How do armies weigh in the Great Lakes region of Africa?

If you were to assess Uganda’s military strength, what would it look like?

Global Firepower, an agency that rates the military strength of nations, ranked Uganda 92 out of 142 countries it considered at the start of 2022.

Its index gives a lot of weight to manpower, air power, land forces, naval forces, natural resources, logistics, finance and geography.

In air power, it sizes “fixed-wing and rotorcraft platforms for all service branches”.

With regard to ground forces, a disaggregation of the value of tanks (main battle tanks, light tanks and tank destroyers); armored vehicles (APC, IFV, MRAP and armored cars); and rocket spotlights offer remarkable insight into what constitutes power.

While Global Firepower is keen to take the pulse of total assets (“available ships, including auxiliaries”); aircraft carrier; and submarines (“both diesel-electric and nuclear type”) with respect to naval forces, “landlocked countries (like Uganda) are not penalized for the lack of a standing navy “.

In January, Uganda maintained their 92nd ranking after scoring 2.2436 where a score of 0.0000 is considered the best. The United States, perhaps unsurprisingly, leads the rankings with a power index of 0.0453. Egypt led the way in Africa with a score of 0.1869, good enough to see them place just outside the top 10 in 12th position. In the Great Lakes region, the 2022 military strength ranking confirmed that Ethiopia (65th and 1.0798); the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC (76th & 1.4171); Kenya (81st & 1.5252); Tanzania (113th & 2.8437); as well as Mozambique (116th and 3.1746) all have skin in the growth game.

So how do the military in the Great Lakes region compare?

According to Global Firepower’s 2022 dataset, Ethiopia retains its powers almost in perpetuity. Its status as the second most populous country in Africa means that its dominance in the composition of the workforce that matters seems not only possible but perhaps inevitable.

Its 150,000 active members are only rivaled by the DRC (100,000). By its most basic dimensions of power and strength, Uganda has 47,000 active military, 10,000 reservists and 1,500 paramilitaries.

While Ethiopia and the DRC have no reserve personnel, the latter has 10,000 paramilitaries compared to zero for the former.

Elsewhere, Tanzania has 26,000 active members, 40,000 reservists and 1,000 paramilitaries.

Kenya has 24,000 active members, no reserves and 5,000 paramilitaries.

When it comes to airpower, the numbers are slightly stacked in Kenya’s favor according to the Global Firepower dataset. It lists the following numbers:

Kenya—Fighters/interceptors: 17; Dedicated attack: 0; Transport: 22; Trainers: 23; Special Mission: 2; Tanker fleet: 0; Helicopters: 87; and attack helicopters: 2; for a total aircraft fleet of 151.

Ethiopia—Fighters/interceptors: 23; Dedicated attack: 0; Transport: 9; Trainers: 26; Special mission: 0; Tanker fleet: 0; Helicopters: 32; and attack helicopter: 7; for a total fleet of 90 aircraft.

Uganda—Fighters/interceptors: 10; Dedicated attack: 0; Transport: 2; Trainers: 12; Special mission: 0; Tanker fleet: 0; Helicopters: 25; and attack helicopter: 5; for a total aircraft fleet of 49.

DRC—Combatants/interceptors: 1; Dedicated attack: 4; Transport: 8; Trainers: 0; Special mission: 0; Tanker fleet: 0; Helicopters: 32; and attack helicopters: 8; for a total aircraft fleet of 46.

Tanzania—Fighters/interceptors: 14; Dedicated attack: 0; Transport: 6; Trainers: 8; Special mission: 0; Tanker fleet: 0; Helicopters: 9; and attack helicopters: 0; for a total aircraft fleet of 37.

The makeup of the inventory, when it comes to ground forces or power, is decidedly mixed. Uganda’s collection of 1,056 AFVs or Armored Fighting Vehicles is parallel. It also has 237 tanks; only six self-propelled artillery pieces; 35 towed artillery pieces; and 26 rocket projectors.

Ethiopia is evenly split with 340 tanks; 110 AFV; 67 self-propelled artillery pieces; 470 towed artillery pieces; and 183 rocket projectors.

Kenya, meanwhile, has only five rocket projectors. However, he has 959 AFV; 109 tanks; 30 self-propelled artillery pieces; and 50 towed artillery pieces.

The DRC inventory reads as follows: 212 tanks; 201 AFV; 16 self-propelled artillery pieces; 125 towed artillery pieces; and 55 rocket projectors. Tanzania undoubtedly holds the wooden spoon here with a paltry 42 tanks; and 89 AFVs.

Should we read too much into these figures?

Yes and no. A recent article by The Economist newspaper on the future of tank warfare has brought to light some uncomfortable truths about the heavy armored fighting vehicle that has seen service on countless battlefields since 1916. The Economist has brought to light an argument that “the vehicle is heavy, expensive and unsuitable for modern combat.

Drawing on empirical evidence provided by Oryx, a blog that pinpoints the Russian-Ukrainian war, The Economist argues that the fact that Russia lost at least 774 tanks (nearly half of those destroyed) should not not be passed over in silence.

The Economist thus proclaims: “The war in Ukraine has highlighted two powerful threats to armored vehicles. One is the anti-tank guided missile… The second threat is armed drones, which offer a cheap and easy way to attack from the air.

The newspaper, however, warns: “It would be wrong, however, to write the tank’s obituary based on its performance in the [Russia-Ukraine] war, precisely because Russia misused it”.

Can Ugandan troops engage in asymmetric warfare?

Asymmetric warfare involves unconventional strategies and tactics adopted by a force when the military capabilities of the belligerent powers are not simply unequal, but are so significantly different that they cannot engage in the same types of attacks.

One of the latest illustrations of this unorthodox method of fighting was on display in Ukraine where the Russian army, which has a superior combat arsenal, has become mired in a protracted war that has left hundreds of its fighters , including generals, killed in the fighting. the fields.

Usually, for armies to succeed in such wars, they need a cohesive fighting force to defend sovereign territory and rely on combat and guerrilla tactics to drag the superior army into a dead end. -bag.

The Ugandan army has proven itself in peacekeeping missions in Liberia and the Horn of Africa enclave to fight insurgents from al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization that enjoys global support .

Uganda also fought in the DRC against Rwanda, as well as in “Africa’s First World War” after the collapse of Mobutu’s regime. The rise of the erratic Laurent-Désiré Kabila has created a power vacuum that has drawn Rwanda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Chad, Namibia and Sudan into regional conflict.

Robert Mugabe’s administration sent elements of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) to the DRC in 1998.

Mugabe, perhaps the most ardent proponent of intervention on Kabila’s behalf, was the only major player involved in the conflict capable of mustering a reasonably modern and experienced air force. The Zimbabwean military was also considered one of the best equipped and professional in the region. The ZNA’s combat performance was ineffective, however, and its forces suffered defeat at the hands of Ugandan and Rwandan fighters through asymmetric tactics.

Yes. Although Uganda is landlocked, it maintains a navy. The Uganda People’s Defense Force Marine Wing operates on Lake Victoria. It is unknown why Global Firepower does not quantify its naval power. Other countries have patrol boats: DRC: 16; Tanzania: 10; and Kenya: 7.

With what financial outlay is Uganda working to maintain the composition of its workforce, as well as its air, land and naval fleets?

In two words, a lot. Even the pandemic was powerless to stop the voracious appetite. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), an independent global security think tank based in Sweden, records a threefold increase in Uganda’s military spending, from $346.7 million in 2017 to $1.066 billion in 2021.

This put it within sight of Kenya’s military spending of $1.113 billion in 2021. In its Global Military Spending Trends 2021 factsheet, Sipri says the staggering amounts should not come as a shock but rather a disturbing fatality.

“During the decade 2012-2021, both Kenya and Uganda faced insurgencies which influenced their military spending. Between 2012 and 2021, military spending increased by 203% in Uganda but remained relatively stable in Kenya,” the fact sheet states in part.

The 2021 defense bill of other selected countries in the Great Lakes region was Ethiopia: $487.8 million (despite a civil war against Tigray forces for a few years); Tanzania: $742 million; Rwanda: $164 million; and Burundi: $68 million.

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