Skip to main content

Posts

Evolving readiness in Finland – Navy readiness units

  Jehu-class boat and NH-90 helicopters. Photo: FDF The Finnish Defense Forces have been working hard with improving their readiness since 2014. The army has developed readiness units that are manned with conscripts serving 6 months of their 12-month conscription in a readiness role. The units are rather hard hitting, with usually a company of infantry augmented by organic artillery, anti-aircraft, and main battle tank detachments. While the Army readiness units have been operational for five years now, the first two Navy units reached operational status in December 2021. The unit is formed much in the same way as the army units, with a core of professional soldiers supported by the 12 month serving conscripts that make up the bulk of the unit. Navy readiness unit conducting CQB training. Note the blue version of the readiness unit patch.    Photo FDF What differentiates the Navy unit from their dry land counterparts, is their ability to be used also in international situations,
Recent posts

Quick guide to identifying the Russian tanks Part 1: Updated Dec. 2021

  As most of the western nations have reduced their inventories to a few or mostly one type of main battle tank model in their active inventories, the myriad of tank platforms and distinct versions employed by the Russian armed forces may feel overwhelming. Here is a quick guide to identifying Russian MBTs. When you come across an image (or the actual thing), follow the steps to identify it properly. Updated 15.12.2021: T-90 modifications Family of the tank Russian Armed Forces currently operates, or at least storage, the following tank platforms/families: -            T-55 (<2000 in storage) -            T-62 (2000 in storage) -            T-64 (2000 in storage) -            T-72 (2000 active duty, 8000 in storage) -            T-80 (2000 active duty, 5000 in storage) -            T-90 (350 active duty, 600  in storage) -            T-14 (20 in field testing) So how can you identify what type of a tank are you looking at? There are two features that can be used to distinguishing th

Opinion: Great Power Competition in the 2020’s – Objectives for the smaller nations

World has moved from the unipolar US Dominated order, that emerged from the Cold War after the collapse of the Soviet Union, into a new great power competition with two major players and multiple smaller powers that aspire to rise to the top tier. China has already successfully challenged USA in the economic sphere. Russia and Turkey among others try to establish a localized area of dominance, while avoiding directly challenging the big dogs. There seems to be a lack of coherent objectives for the US political leadership in this competition. But the minimum viable objectives were well presented by Martin Skold: “The adversary means to either collapse us or coopt us, discrediting our governance model and turning our elites toward it. Any day that doesn’t happen is a good day. Any day we do that in reverse is better.” He also quoted Tanner Greer to explain the issue further: “ As Beijing sees it, China’s success depends on discrediting the tenets of liberal capitalism so that not

Death from above – Russian ad hoc top attack defenses

T-72B3 tanks with crude top armor cages The recent Russian tank upgrade programs and the ever slower moving T-14 Armata saga, have all had significant portion of the efforts put into improving the survivability of the tank and its crew. Both static and explosive reactive armor (ERA) have been upgraded and small amount of the latest T-90M and T-72B3 tanks have active protection systems that may be able to defeat most of the anti-tank missiles and slower moving HEAT shells. Environmentally friendly T-90M While these programs have put some emphasis on the armor on the top of the turret, the main focus has been in the sides and the front of the hull and turret. Additional ERA elements have been mounted on the skirts of the vehicles and slat-cage type standoff armor has been attached into the rear sides of the turrets and hulls. These modifications however have very little effect on direct top attacks by modern anti-tank missiles such as the American Javelin, that is also in the

The Hammer and the Sickle - Potential Russian Pincer-Offensive

For the past weeks the social media has been filled with sightings of Russian troops moving towards the regions bordering Ukraine. The buildup was initially called an exercise, but in the most recent press releases Kremlin has been rather clear that the troops have been deployed there as an operational deployment, if Russia feels a need to act upon any real or imaginary escalation in Donbass. The troops will stay in the region as long as President Putin sees it necessary. Russia Serna-Class landing crafts of the Caspian flotilla The initial buildup was focused on occupied Crimea that has so far received an additional VDV airborne regiment, multiple mechanized battalion tactical groups and heavy artillery units equipped with at least the enormous 240mm 2S4 Tulpan mortars.  Additional trains and convoys have been spotted in Rostov, Krasnodar and Voronezh regions. The Russian controlled Belarusian military has also been alerted and multiple, very Russian looking units are operating in the

Vantage Point on Gear: Särmä TST Shooter’s Belt

Särmä TST Shooter's Belt with a Ghost holster and my Armscor My old and faithful CR-Speed IPSC belt started to deteriorate after 17 years of use (and occasional abuse), so I needed a new belt for my competitive shooting. After a quick check on what’s available, I decided to buy something that would allow me to have a single rig for both IPSC and its reservist oriented cousin SRA as well as potential 2-gun brutality matches. Being an ethical chap who likes to ride on a very high horse, I decided that I want something  that is local, or at least made in a country that has some basic respect for human rights and workers conditions. I saw that Varusteleka had just released a Shooter’s Belt into their Särmä TST line of combat equipment. I’ve had some good experiences with their clothing, such as the merino hoodies and sweaters and with my wife absolutely loving their windproof jacket, I felt rather confident to try out their belt, that is designed in Finland and manufactured in

An OSINT week in Baltiysk: the Nanuchka class upgrades and a sub visit

 OSINT, and especially social media based OSINT, on military installations can be tricky. But some bases are a lot more accessible than others. The Russian Navy's Baltic Fleet is one of the easier ones. Both of the fleets major bases, Baltiysk and Kronstadt, are popular tourist and outdoor locations with people boating, walking, fishing, ice fishing and filming almost all year around.  An unmodified Nanuchka-class corvette Geyzer and the Swans that hang out along the canal So what kind of information can be derived from the typical weeks worth of digging through the various social networks? The most obvious fact is that a Russian city can have more nail saloons than residents. When it comes to the military side of things, the first one is the locations of the vessels within the port area. This also allows one to observe the ships that are missing from images. But be warned, some ports have more static berthing than others. The Zubr-class LAC:s in their special concrete landing pads