Enemy-initiated attacks in Afghanistan increased by nearly 37% in first quarter of 2021

by Gabriel Dominguez

As US and coalition troops begin their withdrawal from Afghanistan, the fighting between Afghan government forces and the Taliban continues to intensify, with the first three months of the year seeing a sharp increase in the number of enemy-initated attacks (EIAs) compared to the same period last year.

In his latest quarterly report to the US Congress, US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko quoted the Pentagon as saying that while the number of EIAs registered between 1 January and 31 March decreased by approximately 10% compared to the previous quarter, it increased by nearly 37% compared to the same quarter in 2020.

In this context the SIGAR noted in his 30 April report that the number of casualties incurred by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) during these three months was “substantially higher” than during the same period last year, although the figure was “slightly lower” than that registered between October and December 2020.

Afghan security officials inspect the scene of bomb blast in Kabul on 7 March that killed and wounded several civilians. The high levels of violence during the first quarter of this year have resulted in a considerable increase in the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan compared to the same period in 2020 (Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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France orders camouflage nets from Saab

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The DGA ordered 3,000 multispectral camouflage nets from Saab Barracuda on 21 January. (DGA)

The Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA), France's defence procurement agency, announced on its website on 27 February that it had ordered 3,000 multispectral camouflage nets from Saab Barracuda on 21 January under its Filet écran radar-IR (Fenrir) procurement programme.

Under the EUR30 million (USD32.4 million) contract, the French Army and Air and Space Force will receive multispectral camouflage nets between 2024 and 2026, which the DGA expects to “significantly improve” the ability to conceal division, brigade, combined joint force, and vehicle command posts, masking their visible, infrared, and radar signatures so they blend more easily into the environment. They will be provided for four different environments: northern Europe, southern Europe, desert, and snow.

The camouflage nets were developed over two years by Saab and the Section Technique de l'Armée de Terre (STAT), the French Army's Technical Section, to meet French forces' requirements.

Saab has subcontracted the French small- and medium-sized enterprise Solarmtex in Vierzon to manufacture and assemble the camouflage nets in a new factory.

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Indonesian National Armed Forces receives armoured vehicles

by Kapil Kajal

The Indonesian Army's Harimau tank on display at Indo Defence 2022. The tank uses a modular armour for protection and is armed with a 150 mm Cockerill main gun and a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun. (Janes/Andrew Galer)

The Indonesian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has handed over 52 armoured vehicles manufactured by PT Pindad to the Indonesian National Armed Forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia: TNI).

According to a press release by PT Pindad on 28 February, the MoD handed over 10 Harimau medium tanks, three Badak 6×6 wheeled armoured direct-fire support vehicles, and 10 Pandur II 8×8 fire support vehicles to the TNI.

In addition, the MoD handed over 12 Anoa 6×6 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), seven Komodo 4×4 light armoured vehicles, and 10 Maung 4×4 light tactical vehicles to the TNI.

The handover took place on 28 February during a TNI-Indonesian National Police (Polri) leadership meeting held at TNI headquarters in Jakarta.

In November 2014 PT Pindad and Turkey's FNSS Defence Systems collaborated to develop a medium tank. The tank was named as ‘Harimau' in Indonesia and ‘Kaplan' in Turkey.

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General Atomics XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station conducts first flight

by Zach Rosenberg

The XQ-67A in flight (location unknown). (GA-ASI)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has flown the XQ-67A unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the first time, the company announced on 29 February.

“Flight demonstration of this system is a major first step towards showing the ability to produce affordable combat mass,” said Trenton White, Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL's) Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) programme manager, in a statement announcing the flight.

The flight took place on 28 February at GA-ASI's Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility, outside Palmdale, California.

It comes a year after the AFRL selected GA-ASI to build the XQ-67A under the OBSS programme, intended to result in a UAV that could fly ahead of manned aircraft and pass data back, effectively extending their ability to detect and track targets.

“OBSS is the first aircraft type built and flown using a common core chassis developed by GA-ASI that promotes commonality across multiple vehicle types,” said Michael Atwood, GA-ASI vice-president of advanced programmes.

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As US and coalition troops begin their withdrawal from Afghanistan, the fighting between Afghan gove...

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