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The ancient An-2 Biplane is one of North Korea’s most dangerous weapons

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With tensions between North Korea and the U.S., South Korea, and its allies at an all time high, and as the U.S. and South Korea execute combat drills, Pyongyang ordered its own military show of force. North Korea’s recent exercises included a massive artillery barrage and an amphibious assault near the maritime border between the two long time foes. Images released by state media shows North Korea’s modernized commando units going through their paces, but one picture was of especially unique interest.

The guys from The Drive have fully investigated possibilities of An-2 biplanes and their possible usage in Korean peninsula conflict, and it seems that the North Koreans are far more dangerous than they actually look alike. The post referring to the An-2 planes is written by Tyler Rogoway, and it is mostly included in this article.

The photo in question shows a gaggle of An-2 biplanes dropping North Korean commandos at low altitude. At first glance, it just looks like another canned and somewhat laughable military display by the North Koreas, but it’s actually relevant practice for what North Korea has planned for the opening hours of an all-out conflict on the peninsula.

During the dark of night, as part of the opening throws of a battle royale between South Korea, the U.S., and North Korea, hundreds of these old radial engine biplanes will fly low over the ground at slow speed, penetrating deep into South Korean airspace. For the vast majority of their crews, it will be a one-way mission—to deliver Kim Jong Un’s hardest shock troops deep behind enemy lines. This is done via low altitude air drop, as seen above, or by landing in short stretches of fields or roadways.

The missions of these North Korean suicide assault teams are many fold, but generally, they pertain to creating total havoc deep inside the South Korean territory. This includes attacking key infrastructure and military installations and generally sowing massive terror among the already frightened South Korean populace. This deep insertion tactic alone is one of the main reasons why installations like air bases in South Korea must be prepared for instant war, even on the foot soldier level.

Even Kim Jong Un, who loves aviation, has been seen in the cockpit of an AN-2 Colt.

The fact that North Korea is now a nuclear nation and seems to have at least a workable miniaturized warhead design means these biplanes pose an even greater risk than ever before—they could also become a non-traditional nuclear delivery system. It is just the unorthodox play that Pyongyang could use to take out major military installations or critical capabilities without using a ballistic missile.

It may seem downright laughable at first glance that North Korea would throw up antiquated agricultural/utility aircraft which were designed the better part of a century ago against the might of the USAF and ROKAF, but first glances can be very deceiving. The An-2 Colt is a fabric covered flying machine that is at home muscling through the sky at very low altitudes and slow airspeed. This translates into a small radar cross-section for its size, one that is hard to spot by fighters using their radars in look-down-shoot-down mode. Flying at low altitude means traditional surface-to-air missile systems will have a very hard time of detecting and engaging these aircraft as they plot along the south, hugging the terrain.

Once again, the mainstream media has been quick to disregard North Korea’s dated arsenal. This is the same reason why so many underestimated the country’s ability to field a nuclear weapon and long-range delivery system by the end of the decade.

The cold, hard truth is that the North Koreans aren’t stupid and their outlandish rhetoric and propaganda hide the existence of a much more logical and creative military apparatus than most would care to admit. Their seemingly innocuous fleet of AN-2 biplanes is just another reminder of this reality.

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Special Forces

Canadian special forces out of Mosul, preparing for new battle in Iraq

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Canadian special forces have left the city of Mosul and are now backing up Iraqi forces as they prepare to assault one of the Islamic State group’s last strongholds in the country. The move comes amid growing friction between the various local groups facing off against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and warnings that despite its battlefield victories, the international community has a lot more work to do in Iraq.

The Iraqi military, Kurdish Ppeshmerga and various paramilitary groups have surrounded Hawija, a city of about 150,000 people, and are waiting for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s order to attack. The victory there would represent a pivotal moment in the war against ISIL, since the group would then control only a few small pockets of Iraqi territory along Syria’s border.

Canadian troops who had been helping Iraqi forces secure Mosul throughout the summer are now near Hawija, and will provide support during the upcoming battle, military spokesman Maj. Alexandre Cadieux said Friday. Canada has about 200 special forces soldiers supporting local forces in northern Iraq. Most of their work has been with the Kurds, but Cadieux said they are also now operating with other Iraqi groups.

“Members of the Special Operations Task Force will provide their (Iraqi Security Force) partners with advice and assistance in the vicinity of Hawija,” Cadieux said in an email. “Canadian Armed Forces personnel are advising its partners on how to best secure their position and prevent effective counter-attacks from Daesh,” he added, using the Arabic name for ISIL.

“CAF personnel also advise and assist in the detection, identification and possible prosecution of Daesh targets by our partner, or through coalition resources.”

Exactly when the battle will start has been a source of speculation for several weeks. Hawija is located in territory claimed by both the Kurds, who have their own semi-independent regional government, as well as Iraq’s central government in Baghdad.

That alone has created disagreements between the various forces preparing to attack the city, but the fact the Kurds plan to hold a referendum on independence on Sept. 25 has heightened tensions. Yet even if Hawija is liberated, one senior Canadian officer whose job is to organize coalition training efforts and help Iraqi officials plan operations says the hard work is just beginning.

Brig.-Gen. Steven Whalen said that’s because Iraqi security forces will continue to need help as ISIL shifts to terrorist tactics such as suicide bombings, one of which killed 80 people on Friday. “This fight is not anywhere near over,” Whalen said in an interview from Baghdad, where he is leading a team of international advisers inside Iraq’s defence ministry.

“From a military perspective, we are expecting that there is going to be some kind of insurgency-type scenario that will evolve. And we see some signs of it occurring elsewhere in Iraq.” Special units are being trained to deal specifically with such a threat, Whelan said, but there is also the need to make sure regular forces are able to hold territory and conduct basic military tasks.

“We’re going to transition from building hardcore combat capability to moving towards giving the Iraqis training and resources to help them become self-sustaining,” Whelan said. “They’re not ready for self-sustainment yet from a security perspective.”

The Liberal government recently extended Canada’s mission against ISIL until March 2019, while giving the military more flexibility to decide on its own what it needs to accomplish its objectives. One area that Canada is exploring is whether to partner with NATO to train Iraqi forces to find and disarm improvised explosive devices, though military officials said no decisions have been made.

In addition to the special forces troops, Canada has surveillance, refuelling and transport planes, an intelligence unit, a helicopter detachment and a military hospital in the region to help fight ISIL.

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Special Forces

IDF releases rare video of its elite Unit 5101 also known as SHALDAG

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The IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) have released a video of Shaldag unit. Shaldag (Hebrew: שלדג‎‎, Kingfisher), also known as Unit 5101, is an elite Israeli Air Force commando unit. So far, their public appearance was very rare. Shaldag was founded in 1974, in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War, by Muki Betser, a Sayeret Matkal veteran who brought several Matkal veterans with him. Initially operating as a Sayeret Matkal reserve company, it was eventually transferred to the IAF.

Shaldag’s mission is to deploy undetected into combat and hostile environments to conduct special reconnaissance, establish assault zones or airfields, while simultaneously conducting air traffic control and commando actions.

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