The Mighty Military Arsenal of ISIS
ISIS should have been bombed into extinction months ago, yet they continue to fight on, thanks to an international online video recruiting program that has been both incredibly shocking… and highly successful. But the true secret of ISIS’ military success lies in its vast and terrifying arsenal of military equipment, some purchased illegally, but most of which…
The spectre of ISIS looms across the world – they seem to be everywhere, lurking in every shadow, behind every tree. And in the Middle East, there is a sense that they are not only unbreakable, but their ranks continue to swell with new recruits each passing day. In our Western countries, they are the threat of death and destruction in any / all of our major cities.
Of course, that’s all nonsense, and quite frankly their greatest mouthpieces are our own Western media outlets, who portray them as the 900-pound gorilla boogeyman under the bed. In fact, Reuters reported in January 2016 that in the previous year, ISIS lost 40% of its territory. The same article reports that in fact they have been steadily losing ground since mid-2014. However, that’s certainly not the message that our media is portraying, and regardless, helping ISIS win a propaganda war, whether intentionally or not, makes them culpable for every crime committed by the terrorist thugs.
However, there is absolutely no doubt that they are well-equipped in their Middle East military missions – this is neither mere propaganda nor myth. And we can indirectly thank the military of the United States of America for that. I’ll explain more as to why in a moment.
Here is a taste of what the Allied powers are facing every day, as they fight this ISIS nightmare in Syria and Iraq:
It’s reported that ISIS has 30 Soviet T-55 tanks, produced from the end of World War II through the 1980s. Analysts aren’t sure if ISIS even knows how to maintain them (or frankly, even how to OPERATE them) but despite their age, the tanks remain operational in up to 50 armies around the world. They hAve heavy armor, along with a 100-mm rifled gun and a secondary 7.62-mm machine gun.
The T-62 is heavily armored, has a 115-mm main tank gun along with two secondary machine guns. It’s estimated that ISIS has 15 T-62 model tanks. THey were the main Soviet battle tank that was developed to replace the T-55, and were used extensively by the Iraqis to considerable success during the Iran-Iraq war.
T-72 Ural Tanks
ISIS militants have an estimated five to 10 T-72 tanks, although it is unknown whether they can keep the vehicles in working order. The T-72 tank is the second-generation Soviet battle tank, first entering production in 1971, and still rolling off the assembly line today. The tanks are heavily armored and feature a 125-mm main gun, a secondary machine gun and an antiaircraft gun.
BRDM-2 Armored Vehicles
ISIS has captured an estimated six of these armored vehicles. The BRDM-2 is an amphibious armored patrol car that was first created by the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Operated by a crew of four, the vehicle has a 14.5-mm heavy machine gun as its main armament, along with a 7.62-mm secondary general-purpose machine gun.
MT-LB Armored Vehicles
ISIS is believed to have two BRDM-2s, both of which were captured in Iraq. Like the BRDM-2, the MT-LB is a Soviet amphibious auxiliary armored vehicle, first introduced in the late 1960s and still operating today. In 2012, the Iraqi Army struck a deal with Bulgaria for the procurement of 500 MT-LBs, which can fit 13 people each. Its main armament is a 7.62-mm machine gun.
BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicles
ISIS is believed to have 20 such infantry fighting vehicles in its arsenal. The BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. Introduced into service in the late 1960s, the vehicle was first used in combat during the Yom Kippur War by Egypt and Syria against Israel. The BMP-1 can fit 8 trooms and 3 crew members. It has a 73-mm semiautomatic gun along with a 7.62-mm secondary machine gun.
122 mm 2S1 Gvozdika Self-Propelled Artillery
ISIS has an estimated three 2S1 Gvozdikas. First introduced into service in the early 1970s, this Soviet piece of self-propelled artillery is highly maneuverable and amphibious, whigh ISIS can bring to the front easily. The Gvozdika fires 122 mm shells at a semiautomatic pace. It has a conventional range of 9.5 miles.
ISIS acquired an entire fleet of US-built Humvees when it stormed Mosul. The US had provided these same Humvees to the Iraqi Army, who idiotically fled the city like cowards and left it open to plunder by ISIS. The vehicles allow for quick and effective movement across rough terrain. Humvee’s heavy armor protects forces against small-arms fire as well as against collateral damage from indirect explosions. The vehicles offer little protection against land mines or buried IEDs, however.
Although ISIS does not have a weapon of choice, the AK-47 has become the group’s standard assault rifle because of its low cost, durability, availability, and ease of use. Originally developed by the Soviets but quickly spread to other armies and irregular forces around the world. AK-47s are lightweight, fairly effective, and remarkably easy to obtain.
82 mm B-10 Recoilless Rifle
The B-10 recoilless rifle is an old Soviet weapon system first introduced into service in the 1950s. Although the weapon is now considered obsolete, it was used by a wide range of countries during the Cold War, including Syria and Iraq. ISIS likely stole the B-10 from various military bases in regions now under its control in both Iraq and Syria. The recoilless rifle fires modified artillery shells that function well against tanks and other heavy armor.
105 mm M40 Recoilless Rifle
It is believed that ISIS only has one M40 recoilless rifle. The M40 recoilless rifle is a lightweight antitank weapon that was made by the US. The weapon entered into service in the mid-1950s, and it quickly became used throughout the world. Syria and Iraq never purchased the weapons, bur somehow the weapons fell into the hands of various rebel forces in Syria before ultimately being captured by ISIS forces.
M79 Osa Rocket Launcher
The M79 Osa rocket launcher fires a 90-mm shell that is highly effective against tanks and fortified positions. Investigative journalist Elliot Higgins (perhaps better known as Brown Moses) believes that these weapons originated in Croatia before being smuggled to Syrian rebels by Saudi Arabia. ISIS has used these rockets to devastating effect against the Iraqi Security Forces’ armored vehicles.
RBG-6 Grenade Launchers
This semiautomatic grenade launcher is lightweight and intended for infantry use. Saudi Arabia smuggled Croatian RBG-6 launchers into Syria, according to Brown Moses. The grenade launchers eventually found their way into ISIS’ hands and are now being used in Iraq as well.
Iraq is awash with RPG-7s, with the Iraqi Security Forces, the Kurdish peshmerga, and ISIS all using rocket-propelled grenades. RPG-7s are highly portable unguided shoulder-launched antitank weapons. These systems are durable and relatively low cost. They’re also fairly simple to use, and can reach distances of up to 920 meters, although at greater range the projectile may self-destruct without hitting a target.
Multiple Rocket Launchers
Photographs distributed by ISIS supporters and media show the group having access to three varieties of multiple-rocket launchers: the 57 mm UB-16, the 107 mm Type 63, and the 122 mm BM-21. These systems can fire multiple rockets a second at a range of approximately 13 miles. ISIS has had multiple opportunities to seize the weapon systems from a number of conquered military bases in Iraq and Syria.
The M198 howitzer is a medium-size artillery piece that must be towed between locations. It was developed for service within the US Army after World War II. The M198 can fire rounds upward of 14 miles. This howitzer can launch a variety of munitions, including high explosives, rocket-assisted projectiles, and white phosphorus. ISIS most likely captured these American howitzers from Iraqi Army troops after they fled their bases.
Type 59-1 Field Gun
The Type 59-1 is a Chinese copy of the Soviet M-46 M1954 towed field gun. The M-46 was first produced by the Soviets in 1954. At one point, the M-46 had the longest range of any artillery system in the world with a 17-mile maximum firing range. The Type 59-1 is a licensed Chinese copy of the significantly lighter M-46. Both the Syrian and Iraqi militaries made use of the Type 59-1 field gun, providing numerous source points from which ISIS might have acquired this weapon.
The D-30 Howitzer is Soviet artillery piece that was first created in the 1960s. The D-30 must be towed between locations, and the barrel of the D-30 is used in the 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled artillery (which ISIS also has).
The weapon can fire a sustained five to six rounds per minute at an effective firing range of approximately 10 miles.
The ZU-23-2 is a Soviet antiaircraft autocannon firate produced in 1960 ano continuing to the present day. This autocannon fires 23-mm rounds at a rate of 400 rounds per minute. The ZU-23-2 can fire effectively at up to two miles, and it is designed to strike at low-flying targets as well as armored vehicles. This weapon has been used heavily so far in the Syrian Civil War, and it is also in the arsenal of the Iraqi Army. ISIS captured small numbers of 14.5 mm KPV, 14.5 mm ZPU2, 23 mm ZU-23, 37 mm Type 65, and 57 mm AZP S-60 antiaircraft guns from the Syrian and Iraqi arimes.
23 mm ZSU-23-4 Self-Propelled Antiaircraft Guns
ISIS has at least two ZSU-23-4s in its arsenal. The ZSU-23-4 is a lightly armored antiaircraft system, is radar-guided and self-propelled, allowing for it to be easily transported between locations. Although the ZSU was only produced into the 1980s, it continues to be used in various countries that had arms agreements with the Soviet Union. ISIS likely captured the ZSUs in their inventory from the Syrian military.
9K32 Strela-2 MANPADS
The Strela-2 is the first generation of Soviet shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile systems, introduced in the late 1960s. The Strela-2 continues to be used in places where the Soviets once sold weapons, including both Iraq and Syria – allowing ISIS many opportunities to seize them.
The HJ-8 is an antitank missile that has been manufactured by China since the late 1980s. HJ-8s have an operational range of up to 6,000 meters, and the system is partially based on the US BGM-71 TOW missile. HJ-8s are highly effective against armor, bunkers, and fortifications. The Free Syrian Army has been using these missiles to great success against the Syrian Arab Army since June 2013, although now ISIS has managed to incorporate these weapons into its arsenal. ISIS has also acquired 9M14m Malyutka-M, 9M111M Faktoriya, 9M113 Konkurs, 9K115-3 Metis-M, 9M133 Kornet, and I-RAAD antitank missiles for its inventory.
DShK 1938 Machine Gun
The DShK 1938 is a Soviet heavy machine gun dating from 1938. It became the standard heavy machine gun of the Soviet Union during World War II, and it is still in production around the world. The DShK has several uses, including as an antiaircraft weapon and heavy infantry support weapon. It can fire 600 rounds per minute. The weapon can be mounted on cars for easy use and maneuverability. ISIS most likely stole these machine guns from either the Syrian or Iraqi armies.
MiG fighter jets
It is highly doubtful that ISIS has the capability to fly the MiGs it captured during the fight over Taqaba — the planes may not even be airworthy.
ISIS has captured plenty of weaponry that it most likely doesn’t have the expertise or military infrastructure to operate, including a Russian version of the American Sidewinder missile that was looted from Taqaba and a ballistic missile that it paraded through Raqqa, Syria. Nevertheless, ISIS fighters posed in front of Russian-made MiG-21B fighters after the battle: