Category Ammunition & Ordnance

Sakr 122mm Cargo Rockets & Submunitions in Syria

Recently, Sakr 122mm cargo rockets and their submunitions have been observed within Syria. This family of 122mm rockets is designed for use with the Russian BM-21 multiple rocket launcher (the so-called ‘Grad’, or ‘hail’) and other 122mm systems such as the Chinese Type 81 SPRL and Egyptian RL-21 and RC-21 launch vehicles. These surface-to-surface multiple […]

EF88: Australia’s Next-Generation Assault Rifle

This piece is adapted from an article appearing in Volume 5, Number 1 of the Small Arms Defence Journal. In September 2012, I had the opportunity to visit Lithgow (New South Wales, Australia) at the invitation of Thales Australia in order to conduct a Test and Evaluation (T&E) of their Enhanced F88 Assault Rifle. This […]

9K79 Tochka Tactical Ballistic Missile Launchers in Syria

A 9M79-1 missile being fired in Kazakhstan during exercise Combat Commonwealth 2011. Credit: Grigoriy Bedenko. The 9K79 Tochka (Точка; ‘point’) tactical ballistic missile launcher has been identified in a recent video from Syria, seen below. Whilst the YouTube video misidentifies the system as a ‘Scud’, it is almost certainly a 9K79, also referred to as […]

ZAB-100-105 Incendiary Bombs in Syria

In recent weeks, incendiary weapons have been used with increasing frequency in the Syrian conflict. Aside from ZAB-2.5 incendiary submunitions, and white phosphorus (WP) projectiles, ZAB-100-105 incendiary free-fall bombs have also been observed within Syria. ZAB-100-105 incendiary bomb, as seen by Human Rights Watch in Syria. Note that the bomb casing has been cut open, […]

Likely Evidence of White Phosphorus use in Syria

Whilst many observers and media sources have been mistaking ZAB-2.5 incendiary submunitions for white phosphorus (WP) munitions, it appears that one incident showcasing limited use of WP has gone largely overlooked. On the 13th of November, Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) Merkava Mark IV tanks engaged “Syrian mobile artillery units”, in response to mortar rounds fired […]

Differential Identification of White Phosphorus and ZAB submunitions in Syria

There have been a number of claims, both from the ground in Syria and from media abroad, that Syrian government forces have been using white phosphorus (WP) munitions to target rebel positions or civilian populations. Unfortunately, these reports appear to be confusing the appearance of ZAB series cluster bomb submunitions (likely ZAB-2.5 submunitions) with that […]

Update: Cluster Munitions in Syria (ZAB-2.5 incendiary submunitions)

RBK-250 cluster bombs, containing ZAB-2.5 submunitions, have recently been identified in Syria. There has been a lot of confusion surrounding both the cluster munitions themselves, and the submunitions, with contrasting and conflicting claims. First and foremost, it is important to note that the RBK-250 ZAB-2.5 250kg cluster bomb, as sighted in Syria, contains three different […]

Australian F1A1 ball ammunition

When I visited Thales Australia to conduct a T&E of the EF88 assault rifle and ML40AUS grenade launcher in September, I took a few basic photos of the (relatively) new F1A1 ammunition. The cartridge differs from the earlier standard F1 cartridge in several ways, featuring green painted tips, modified case wall thickness, a  new propellant […]

Submunitions in Syria: understanding the threat

As part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness of the threat of UXO in Syria, I have recently designed two information sheets on the two varieties of cluster bomb submunitions identified in Syria to date. These are being published under the auspices of the Responsible Researchers of Munitions & Arms (RRMA), a group of […]

Update: RPG-7 Projectiles in Syria

What is probably an Iranian tandem HEAT projectile. Photo: Lens Young Homsi. In the weeks since I published my first piece on RPG-7 projectiles that have been sighted in Syria, a number of people have responded to my request for further material. As C.J. Chivers notes in this post: “The fairly small circle of competent and […]