by Aleksandar Mladenov & Krasimir Grozev & David Ing & Nicholas Fiorenza
The Bulgarian MoD received the first batch of 45 armoured vehicles for its JSOC on 21 December 2021. (Bulgarian MoD)
The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 21 December 2021 that it had received the first batch of 45 armoured vehicles from Samel-90 for its Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that day. The MoD said 98 vehicles would be built in 10 different versions, with deliveries to be completed by the end of 2022.
The MoD signed the urgent procurement contract for the vehicles with Samel-90 in December 2020. The Bulgarian manufacturer has a joint venture with the UAE-based International Armored Group (IAG), which has the design authority for the vehicles, with final assembly and customisation taking place at Samel-90's new factory in Samokov, southwest of Sofia.
JSOC commander Major General Yavor Mateev told Bulgarian military TV on 21 December 2021 that the first vehicle is intended for major tactical employments, with the up-armoured Toyota Land Cruiser 70 series to be employed when greater mobility is required. He added that both models had undergone major customisation work to meet a specific set of Bulgarian MoD requirements.
Ukraine conflict: Russia launches new offensive in southern Donbas
25 May 2022
by Thomas Bullock
Russia began a new offensive in southern Donbas on 19 May. (Janes)
Russia has begun a new offensive likely aimed at closing an encirclement around the city of Severodonetsk in western Luhansk. The city is currently Ukraine's most easterly position in the Donbas and is effectively surrounded on three sides by Russian forces. Its only supply lines to the rest of Ukraine are two roads: the T1302 in the south and the T0513 in the north. The unfolding Russian offensive is likely aimed at securing these roads – Russian forces captured a portion of the T1302 on 24 May – isolating the Ukrainian forces in the Severodonetsk area.
Russia's offensive began on 19 May when a force spearheaded by Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) advanced some 15 km west from the recently captured town of Popasna around 80 km northeast of Donetsk, according to pro-Kremlin media.
Czech Republic to receive Leopard 2 tanks from Germany
24 May 2022
by Nicholas Fiorenza
Germany will supply Leopard 2A4 tanks to the Czech Republic. (Bundeswehr/Detmar Modes)
Germany will supply Leopard 2A4 tanks to the Czech Republic, the two countries' ministries of defence (MoDs) announced on 18 May. The German MoD, in a press release, described the donation as backfill in support of the Czech Republic supplying heavy equipment to Ukraine.
However, the Czech MoD told Janes on 23 May, “The German decision to provide 15 tanks is a sign of appreciation to all the efforts of the Czech Republic to provide as much military equipment as possible to Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion. However, it is not tied to any specific Czech deliveries.”
The German MoD said that Germany would pay for the tanks from industry stock, and the Bundeswehr would train Czech crews. Germany will also provide ammunition and spare parts for the tanks.
Slovenian Boxers will be based on the Lithuanian version (pictured), which is equipped with a Rafael Samson Mk II RWS. (Lithuanian MoD)
Slovenia, represented by the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR), signed a contract with Rheinmetall-Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) consortium Artec to purchase 45 Boxer armoured vehicles in four variants worth a total of EUR281.5 million (USD296.3 million), the consortium and its two constituent companies announced in a joint press release on 17 May.
The Slovenian Ministry of Defence (MoD) originally announced the decision to procure Boxer through OCCAR in February 2018 for its Central Battalion Battle Groups.
OCCAR said on its website on 12 May that the Slovenian Boxers will be based on the Lithuanian Boxer design, including the Rafael Samson Mk II remote weapon station (RWS). Rheinmetall told Janes on 18 May that there would only be minimal adaptations to the Boxers to Slovenian requirements thanks to the vehicles' modularity. OCCAR expects the first Boxer deliveries from KMW through Artec in 2023 and the consortium said they would be completed in 2026.
Podcast recording date: 26 April 2022.
Huw Williams of our EMEA news team chairs a discussion focussed on the Russian invasion of Ukraine featuring Amael Kotlarski, Senior Analyst at Janes, Thomas Bullock, Senior Russia and CIS OSINT Analyst a...