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A Summary of the PLA's Reforms Focusing on the Ground Force, Plus Some Info on Equipment.
In the spring of 2014, a task force was formed in Beijing to draw up a reform blueprint for the PLA. It involved over 690 civilian and military departments, 900 serving and retired commanders and experts, 2165 brigade-level and above officers, and ultimately resulted in over 800 meetings and took into account over 3400 comments and recommendations from the rank and file. The blueprint was revised over 150 times and was finalised in November 2015. Subsequently, the PLA underwent thorough reforms, demobilising 300,000 personnel, constituting almost half of non-combat positions and 30% of the officer corps. It is the most comprehensive of all PLA reforms in recent memory and has radically changed the way the PLA operates. A new training syllabus also went into effect in January 2018, having been in the works since April 2013. The overriding priority of the new syllabus is to have a high degree of realism with emphasis on new modes of warfare such as jointness and informationisation.
The PLA reforms are not complete and more will follow. In the last ten years, the salaries and social status of military personnel have been elevated considerably and recruitment is not an issue. Retainment, however, is, and skilled personnel attrition remains a major challenge to the PLA. A rework of the promotion and pay structure is likely planned as are changes to the recruitment schedule and possibly also lengths of service. This should give skilled personnel fairer remuneration, more flexible career paths, and make the military more competitive with the civilian sector. There is also increasing societal pressure on the PLA to relax their selection criteria and start accepting applicants such as college graduates that have passed the cut-off age or aspiring pilots with less than 20/20 vision. As the PLA has expanded their public outreach and interactions especially on social media, it is possible these widespread calls will lead to changes.
OrganisationThe PLA's organisation underwent structural, strategic, operational, and tactical changes. The four CMC organs were split up into fifteen smaller departments for better specialisation while accountability was strengthened by making the discipline department and audit office independent. Drastic reform of the CMC organs was something that over 90% of the task force agreed must be done if the reforms were to have any chance of lasting success. This served to destroy existing interest groups, cut bureaucratic bloat, reduce graft, and structurally impede formation of future interest groups and factions. At the same time, military regions were dismantled and their functions transferred to theatre commands and branches, splitting up the operational and administrative responsibilities that had previously been combined. Operations and admin can now be focused upon exclusively by their designated institution without distraction. Towards the smaller scale, group armies and echelons below them were reformed or abolished to maximise combat effectiveness, taking into account improvements in information technology and quality of the recruitment pool.
Former Military RegionsThe seven military regions were dismantled and their assets along with those of other branches were reorganised under five new theatre commands. The military regions existed as a holdover from the initial thirteen military regions which had been reduced and reorganised into seven over the decades. Their establishment stemmed from administrative and internal state considerations that were relevant decades ago but no longer make much sense today. In addition to their administrative responsibilities, military regions also had operational responsibility for PLAGF units in the region. This intertwining of administrative and operational duties compromised both and military regions were plagued with bureaucratic inefficiencies, graft, poor operational readiness, slow reaction speeds, inconsistent unit qualities, and inadequate jointness. Other branches of the PLA had their own independent chains of command and joint operations were very much a matter of compromise and negotiation between different branches rather than routine and seamless affairs. There have been cases in the past where pre-arranged joint exercises were cancelled or downsized at the last minute because one or more branches did not attend.
Theatre CommandsTheatre commands have operational control of most units within their specified zones, including ground, sea, air, support, and some rocket units, breaking down C3 barriers that previously existed between branches and even between different departments of the same branch. The consolidation of different unit types from different branches under a unified command has led to a huge increase in joint operations and exercises. Indeed, theatre-level joint operations is one of the four main categories of training topics under the new syllabus. Whereas military regions could not order joint exercises into being due to a lack of authority over non-PLAGF units, theatre commands have no such issue. Theatre commands are explicitly not responsible for force planning or administration, freeing them to focus all their effort on preparing and training against their reference threats. Force planning is now conducted by the newly empowered branches. Previously, the CMC organs played a large role in the force planning of the PLA's branches which was detrimental as the CMC had been dominated by PLAGF elements and failed to fully understand or appreciate the specific needs of other branches, nor, due to their need to consider those other branches, did they consider the PLAGF's specific needs either. The result was suboptimal force planning for everyone.
Five theatre commands were established to address specific threats instead of internal priorities a la military regions. Whichever direction has notable threats deserving of dedicated consideration, a theatre command was established to face it. The resulting theatre commands coincide with the four cardinal directions plus a central theatre. The Eastern Theatre Command was established to finish the civil war as well as face the East Asian threat consisting of Japan and USPACOM with possible ROK involvement under certain conditions; the Southern Theatre Command was established to face the South East Asian threat consisting of USPACOM, Vietnam, and a secondary focus on the ROC; the Western Theatre Command was established to face the Central and South Asian threat, consisting of India and USCENTCOM; the Northern Theatre Command was established to face the Korean Peninsula; and the Central Theatre Command was established as a strategic reserve. It's worthwhile to note that theatre command force allocations are not set in stone and units can and are shuffled around the country depending on need. While the general staff of each theatre focuses their preparation and training on the threats in their axis, their job at the fundamental level is to use whatever forces they are given to the best effect. As to what forces they actually get in a war; the CMC will decide that when the time comes.
Joint Logistics ForceTo better address wartime requirements, the operations-focused Joint Logistics Force (JLF) was established, unifying logistics throughout the PLA. It consists of a main logistics centre in Hubei and a series of supporting logistics bases in each theatre directing the logistics brigades within. The new brigades are more flexible and deployable, and the JLF as a whole is focused on wartime effectiveness, devoting more preparation and training to carrying out their mission while subject to enemy action. The integration of the JLF in theatre command HQ makes it the sole logistics coordination hub, replacing the previous system where each branch had a separate supply chain coordinated at different locations by different people. Concentrating the C2 of everyone's logistics at a single location overseen by a single team makes joint operations much easier to coordinate and sustain. The advent of logistics brigades further signifies the PLA's new focus on long-distance sustainment of fighting forces as a brigade is a deployable and mobile unit capable of crossing vast distances while a base or centre or depot is inflexible and immobile. Proliferation of brigades thus entails the making mobile of capabilities that had previously been largely static.
The JLF experienced its first real-world challenge during the 2020 Jan-April Hubei lockdown where they were tasked with the operation and manning of converted and field hospitals at the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak epicentre. The JLF was able to assemble over 4000 PLA medical personnel, the majority of whom had prior experience with epidemic response to SARS and/or Ebola. They were transported to their posts in three batches from Jan 24 to Feb 17 from around the country via airlift, high-speed rail, and motorway. In the initial stages of the lockdown, they also provided the first stocks of medical equipment and materials, buying time for the civilian response. However, while the JLF demonstrated its ability to rapidly mobilise men and material nationwide and relocate them in close coordination with civilian counterparts, its wartime capability to sustain expeditionary forces under theatre command direction was not put to the test.
Group ArmiesGroup armies (GA), the basic operational manoeuvre element of the PLA, have been reduced in number but made larger on average and more consistent. Eighteen GAs existed before the reforms with considerable variation in strength and capabilities between them, e.g. some had no organic aviation and some had just a few brigades while others were loaded with divisions. Five GAs were disbanded as part of the reforms and the remaining thirteen have been standardised with six manoeuvre brigades (except 82nd GA which has seven), an air-defence brigade, an artillery brigade, an aviation brigade, a special warfare brigade, and two or three support brigades, possessing fifty to sixty thousand personnel in total. The common framework across all thirteen GAs allow for flexible attachments and tasking of subordinate units depending on need, facilitating tailored and proportional responses to a variety of contingencies from border skirmishes to artillery exchanges to full blown war. As the largest manoeuvre formation of the PLAGF and in line with the PLA's evolution into a more deployable and expeditionary force, the GA's organic elements such as signals, recce, and EW have been reinforced with assets previously kept at higher echelons giving it enhanced independent operating and sustainment capability. GAs are the prime candidate for deployment abroad if PRC armed assistance is ever requested as they have abundant teeth while possessing enough of a tail to avoid being reliant on local support which cannot be assumed sufficient or even available at all times. I can plausibly see three GAs deployed to the DPRK on short notice without much difficulty with another three held in reserve across the border.
BrigadesThe PLAGF has pivoted almost completely to combined-arms brigades and combined-arms battalions. Manoeuvre divisions and regiments have all been abolished except in the Xinjiang Military District where the poor infrastructure and sparseness of the region suits the retainment of divisions, and the Beijing Guard Area which is tasked with protecting the leadership and is not very important. A combined-arms brigade has four combined-arms battalions, a recce battalion, an artillery battalion, an air-defence battalion, a support battalion, and a sustainment battalion. It resembles a smaller version of its superior GAs and a larger version of its subordinate battalions. This modular matryoshka-like structure brings about new capabilities but also new challenges for brigade commanders. While a brigade is normally a tactical level asset, as the nature of warfare has evolved, the operational level of war has been pushed further and further down. In some cases, the brigade echelon is the operational level as the conflict could well be over by the time corps or army echelons respond. The pivot to modular combined-arms brigades is an acknowledge of this trend and the structuring of manoeuvre brigades to resemble a small GA streamlines their employment as operational level assets among other benefits. As a result, brigade leadership now have to be familiar with the employment of his unit both operationally and tactically and everywhere in between.
In addition to manoeuvre brigades, a large part of the PLAGF's combat potential comes from specialised brigades. The most prominent and integral to normal operations is the artillery brigade with one allocated to every GA and two independent. A typical artillery brigade has four or five tube battalions and one or two LR-MLRS battalions. They are responsible for coordination of massed fires against targets both requested by line units and scouted organically as well as those assigned from above. Aviation brigades play an increasingly important role but their current influence is constrained by the limited number of helicopters. Two aviation brigades have been formed into aerial assault brigades and it is believed that all GAs will eventually get the same treatment pending helicopter fleet expansion. Special warfare brigades provide elite infantry capability in situations where mechanised infantry is unsuited. These include prolonged reconnaissance in hostile territory, warfare in terrain inaccessible to vehicles, MOUT, counter-terrorism, and operations requiring special insertion such as swimming, airdrop, powered parachuting, vertical insertion, etc. Air-defence brigades provide mobile hard-kill protection as well as EW capabilities relevant to anti-air. Each missile battalion in the brigade is capable of providing an air-defence umbrella of radius 20-70km depending on the SAM system equipped. There is sometimes also a towed AAA battalion to provide point defence. The remaining support brigades, some of which are organic to GAs while others are theatre command subordinates, provide EW, signals, strategic ISR, engineering, repair, chemical-defence, medical, and logistics support.
BattalionsLine battalions in the PLAGF were transformed from homogeneous battalions into combined-arms battalions. The former were either tank or infantry. They had limited organic sustainment capabilities and were typically issued simple fire and manoeuvre orders. Combined-arms battalions, by comparison, comprise over a dozen specialisations including infantry, tank/assault gun, artillery, anti-tank, anti-air, recce, signals, sapper, field repairs, chemical-defence, and medical among others, and are twice the size of old line battalions. A typical tracked combined-arms battalion has two tank companies, two mechanised infantry companies, a firepower company with indirect fires and AT, and a support and sustainment company. The wheeled and motorised battalions are similarly organised with some differences in vehicle type distribution. They are designed to give commanders the ability to seize initiatives and hold objectives without needing to wait for higher-echelon support and are typically given objectives and missions instead of simple orders. The universal conversion from homogeneous battalions to combined-arms battalions have made battalions the smallest and most manoeuvrable fighting element in the PLA capable of sustained independent operations.
Much has been written on the effects of the transformation to combined-arms battalions on the rank and file, and literature on the topic is abundant. One of the most common remarks regarding the new battalions is the drastic increase in number of technical specialisations. The addition of these specialisations and capabilities to the battalion has necessitated the establishment of a battalion staff to advise and assist the CO who previously only had his deputy and political officer for support. The staff consists of a chief of staff and four functional positions; operations, fires, recce, and combat service support. The latest reforms allow distinguished NCOs to receive training and education previously reserved for officers. These newly-qualified NCOs have begun filling functional positions in battalion staffs, becoming the first staff NCOs in PLA history. The recce specialist is not only a staff member but an active participant in the field and regularly accompanies recce detachments on missions. The fires specialist, in addition to his usual role of organising battalion fires, is often responsible for coordinating with aviation assets since he has the best understanding of where to apply aerial firepower. On top of a staff, the battalion HQ has also been given a chief of NCOs who is in charge of coordinating the battalion's day-to-day life and ensuring the leadership is aware of the situation with the rank and file.
Not only have support assets been made organic to the battalion but control has also been pushed down to line units. For example, to request field repairs, line units previously had to go through the company, battalion, regiment/brigade, and sustainment contingent HQs before reaching the field repair detachment to relay their whereabouts and the nature of the damage. Line units now have direct contact with field repair detachments and can bypass all other echelons, saving vast amounts of time. Similarly, medical teams now accompany line units during an assault enabling them to provide medical care to wounded immediately. However, this necessitates greater tactical proficiency on part of the medical personnel as they no longer reside in the rear only to arrive on scene after the battle is over or has moved on. They are now required to know the kill radii of various munitions, drive AFVs (armoured ambulance), operate information terminals, understand manoeuvre instructions, operate self-defence weaponry, use different types of cover, etc. The experiences of battalion personnel after the reforms reflect the experience of the PLA as a whole; higher competencies are required from everyone.
EquipmentThe PLA's new hardware in the air and naval domains have attracted the lion's share of public attention. However, the ground forces have also been actively modernising. The first examples of modern equipment departing from Stalinist-era designs began appearing in the PLA during the 1980s, some having started development in the preceding decade while others were imported from the newly-accessible West. Examples include the first universal chassis SPG, first MBT with a computerised FCS on a non-T-54 chassis, and the TPQ-37 counter-battery radar. However, these pieces of equipment were expensive for the cash-strapped China of the 1980s and procurement numbers were nowhere near enough to equip the entire PLAGF. Only a small number of these systems were procured for high-priority units. Both that generation and the preceding Stalinist generation of equipment are currently being retired.
An intermediate generation of equipment appeared in the 90s and 00s and forms the bulk of the PLAGF inventory. These include the ZTZ96/A, ZTZ99, PLZ05, PLC09, PLL05, HQ7A/B, PGZ04A, ZSL92, PHZ89, AFT09-carrier, and ZTS63A among others. They are typically characterised by tech inferiority in terms of individual subsystems performance but a decent overall performance. Through careful systems engineering involving balancing design requirements, keeping doctrine in mind, and procuring of meaningful numbers, these systems are generally able to fight on comparable terms with contemporaries as part of a combined-arms force. However, there are distinct shortcomings to these systems largely due to limited budget or limited tech base at the time of development. For example, the ZTZ96/A and ZTZ99 do not have an integrated powerpack and engine/transmission changes take many hours; the ZSL92 is not particularly well-protected and its carrying potential is constrained by its small size; the AFT09 requires LOS to engage its targets putting it at high risk of counterfire; and the PLZ05 makes inefficient use of hull volume and thus only carries 30 rounds while the K9 carries 48 rounds and the PzH 2000, 60.
The next generation, which comprises the majority of current procurement, is an evolution of the intermediate generation that addresses many of their shortcomings and are generally competitive with global counterparts. These include the ZTZ99A, ZTZ96B, ZBD04/A/B, ZBL08, CSK141, PHL03/A, PLZ07/A, PLZ05B, PLZ10, ZBD05, PGZ09, HQ16A/B, etc. A large amount of information technologies have been incorporated into this generation and they can be considered the PLA's first foray into networked warfare. Procurement of these systems continue but first few examples of the next generation are beginning to supplant them in production.
The new generation's poster child is ZTQ15 but also includes the AFT10, "625" AAA, PLC161, PLC171, PLC181, PHL191, new 8x8 family, and arguably the PHZ11, PHL11, HQ17/A, and CSK181. This generation is characterised by a very high degree of modularity, informationisation, automation, and limited relation to Cold War designs. Certain Cold War elements persist such as the L7 105mm, 2A18 122mm, 122mm MLRS, and the 9K330 Tor configuration but overall the new generation can be considered distinct from Cold War systems. Future members of this generation will include the next-gen IFV and next-gen tracked SPG. It is unclear whether the next-gen MBT will be part of this generation or the one thereafter, it depends on how radical the technology employed is and how long it takes those technologies to become practical.
In addition to ground systems, the PLAGF is expanding procurement of helicopters. Currently, the PLAGF has a helicopter shortage especially in the multipurpose 10t weight class but with the introduction of the Z-20, this issue will see some mitigation throughout the next two decades. The current helicopter fleet numbers just over 1000 and minimum requirements for the entire PLA is likely at least double if not triple that. The Z-10 provides an initial critical mass of attack helicopters but it has been confirmed by industry and PLA sources that a heavier follow-up is in the works. It is hinted that the new heavy attack helicopter benefits immensely from the Z-20's powertrain and powerplant and may resemble the Huey-to-Cobra transformation. In addition to Z-20, the Z-8G and Z-8L provide supplementary heavy-lift capability transporting ATVs, buggies, tankettes, artillery pieces, etc., and are important components of heliborne assault forces, a unit type that the PLA will likely expand as helicopter numbers continue to rise.
Unmanned systems were adopted beginning in the mid 90s and are increasingly ubiquitous. Lightweight drones like the DJI Mavic, Harwar H16-V12, and CH-902 are hand-launched and man-portable and are thus given to infantry for recce and light air-support. Larger BZK008s and JWP02s fly missions up to 100km away for brigade recce and arty FO while even larger and faster drones like the SX500 provide targeting information up to 300km away for VLR-MLRS like the PHL191. UGVs recently began equipping combat units possibly in a testing and evaluation capacity. The decade leading up to 2020 saw multiple PLA-hosted UGV competitions with both state institutes and civilian companies participating during which multiple models earned the PLA's confidence.
Individual gear is also an area where the PLA has begun modernising albeit not really pushing boundaries. The individual soldier's kit that debuted in the 2019 October Parade began development as part of Project 1224 and is known to consist of new small arms, fatigues, camouflage, body armour, helmet, backpack, and information systems including a tactical display eyepiece and personal IFF system, among others. Relegated to the backburner for decades, individual gear has recently become a priority as funding for the PLA has increased in line with national wealth. However, the PLA remains conservative with design and the kit doesn't appear to feature anything that hasn't already been tried and tested globally. Introduction of the new kit began in late 2019 and the entire process of reequipping two million servicemen is planned to take three years to complete.
InformationA large part of the organisational reforms have been enabled by new information systems including vehicles and terminals supporting the Integrated C4I Complex (ICC) that began development in early 2004 and was first introduced to the PLA across all branches in 2010. The successful development of the ICC was recognised with the State Award for Scientific and Technological Progress Special Class, an award typically given to one to three projects of great significance to the country every year. Other projects that have been given the same award include the DF-31, J-10, and KJ-2000. The ICC unified the hundreds of disparate C4ISTAR systems developed by different branches and departments of the PLA in the twenty years leading up to 2010 and has arguably contributed more to increasing PLA combat effectiveness than any other system in recent memory.
Within most combined-arms brigades, C4ISTAR networks link every vehicle and select infantry such as FO and recce together into a singular battlefield map accessible to all terminals. This allows all vehicles to constantly be aware of friendly positions and identified enemy positions as well as the status of all nodes including their health, munitions count, fuel load, current orders, etc. The commander is able to seamlessly take in the battlefield picture including recommendations from his staff and orders from above, and issue complex orders with a keyboard, a process much more efficient and accurate than traditional voice radio. Some brigades have also compiled databases of the performance parameters of their systems and personnel in a variety of environments and situations. This helps units to construct more realistic training scenarios, make fairer calls during confrontation exercises, and find the most effective methods of doing things supported by empirical data.
If the brigade is subject to electronic attack, standard operating modes should be able to sidestep the disruption by frequency hopping or other signal processing magic. If the attack is especially sophisticated or powerful, friendly EW assets both organic and higher-echelon can respond in the EM spectrum or use support measures to locate the source of the disruption and task fires with its destruction. Failing that, the network has the option to transmit simpler and more powerful packets that are difficult to obfuscate completely, up to and including Morse code. Wired communications can also be used between nearby stationary elements. As a last resort, signal flags are carried aboard every fighting vehicle in the brigade.
FiresHailed as the god of war, artillery systems have been given priority development and procurement by the PLA since their founding, the last twenty years being no exception. The PLA operates tube and rocket artillery of various calibres, both guided and unguided. Tube artillery mostly has three echelons; battalion, brigade, and corps. Battalion tubes are self-propelled vehicles armed with the 2A80, a gun-mortar system that can perform well over a wide range of elevation angles. They began entering service en masse in the mid-00s. Effective range with conventional munitions is <15km, about the maximum expected for battalion-organic recce and FO. Brigade tube fires is provided by 2A18s with a max effective range of <25km. They are mounted on a variety of platforms, most of which are self-propelled but some brigades still operate towed systems. Corps tube fires is provided either by 152mm or 155mm L52 guns developed on the basis of Gerald Bull's 155mm L45s. L52s have a range of 38km firing base-bleed rounds with tight dispersion and low cost, traits desirable for the voluminous round consumptions that characterise HIC. Larger calibres including 203mm were tested but abandoned as the PLA struggled to find a use for them with the introduction of large-calibre MLRS.
The bulk of tactical fires is provided by thousands of 120mm gun-mortars organic to battalions and 122mm guns organic to manoeuvre brigades; the calibres chosen for their good balance of firepower, cost, and handleability. 120mm systems include the PLL05 and PLZ10 while 122mm systems include the tracked PLZ07/A/B and PLZ89, 8x8 PLL09, truck-based PLC09, PLC161, PLC171, and the towed PL96. 152mm and 155mm guns provide corps fires although the former are increasingly rare and should be entirely gone within a couple years. The PLA's adoption of the 155mm calibre was motivated primarily by the range offered by the L45 and subsequent L52 tubes which made it possible for former div arty and corps arty to support a large number of subordinate manoeuvring units at once. Although the 155mm is capable of firing ERFB and rocket-assisted rounds with ranges exceeding 50km, the PLA chooses not to as the dispersion of those rounds is poor. Standard or base-bleed rounds comprise the bulk of PLA massed-fires expenditure. Current systems in service include the PLZ05/A, PLC181, and a few PLZ45s in the PLA Armour Academy.
Rocket artillery primarily come in 122mm and 300mm with limited numbers of 107mm and 370mm. 122mm is mostly organic to brigades and have a maximum range of 40km. 300mm belonged to dedicated LR-MLRS brigades until they were disbanded during the reforms and folded into artillery brigades which were given expanded ISTAR capabilities allowing them to service the 150-180km range of the PHL03s. The 370mm PHL191 with an estimated range of more than 300km and its requisite ISTAR assets are entering service beginning with the 72nd GA's artillery brigade. Large-calibre rocket artillery sees the most PLAGF use of precision munitions and live-fire footage of Beidou-guided and bunker-busting rounds from PHL03s are very common.
For the newer systems, the entire gun or tube-laying process is automated and all relevant data is digitally communicated and processed including firing orders, positions, atmospheric data, radar-captured trajectory parameters, and target status after each salvo. The time from FO requesting a fire mission or CBR detecting enemy rounds to guns firing is typically less than a minute for guns already on standby. For truck-based SPGs, the time from first receiving firing orders while on the march to completion of the firing mission and being on the march again is less than five minutes. The time required for SPGs built on AFV chasses that don't require adjustment of the suspension system and lowering/raising of bracing spades is even less. For the entire duration of the mission, the crew only needs to park the vehicle and load the gun as everything else is automated.
Dedicated anti-tank systems have been since the 1950s and continue to be part of artillery units in the PLA. At the battalion echelon, the AFT11 has just entered service so most battalions still use AFT07s and PF98s. At the brigade echelon, AFT10s have proliferated to a very healthy degree with lower-priority units still operating AFT09s. The AFT10 is an optical fibre-guided NLOS optional man-in-the-loop or fire & forget heavy missile with a 10km range suitable for anti-armour, anti-vehicle and anti-fortification duties, and is also capable of engaging slow low-flying targets. The missile is entirely fibre-guided with no radio-guided portion of flight thus rendering it almost impossible to jam, a capability the PLA considers crucial in a war against opponents with advanced EW systems such as the US and to a lesser degree, the ROK. Gun-based anti-tank systems have been entirely withdrawn from service since 2019.
Direct-FireThe PLAGF direct-fire assault fleet in non-amphibious units totals roughly 4850 vehicles. ZTZ59/79s amount to roughly 500, ZTZ88A/Bs around 350, ZTZ96s around 800, ZTZ96As around 1050, ZTZ99s and 99As both around 500, ZTQ15s around 150, and ZLT11s around 1000. Everything older than ZTZ96A are either obsolete or so worn down from intensive training that they all need to be retired within a decade. The ZTZ59/79s will be the first to go, likely within a couple of years. Their numbers have already fallen drastically in the past three years from ~2500 in early 2017 to roughly 500 today. ZTZ88s will follow shortly as quite a few of them are already serving as placeholders and not tanks. ZTZ96s have been run hard for over twenty years and many vehicles are quite worn, they will likely be replaced by ZTZ96Bs and ZTZ99As. ZTZ96A and ZTZ99 are relatively new, their FCS are fully computerised and compatible with informationisation upgrades; their replacements can wait a while. ZTZ99A and ZTQ15 are currently in production and will remain so for the immediate future.
ZTZ96Bs were previously thought to be unnecessary but the intense wear on ZTZ96s, exacerbated by the latest reforms, means over 1400 tanks need replacing in the immediate future. Furthermore, the restructuring of the Xinjiang divisions strongly suggests there will be an expansion in the tank fleet by 100-400 vehicles, making the actual number of new tanks needed 1500-1800. Having them all be ZTZ99As and ZTQ15s is financially untenable. The ZTZ96Bs will thus play a big role in satisfying this demand. ZTQ15s will populate at least two brigades but more may follow. The Marines also operate the ZTQ15 and will probably expand their fleet as well. ZLT11 and its replacement are being procured to equip the high-mobility 8x8 brigades. Another 350-450 8x8 assault guns are needed to fill the existing ORBAT with more needed for the Marines and possibly also non-manoeuvre units such as border defence and Beijing Guards.
Case Study: ZTQ15The ZTQ15 is arguably the most recognisable component of the PLAGF's equipment modernisation; a great many people who know practically nothing about the PLA or China as a whole nevertheless know the PLA has a new light tank. The ZTQ15 is thus a good case study to illustrate the direction of the PLA's hardware upgrades. It was tailored for operations in hostile environments such as altitudes over 4500m above sea level and soft muddy terrain. Its V8 engine with a bore diameter of 132mm, stroke length of 145mm, and maximum RPM of 2600, outputs 660kW of maximum continuous power, giving the 33t vehicle a PWR of 20kW/t. To overcome the thin air of the Plateau, the engine is equipped with a two-stage turbocharger that minimises power loss. It is also equipped with a warmer to facilitate quick ignition in extremely cold weather. The engine is coupled to a hydro-mechanical automatic transmission together as a powerpack that can be swapped out within half an hour. The suspension is a semi-active torsion bar system sporting electronically controlled viscous dampers with adjustable orifices that are narrowed or widened in real time depending on sensor readings, providing a smoother ride and reducing crew fatigue, important in the oxygen-sparse atmosphere. If the system breaks down, it simply becomes a passive viscous damper that still provides decent ride quality.
Due to its unique operating environment of highly adverse and isolated terrain where resupply and replacements have great difficulty reaching, the ZTQ15 is designed with multipurpose functionality to get as much bang for the buck as possible. Its FCS is integrated with both direct and indirect fire modes, allowing ZTQ15s to stand in for howitzers if needed. This is achieved by equipping the vehicle with high-precision inertial measurement units and Beidou receivers connected via CAN bus to a central computer. This allows its position and orientation in space to be precisely known so that the battalion or brigade fires director can construct an accurate spatial representation of shooters and targets in 3D and accurately plan indirect fires. Another feature enabled by constant position and orientation awareness is that a ZTQ15 can hand over prosecution of a target to another ZTQ15 in the network if it's unable to prosecute the target itself due to, say, a damaged gun or lack of ammo; essentially remote-controlling someone else's gun to shoot whatever it's looking at even if the target is obscured to the shooter vehicle. This is possible because every vehicle in the network knows its position and orientation relative to everyone else, and if one vehicle knows the position of the target in a 3D space, everyone does.
Many of ZTQ15's features such as FCS automation, digital information displays, high-power-density diesel engine, and networked fleet-based combat lay the foundations for the PLA's next-gen MBT. Current in-service FCS already automate target range-finding, tracking, and leading. This leaves the gunner responsible for target acquisition, firing, and damage assessment. When not engaging a target, the gunner is also responsible for scanning the highest-threat sector where the turret is pointed, usually frontal. Further refinement of automation technologies in the next ten years could mean the gunner only has to spot or confirm an enemy and the FCS will do the rest. The commander's communication and scanning functions have also been automated to a large degree. Recent developments in wearable displays and augmented reality technology promises even greater improvements in this field for both the gunner and commander. Drivers too have an increasingly easy time as old unassisted tillers turned into steering wheels while transmissions became smoother then fully automatic. Vehicle parameters that required driver attention have gradually come under the stewardship of electronic control units, freeing up drivers to pay greater attention to their surroundings.
It is thus being seriously considered to merge the gunner and commander into one position and expand the driver's role to include communications and forward sector scanning for the next-gen MBT. The resulting two-man crew can each have an 80cm-wide workspace and be protected by a healthy amount of side armour without the vehicle exceeding 3.5m overall width or be any heavier than existing MBTs. The unmanned turret can be lightly armoured, cutting turret weight by more than ten tonnes which can then be devoted to more armour for the crew. More refined automation and seamless integration and presentation of imagery and data from onboard and offboard sensors could allow the next-gen MBT to have situational awareness superior to today's tanks in spite of a reduction in crew size. The ZTQ15's extensive use of network systems and new information terminals should give Chinese tank designers hard data and operational experience that will help them identify promising approaches for the next-gen MBT. However, successful development of informationisation and automation to a degree sufficient for a two-man crew in a reasonable timeframe is not guaranteed and it's very possible that the next-gen MBT will retain a three-man crew. Regardless, the ZTQ15 is a good indicator of the direction the PLA is taking with their new equipment.
Sep/30/2020 wrap-up: \\ War in Karabakh-Artsakh \\ world media reports details on Syrian mercenaries in Azerbaijan \\ death toll rises on both sides; Armenian footage; outpost stormed; "we destroyed as many armr. vehicles as we did during entire 90s war" \\ world leaders respond \\ donations arrive
what did the world media write yesterday?Multiple international outlets are now reporting Azerbaijan's recruitment of Syrian mercenaries.
Mercenary reveals recruitment details to BBC Arabic, cites Armenpress: Syrian mercenary Abdullah (nickname) contacted the outlet while in Azerbaijan. Abdullah says they were promised a $2,000/mo salary to guard important facilities but they were duped into the war in Azerbaijan.
Their phones and clothes were confiscated to conceal identifies, but he got the phone back to speak with the family in northern Syria. (Note, Azerbaijan had banned foreign journalists
Their route was: Syria -- Ayntap, Turkey -- Istanbul, Turkey -- Azerbaijan via Azeri airlines -- straight to frontlines, where they were given Azeri uniforms and Kalashnikovs. This was before the war began.
They learned about being in the front lines after Armenian shells fell near their vehicles. When the fights began, a young mercenary broke down in tears and wanted to return, but a bomb fell, killing 4 mercenaries and wounding 3. As of writing that message, Abdullah says their group sustained 11 losses and 17 injuries.
The Daily Beast's source in Syria has confirmed that a group of Syrian mercenaries was deployed to Azerbaijan with the help of Turkey. It includes member(s) of ISIS.
“500 Hamza Brigade fighters were flown last Tuesday from Turkey to the Azeri airbase at Sumqayit", according to a source within the Syrian National Army (SNA) rebel outfit. “Two days later, on Thursday, another 500 fighters from the Sultan Murad brigades rebel faction were similarly flown out to Azerbaijan.”
These claims were echoed by the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
The Hamza and Sultan Murad brigades are known for close tied to Turkey. Sayf Balud, commander of the Hamza brigades, was an ISIS commander.
NATO's former European commander James Stavridis wrote an article about the conflict, in which he recalled several prior confrontations between AM and AZ. At the time, his assessment was that Armenians had an advantage and the war would end in their victory had it became widespread.
"Armenians Fear Turkey Is Back to Finish Off the Genocide"
Artsakh MFA Mayilyan: We fight not only with Azerbaijan but also with Turkey and thousands of its mercenaries from the Middle East. The attackers shelled an Armenian town of Vardenis. This is the continuation of the Turkish genocide against Armenians. The genocide, that the U.S. Congress officially recognized in a resolution last year, affirming that Turkey exterminated 1.5 million Armenians.
Political expert: The news about Turkish-backed mercenaries in Azerbaijan was initially presented by one Arab outlet, but since then it has seen a wider circulation in the Arab news world.
Syrian newspaper Jesr Press posted a photo allegedly showing the dead body of a Syrian mercenary in Azerbaijan. He was from the city Homs. "Mercenaries have reported of over 30 deaths," writes the outlet.
Pro-Kremlin Russian-Armenian businessman Ruben Vardanyan to Russian media: If Russia doesn't keep a check on Turkey and loses Armenia, it will lose the entire northern Caucasus. Part of the Russian political elite has an illusion that this is an AM-AZ conflict and the two
The Russian-language version of Deutsche Welle covered the topic. When the war resumed, the Azeri and Armenian community leaders in Moscow had a chat with Russian authorities to prevent another July-style escalation between the two communities in Moscow.
Russian opposition leader Navalny's channel [a co-host]: I hear pro-Azeris saying Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of AZ and they have the right to take it back. Occupation is bad, but it's not just about land. It's also about people who live there.
It's best to let someone "occupy your land" for a while before you get territories back through negotiations, rather than start a war in an area packed with civilians.
Armenia should not expect the international community to be the one to recognize Karabakh first, because that would start a chain reaction. Any recognition would happen after negotiations with Azerbaijan.
Serbia and Kosovo are currently negotiating to swap lands where each other's ethnic residents live.
Karabakh is a huge failure for Russia. Russia claimed the former USSR territories are "it's zone of influence" but failed to resolve the conflicts on these territories.
[Host shows a Twitter poll among 7.4k participants. 65% sided with Armenia, 7% Azerbaijan, 28% neither.]
The war is beneficial for Azerbaijan because it's a dictatorship. The govt wants a small victory to boost morale. It was a long time coming from Azerbaijan.
[Turkey becomes the main theme. He criticizes Erdogan's militaristic actions in the region.]
There was a joint Turkish-Azeri military-offense drill weeks earlier. The war began because Erdogan promised to help Azerbaijan. Many people in Turkey and Azerbaijan don't understand that this conflict has no military solution, but they will...
Aliyev was asked during the Munich meeting (between Pashinyan and Aliyev) about how he would guarantee security for ethnic Armenians if they became part of Armenia, and his response was, "well, mhmm we're ready to accept everyone, we're a cool country that respects all minorities and rights".... one minute, Azerbaijan is a dictatorship, and one of the worst ones. They can't even give rights to ethnic Azeris.
My opinion is, for as long as Azerbaijan is a dictatorship, it cannot guarantee anyone's rights.
Russian govt-run talk show "Time Will Tell" had analysts to discuss the latest events.
Russian Guest 1: Vardenis was attacked. CSTO can respond because Armenia is part of it.
Russian Host: OK let's figure it out. Let's ask Armenia. [calls Artsrun Hovhannisyan]
Russian Host to Artsrun: do you have proof that a drone fell on Armenian territory, if yes, how do you know it was intentional?
Artsrun: I published a video from the scene. Azerbaijan made an announcement prior to the attack to create a pretense. They lied about us shelling their village after which they "promised to respond". Then they used the drone on Vardenis. It wasn't an accident because they attacked several times.
Azeri Host: even if those bombs fell on Armenia territory, CSTO shouldn't intervene because similar bombs fell on Azeri territory during these 30 years of occupation. It wasn't done to purposely attack Armenian territory. Azerbaijan would never do that.
Armenian Guest: "would never do that"?
Azeri Guest: the anti-Russian Pashinyan, who turned away from Russia... [gets interrupted]
Armenian Guest: that's propaganda. Give me one example statement made by Prime Minister Pashinyan showing he's anti-Russian.
Azeri Guest: Pashinyan chose the EU-Atlanic route.
Armenian Guest: that's demagogy...
[The theme later becomes the criticism of Turkey.]
about the alleged loss of 5 villagesAzerbaijan claimed to have captured 5 villages during offensives in the south. They gave specific village names. Some of the villages, however, were already under Azeri occupation at the time of war's resumption, as noted by a Redditor.
Another village, which Azeris claimed to have captured, was researched by Redditors by analyzing combat footage, and concluded that Azerbaijan's claim over that village is false. Armenian soldiers are around that location.
September 30 / what happened last night?The European Court for Human Rights has accepted Armenia's petition and instructed both countries not to target civilians.
Ethnic Armenians in Georgia, who didn't have Armenian passport, were not allowed to cross the border into Armenia with their cars loaded with aid. As a sign of protest, they blocked Turkish trucks from entering Georgia. The police came to open the road.
Georgia never liked allowing its territory to be used as a transit of Russian weapons. As a result, Armenia has been using the Iran corridor. Today, Georgia also prohibited Azerbaijan from - presumably using the land - to transport military equipment. It's a "balanced" approach.
Businessman George Baghumyan, the founder of PMA Venture Capital, has donated $1m to Armenian people.
Infrastructure repairs were conducted in Artsakh. The electric network was repaired. They're working on restoring gas for everyone. The damage in settlements is being assessed.
Armenian Monte Melkonyan Cyber Army hacked into Azeri govt email and claims they have proof that the Azeri govt is directly controlling numerous media outlets. (you didn't need to hack to know that)
Azeri drone was shot over Artsakh air last night.
Pashinyan: international headlines show a serious misunderstanding. This is not a territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The issue is about the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to self-determination.
Bars Media's YouTube channel is alive again, after 2 years of silence. They uploaded a video showing the destruction of multiple Azeri drones and sirens in capital Stepanakert:
Video of an Armenian tank moving under enemy fire, recorded from inside. Also, soldiers shooting drones and operating artillery while Azeris hit their positions. Fierce battles with close calls.
The remnants of an Azeri small plane shot by Armenians earlier.
The UN Security Council's 15-member states have urged both sides to cease fire.
3:09 am: Azeri drone is targeting central Stepanakert.
3:45 am: Armenians shoot an Azeri drone over Stepanakert. Later, they shoot the second. Azerbaijan later reported shooting 2 Armenian tanks with Israeli drones.
Photos of destroyed drones: https://t.me/infocomm/21416
https://t.me/reartsakh/3733 , https://t.me/infocomm/21415
Artsakh HR Ombudsman: Azerbaijan targeted civilians with drones shortly after the UN Security Council and European Court for Human Rights urged for a ceasefire.
105 years ago today, during the 1915 genocide, Turkish forces attacked the Armenian Urha defense forces but had to retreat after losing 400 soldiers.
Lernik LOL... leave Lernik alone. As we learned yesterday, General Lernik Babayan is alive. Turkish and Azeri media outlets released documentaries with a presentation of how they killed Lernik and 550 other Armenians. Armenian media made a mocking video in response.
"They were really cheered up in the past 2 days about the news of my and my group's death. We'll probably meet them somewhere on their territory soon," said Lernik.
September 30 / morning arrives8:05 army: there is an artillery exchange across the whole border right now.
8:35: Army posted a video showing bodies and documents belonging to multiple Azeri special-operations forces. At least one of them was a Senior Lieutenant.
Video (graphic, semi-blurred) : https://youtu.be/37cReTIiE5Y
8:42 army: the volume and momentum of this war is unprecedented, and so is the use of military components. This is similar to 5th generation warfare. I can only say today that the artillery and UAVs are working closer together. We'll give an analysis after our victory.
9:06 Artsakh president: we won't ask for a ceasefire. We will force them into it.
9:30: soldiers sent a compilation video from the front line, telling mothers and the public to be courageous and unbreakable.
9:32: Nikol Pashinyan's son has been deployed in Artsakh as a reservist. He only recently returned from the mandatory service. His mother describes the moment she sent him:
13:09: Robert Kocharyan and his son "are in Artsakh right now".
9:43: Azeri govt claims to have destroyed an Armenian S-300 unit which was allegedly "deployed in Shushi to aid with retaking of Mataghis positions".
RT reporter: It is unclear why an S-300 complex would be near the front lines, considering the variants in Armenia’s arsenal have a range of 40km to 90km+.
18:18: there is a fake photo circulating on the internet showing a destroyed Armenian S-300. "It's a photo from a 2016 incident in Astrakhan, Russia."
https://t.me/reartsakh/3781 , https://twitter.com/MuradGazdiev/status/1311177312956710914?s=20
9:47 army: Azeris tried to take positions in north and north-east but completely failed. They have human and equipment losses. Then they began targeting the civilian population.
9:37: Armenian residents gathered tons of aid for Artsakh civilians. Water, food, toilet paper, etc. The Emergency Ministry will ship them soon.
10:06 Pashinyan to Russian outlet: we're considering the official recognition of Artsakh and a military alliance agreement with them.
16:03 Azeri ambassador to RU: Artsakh's recognition will burn all the bridges.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029566.html , https://t.me/infocomm/21429 , https://factor.am/288998.html
10:10 Artsakh govt: Azeris had some success only during the first several hours of offenses on Sep-27. Beginning the morning of 28th, we retook most positions and have since kept them under our control, with some advancement. We're successfully repelling their attacks.
10:17 Artsakh govt: there are no major infrastructure problems in Artsakh right now. There are local problems near the border.
10:23 army: Azeris are active in the north. Artillery and UAVs are being used.
10:42 Pashinyan to various world media: Armenia is not considering an introduction of peacekeepers in Artsakh... We don't need the Russian military base's aid right now, but we have all the legal grounds to request it... We must use everything we have to defend ourselves...
Turkey is destabilizing the region. They brought mercenaries, drones, and F-16. There could be a bigger war...
Hopefully, Azeri leadership will understand that this conflict cannot be resolved with force after we successfully repelled their attacks and inflicted heavy damage on them... Our goal is to establish long-term peace. We don't want this to repeat every 3 years, but we won't act against our interests.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029570.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029574.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029574.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029602.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/197239
11:13 army: Azeris are currently doing an irregular fire with long-range missiles. Turkish drones are also used.
12:42 army: it is fake news that Azerbaijan destroyed a bunker with high-ranking Armenian officers in Artsakh. (is Lernik becoming the Armenian Sam Hyde?)
13:18 army: we conducted punitive strikes. Azeris lost a TOS-1A heavy artillery system, numerous soldiers, equipment.
12:21 the Church has asked its global branches to organize a fundraiser for All-Armenia Fund. They will provide aid to Artsakh residents.
12:28: the army won't confirm or deny the rumors about Armenians capturing lands near Getashen (Çaykənd), north of Mt. Murov. There is an official policy of not going into such specifics.
12:45 Armenian MFA condemned the provocative actions by Turkish jets near the borders "that began on Sep-29".
14:04 army: The Azeri denial that Turkish jet was used against our Su-25 yesterday is laughable. They say "we don't have F-16 in our arsenal"... We know what they have in their arsenal. Their jet arsenal couldn't do the job so they had to bring the Turkish. They stayed in Azerbaijan after the August drills. There is a radio-technical proof of Turkish jets' involvement.
12:34: president Sarkissian sent letters to various Arab leaders, including Saudis, about the conflict and had a chat with the Emir of Qatar and Egyp's al Sisi.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029593.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029606.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029644.html
12:50*: fake news was circulated about Georgian buildings allegedly being lit in Azeri flags. The photo was from May.
12:56: yesterday the ECHR approved Armenia's emergency petition to demand an end to civilian targeting. This is the 3rd time in history that the court approves an emergency measure submitted by a country.
(Civilians have died on both sides. Several Armenian civilians were killed in various locations. In turn, Azerbaijan reported from Naftalan (north), claiming that an Armenian bomb killed several members of a family.)
Upon receiving the Armenian petition, the ECHR court didn't find it necessary to contact the other side (Azerbaijan) for info gathering because enough evidence was provided by Armenia. Armenia will submit new documents about Azerbaijan's intentional targeting of Armenian civilians.
Armenia's representative says if Azerbaijan violates this court order, they'll break the European 34th convention and "face serious problems as it happened in the past few years".
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029596.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029604.html
19:51: Artsakh Ombudsman published the names of 7 civilians who died since Sep-27.
14:09 Artsakh president: our army continues to confidently do the mission and thwart enemy attacks in all directions.
14:24 army: battles took place in north-east and south where Turkish F-16 were used again. As of right now, there are battles across the whole border. We have significant successes in some areas. The Azeri human and equipment losses are increasing.
14:49: HayPost will make the delivery of parcels to soldiers free if it's items of basic necessities and hygiene... The army says soldiers currently don't have a shortage of items and any mass donation campaign should be coordinated with them.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029617.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029622.html
14:53: capital Stepanakert's market has re-opened. Tatis are baking bread for soldiers.
16:29: Yerevan's Center district says hundreds of pensioners have asked them to transfer this month's pensions to the soldiers.
14:59: short video of Armenian soldiers using a mortar.
15:00 Artsakh govt: 3 civilians were killed from an Azeri jet fire on the civilian buildings in Martakert. Baku is blatantly violating international laws by targeting civilians.
15:36: the army destroyed several Azeri positions and vehicles, and shared the footage.
15:44: NSS warned residents about an Azeri misinformation campaign with the use of a stolen contact list, in which someone allegedly calls from the front line to tell various "news".
15:46: the union of banks has agreed to give the drafted soldiers and volunteers a loan vacation while they serve.
16:09: GeoProMining miner has donated $105,000 to All-Armenia Fund.
17:17 info expert about journalists: Armenia has invited famous bloggers and journalists, while Azerbaijan has barred the entry of journalists except for those from Turkey, who were made aware of the attack ahead of time and were prepared to report from the scene (blitzkriegwuttenshtaffenneinnein?).
When the Azeri govt blocks journalists and social media, then tells the public they took Fizuli and Martakert but fails to show visual evidence, people begin to realize something isn't right.
We don't have this issue in Armenia because the info -- although sometimes with a delay -- still arrives.
17:35: Armenia's Vardenis was bombed yesterday. The locals made a toast for soldiers and began collecting large quantities of vehicle tires to be used as barricades.
18:01: here is one of the unexploded shells in Vardenis and the marks on the land that was left yesterday.
17:45 Artsakh govt: Azeri MoD account shared a photo/article of Smerch missile to claim it was a [bigger] Tochka-U missile fired by Armenians. We're warning them not to create another false pretense for escalation.
Photo of fake: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029654.html
18:03 Ilham Aliyev addresses Armenian people: // I appeal to the Armenian people, and I want to say that they should not become hostages of the dirty actions of their leadership. Let them hold their government accountable today. Let them not send their children to the Azerbaijani lands. What is the Armenian soldier doing in the lands of Azerbaijan? //
First lady Mehriban visited a military hospital where she couldn't hold her tears.
http://azeridaily.com/politics/58724 , http://azeridaily.com/politics/58725
Ilham Aliyev thanked Turkey for support: On your behalf and on behalf of the entire people of Azerbaijan, I express my deep gratitude to fraternal Turkey, its President, my brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his resolute and fraternal position. Because the very open and tough statements of my dear brother once again show that Azerbaijan is not alone,'
12:45 QP MP Tunyan addresses Azeri people: Azeri public must realize that Turkey has invaded their country without war. There is no de facto independent state of Azerbaijan. It has turned into a Turkish province.
Turkey, with the help of Aliyev administration, uses the resources of that province [Azerbaijan] to achieve geopolitical goals. The sooner the people of Azerbaijan, including national minorities (Lezgins, Talysh, Tatars, etc.) realize this, the better for them. They were forced into this game as disposable pawns.
18:09 army: the opponent has lost SMERCH and URAGAN missile systems, and dozens of other artillery and anti-tank systems in north and south during the day.
Also, 1 TOS-1, 11 tanks, 3 BMP, 6 armored vehicles.
18:25 army releases details about Turkish involvement: Azerbaijan has handed over the air command to Turkish forces. Beginning at 10 am, Turkish F-16 aided the Azeri jets and Bayraktars in the bombing of the civilian population of Hadrut and Martuni. The Turkish E7-T command unit is remotely coordinating it from Erzurum, Turkey.
The Turkish drone command unit is located across the Hadrut, Artsakh borders, and is coordinating the Azeri jet attacks. We're monitoring their activities.
18:35: Turkey wants to change the format of negotiations and adopt the Syrian style, in which Russia and Turkey had agreed to negotiate over northern Syria. Meanwhile, Ilham Aliyev said the war will end "when Armenia withdraws its forces".
https://factor.am/289034.html , https://factor.am/289079.html
18:36: the army released footage showing how several dozen Armenian soldiers storm and capture the trenches while the Armenian artillery bombs nearby areas... Azeri vehicles are seen being destroyed.
Video ⚡ https://youtu.be/Up5VXmVJgpU
Video ⚡ https://m.facebook.com/armenpress/videos/2876426102637756/
19:33 army: we repelled their attacks in north and south. They were using new attack tactics. In the past 24 hours, the opponent has lost 130 soldiers, 200 wounded, 29 tanks and armored vehicles, 3 TOS-1 heavy artillery, 11 UAVs, 1 SMERCH.
920 deaths since Sep-27, also 83 UAVs, 7 helicopters (1 disputed as being the AN plane), 166 armored vehicles, 1 plane, 1 SMERCH.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029676.html , https://factor.am/289129.html , https://factor.am/289187.html
20:04: the Armenian supermarkets began removing items Made in Turkey from their shelves. "Do not enrich the enemy. Do not buy Turkish products."
(might as well read the Calories section too) https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029682.html
20:08 Speaker Mirzoyan: I met the Assyrian community in Arzni. We discussed the centuries-old brotherhood between our people. Glory to all the minority soldiers who're defending the homeland.
20:35 army: beware of spreading fake stories about "unprecedented successes" by our army or the opponent. Misinformation is widespread these days.
21:01: Freeazerbaijan Info outlet reports that Baku's military hospital is full of wounded soldiers and more are being brought every hour. "It's being guarded by security forces. Even the relatives aren't allowed to enter. As a result, there are large crowds gathered in front of the facility's two entrances. People arrived from across Azerbaijan with a hope to learn if their sons are there but the list of patients isn't published. Those who die are buried quickly."
21:48: Artsakh president Harutyunyan's friends (old guys) are also in frontlines. "With the help of others, they shot 1 armored vehicle and captured 3 other".
Video (non-combat): https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029695.html
22:18: army released a video dedicated to pilot Valeriy Danelin (Armenian) whose Su-25 was shot over Armenian territory "while he was returning to airport from duty".
22:02: the army published 23 more names of fallen Armenian soldiers. Around half were conscripts. The official death is >100. The casualties are reported with a delay.
35 more names of Azeri losses were discovered by razm.info outlet which monitors Azeri sources and social media. They alone have so far identified 82 names.
22:29 Artsakh president press briefing: in the past 4 days, we shot almost as many armored vehicles as we did in the entire 1990s Artsakh war. Azerbaijan's first strike was a surprise for us. When the Germans suddenly attacked USSR they almost reached Moscow. For comparison, our battles are on the borders and nothing has changed.
Artsakh president: I'm surprised by the Azerbaijani government's indifference towards the lives of their soldiers. This is barbarism.
Artsakh president: shout-out to several domestic media outlets who were writing paid hit-jobs against me prior to this war, while I was insisting that we must prioritize Artsakh's security over "status". I'll expose the domestic traitors soon. (🍿🍿🍿)
Artsakh president: we have a heroic people and youth who're ready to fight and die. An 18-year-old has already managed to hit 9 armored vehicles and continues his service.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029704.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1029702.html , https://factor.am/289180.html , https://youtu.be/uwwwJ2xT4XY , https://youtu.be/Ie9eDQQgONI
Artsakh govt says $10m in donations have been sent to All-Armenia Fund and bank accounts since Sep-27.
How did the world respond?Armenians gathered around the world in support of Artsakh, chanting "Artsakh is ours". Crowds gathered in front of the AZ embassy in France. They were joined by the Kurdish community members.
France's ex-president Hollane: the war that Azerbaijan launched against Armenia has already caused too much loss of lives. France must work toward a ceasefire.
Emmanuel Macron is concerned with Turkey's militaristic rhetoric and will discuss the war with Russia and the USA. He believes Russia plays a key role in the handling of this conflict.
Russia officially demands the withdrawal of any Syrian "mercenaries and terrorists" from Karabakh. "We've received concerning reports about the transfer of mercenaries from Syria and Lybia."
The head of the Russian Defense Committee urged "third parties" (Turkey) to stay out of conflict. "Intervention won't lead to anything good."
The former president of Georgia Miguel Saakashvili, who has long been pro-Azerbaijan, has sided with Azerbaijan again. The Education Minister Harutyunyan has asked the Yerevan State University to revoke Miguel's honorary doctorate degree "for supporting Azeri aggression."
German MPs Albert W. and T. Mansman: both sides should return to the negotiating table. Civilians in the capital Stepanakert and Armenian territories were bombed. There are deaths. All sides should respect international humanitarian law... The Turkish intervention further destabilizes the situation.
Syrian ambassador Muhammed Abrahim: Syria condemns any attack on Armenian lands.
Syrian President Assad's adviser has accused Turkey of provoking a conflict in Karabakh.
Turkish Bayraktar drones are produced by Kale and Baykar companies. The latter is run by Erdogan's son-in-law, whose last name is "Bayraktar", which is a word in Turkish vocabulary.
The leader of Social Democrats and Greens in PACE has condemned the Turkish involvement. "All military units must withdraw, and ceasefire should be established, and both sides should negotiate."
Netherlands MP Joël Voordewind urged his country to join Macron's efforts "to stop the illegal aggression by Turkey and Azerbaijan against Armenia".
Greek MFA criticized Turkey saying they should refrain from military actions and rhetoric.
Georgia is ready to host Armenia and Azerbaijan for peace talks.
European Council president Charles Micheal is currently in touch with AM and AZ to establish a ceasefire.
The Kardashian family's main topic was the Artsakh war. They raised awareness, shared the flags, and sent prayers. Rob Kardashian urged Armenians to donate to All-Armenia Fund (himnadram.org).
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian: Our international community must stand together against dictatorships like Turkey and Azerbaijan and their acts of war against Armenian civilians in Artsakh.
COVID statsTeachers are still being mass-tested after the school's resumption.
+3,146 tested. +485 infected. +152 healed. 5,102 active. 292,193 tested.
artsThe Creative Armenia cultural fund, co-founded by singer Serj Tankian, has a new program to aid artists who help to raise awareness about the Artsakh Republic culture.
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