barkan; Best Group is offering its Fedai; and Elektroland Defence is proposing its Hancer. All four feature Aselsan’s SARP remote-controlled weapon system. According to a statement released by Turkey’s top defense procurement official, Ismail Demir, the indigenously produced UGVs have reached the final phase of the competition. The four finalist UGVs carried out tests with their 7.62mm guns and the contest is expected to conclude with a final winner system in Aug 2021. Demir described five categories on which the UGVs will be evaluated: general inspection, mobility, autonomy, firing and performance. Due to confidentiality no other specifications or information were provided. There are, however, expectations that if more than one system is sufficiently good, there could be more than one winner, up to four, as there are that many finalists.

Havelsan first unveiled the Barkan in February to further the company’s “digital troop” concept, which aims for quicker, more effective battlefield technology. The UGV is equipped with a remote-controlled weapon system, electro-optical sensors and data link systems. It can communicate with low-flying UAVs to carry out joint strikes. Best Group’s Fedai weighs 400 kg, and can carry up to 400 kg of payload. It can reach a maximum speed of 10 kph. It also has an operational range of 1 km within the line of sight of its operator and can operate up to 300 m beyond the line of sight. It has a two-axis gyro-aided stabilized gun system that can carry a 7.62mm gun. Hancer has a payload capacity of 500 kg and can operate for 6 hours after 3 hours of charging. The UGV can be controlled within 1.5 km of its operator. Hancer’s moving pallet system provides an advantage in rough terrain, and it’s able to handle a vertical grade of 60%, a side-slope grade of 30%, and ditches that are 60 cm across. It can be equipped either with a 7.62mm remote weapon system or 40mm grenade launchers. Finally, Aselsan is keeping its unit secret, but its specifications are likely somewhat similar to the other three contestants. Aselsan has also developed the Kaplan family of UGVs, which the Turkish military uses to neutralize explosive threats, and the company used the technology as a basis for the Aslan system. Aslan can be controlled and transmit data via satellite. For its part, the Kaplan can be fitted with a 7.62mm remote weapon system. If reports and claims of Turkish UAV, UGV and even maritime drones all come into fruition, it could be that Israel may have some significant competition in the coming months and years.

The US Exploits Chaos To Expand Its Footprint In Syria
South Front, Jul 26 2021

The exchange of fire between the Turkish Armed Forces and the factions it backs against the Kurdish groups is continuing with full force in Northeastern Syria. The most recent flare up began when a Turkish MRAP Kirpi armored vehicle was targeted with a guided missile while on its way to a military base in the vicinity of the town of al-Bab in the northern part of Aleppo province. Two soldiers were killed and two were injured in the incident. Turkish forces and Turkish-backed militants are targeted by Kurdish militants on a regular basis. Two days earlier, the ALF (Afrin Liberation Front) released videos of three recent attacks on Turkish-backed forces in the northern countryside of Syria’s Aleppo. Ankara and the factions it supports never fail to respond to provocation, or carry out one of their own. Following the attack on the armored vehicle, at least seven Kurdish fighters were killed in northern Syria as part of the retaliatory actions by the Turkish military. The Turkish MoD published photos of the ALF and People’s Protection Units (YPG) military positions which have been hit in response to the attack. Bayraktar TB-2 drones were reportedly spotted flying over northern Aleppo during the TAF engagement shots. Meanwhile, artillery of the Turkish-baked Syrian National Army (SNA) bombarded positions of the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) on the Hazwan axis in the eastern countryside of Aleppo. At the same time, Turkish military forces shelled the SDF positions in the village of Maraanaz in the northern countryside of Aleppo.

The Kurdish group, however, didn’t simply sit idly by and receive the punishment. A barrage of rockets targeted the Turkish-occupied Syrian Afrin region in the northern countryside of Aleppo. The rockets were reportedly launched from a pocket held by the Kurdish-led SDF to the south of Afrin. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) maintains several posts within the pocket. While this escalation is taking place, the al-Qaeda affiliated so-called “moderate opposition” in Greater Idlib continues shelling SAA positions, despite the ceasefire. Russian aerospace forces (VKS) continue raining punishment for the third day in a row, but it has led to nothing. The latest airstrikes took place on July 24 and targeted the outskirts of the towns of Kabani and Duwayr al-Akrad in the northern countryside of Lattakia. Meanwhile, taking advantage of the general chaos in the entire Northern region, the US transferred a supply convoy of 75 trucks carrying armored vehicles, weapons, equipment, logistic supplies as well as construction materials to its military base near the town of al-Shaddadi on July 24. Earlier this year, an airfield was built in the al-Omar oil fields in southeastern Deir Ezzor. A large base is also under construction in northeastern al-Hasakah, near the border line with Iraq and Turkey.

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