A couple dozen tanks

Reading through an October Jane’s Defense Weekly, I came across a story (“Tanks on pirated ship were bound for southern Sudan, says source” 22 Oct 2008, p25). The Faina story is ongoing and getting a little coverage as part of the larger Somali piracy issues. This story focused on how the tanks were bound for southern Sudan, the third of three shipments, and who’s denying what about where they were headed and how.

The shipment included “ammunition, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other weaponry”.

So a couple of Somali pirates took over this ship (which they still hold as I write this) and are now in possession of a tank force superior to South Africa’s (who have ~40 active and outdated main battle tanks). If they’d taken the ship, run it aground, found some former Soviet army conscripts to man them, they’d be a third-tier military force on the continent (compared to Egypt and then Libya-level) (Libya has ~85 T-72s running). They’d be able to run amok shooting up everything they wanted (until presumably the Fifth Fleet sends some planes after them).

Army in an unguarded box.

Side note: what in the world is Egypt (or really, anyone) doing with M1 tanks? Does Sauron sell copies of the one ring to anyone who comes by?

3 thoughts on “A couple dozen tanks

  1. Fett42

    The M1’s are very good tanks but they’re nothing like the indestructable pieces of machinery they’re often depicted to be (our Javelins will destroy just about any piece of armor, for example, and there are IEDs powerful enough to flip them). Middle Eastern allies get a large amount of equipment like this from us because a) they have to use the money we give them to buy from us, helping our defense industry and b) it builds close ties between our two militaries, giving us very good insight into and increased influence in foreign armed forces and governments. It also helps build a general dependence on the United States. My current Arabic instructor’s previous assignment was one of the top military attaches to Saudi Arabia a few years ago and always talks about this kind of stuff.

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