The armed forces of the rest of the founding countries of the “defensive bloc” of NATO - Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway, cannot be compared with the Turkish army.
The total number of personnel of the armed forces of Belgium: 30 thousand people. In service with the ground forces: 106 tanks "Leopard-1A5", 220 armored vehicles, 130 guns and mortars. In the army aviation: 78 helicopters (28 combat A109-VA, 18 reconnaissance A109-A), 30 general purpose, 28 UAVs.
The Air Force has X-NUMX F-60 airplanes assembled at the national SABCA enterprise, 16 Alpha-Jet light attack aircraft, X-NUMX military transport C-20, and 10 training aircraft.
As part of the naval forces there are: two frigates of the URO-type "Karel Doorman"; minesweepers looking for mines like "Tripar-tit"; auxiliary vessels.
Belgian warships at Zeebrugge Navy
The regular armed forces of Luxembourg have just 900 people. In addition to small weapons in service is available: 6 81-mm mortars, 6 PU-ATGM TOW, large-caliber machine guns, American Hummer and German Gelendevagen. Air defense and air force are absent.
Against the background of the armed forces of Luxembourg, the army of a small Holland looks very decent. The number of personnel of the Dutch army as of the beginning of 2012 of the year was 64 thousand. On armament of land units there are: 80 battle tanks "Leopard-2", 500 BMP and BTR, 121 artillery units.
The Air Force is armed with about 60 American fighter jets F-16AM and F-16BM, which were built in the Netherlands under license from the Fokker factory. For their refueling in the air, KC-10 refueling aircraft are intended. There are 4 military transport C-130 and 13 training Pilatus PC-7. 29 AH-64D Apache are designed to support ground units and combat armored vehicles. In addition to them, there are 25 transport and multi-purpose helicopters. In service with air defense units 20 PU-ZRK "Patriot".
US aircraft refueling aircraft KS-135, reconnaissance aircraft RC-135 and airborne early warning aircraft at the Dutch Hato airfield
The Netherlands has developed its own shipbuilding industry. Ship update fleet primarily due to the construction of patrol ships of the Holland type, which will replace the obsolete frigates of the Karel Doorman project that are in service.
Dutch warships at Navy Den Helder
As part of the Navy, there are two amphibious dock ships such as Rotterdam, also built on Dutch shipyards. The main striking force of the Navy are four “Walrus” type diesel submarines and six frigates.
During the years of the Cold War, the armed forces of Denmark were faced with a very important task - to defend against the possible Soviet landing of the Danish straits and to prevent the Baltic Fleet from breaking through into the Atlantic. By the end of the Cold War, Denmark had a very powerful army for such a small country: more than 400 tanks, more than 550 artillery guns and more than 100 combat aircraft.
Today, the ground forces consist of: 57 tanks “Leopard-2”, 45 BMP CV90, 310 BTR, 24 SAU M109, 6 105-mm howitzers, 20 120-mm mortars and 12 X-AMX X-mmXMX,
The Air Force has X-NUMX F-30 fighters, 16 C-4 transport, 130 training and 17 helicopters.
The naval forces were traditionally considered in Denmark as the main type of armed forces and had considerable combat power. However, there are currently less than 30 combat units left in the Navy. It was decided to completely abandon the submarines, anti-mine ships, minelayers and missile boats. Now only 5 units have real combat potential: the 2 universal ship of the Absalon type (the Garpun missile, the 127-mm gun and are amphibious ships, they can carry 4 amphibious boats and up to 7 Leopard-2 tanks) and 3 frigate type "Iver Hutfeldt."
Danish warships in the Navy Corseur
4 Tetis type frigates do not have missile weapons and, in fact, are patrol ships. There are also Knud Rasmussen 2 patrol ships and Fluvefisken 1 patrol boats. There are 6 patrol boats (2 of the Barso type, 4 of the Diana type) and 10 of small minesweepers. Naval aviation includes 7 helicopters "Lynx".
Danish patrol ship at the Frederikshavn naval base
Tethys type frigates and Knud Rasmussen type patrol ships are mainly used to patrol the Danish economic zone and protect fishing zones in the North Atlantic.
Denmark owns the largest island in the world, Greenland, which makes it a polar country.
In Greenland, in the area of the Thule air base, is located the American missile defense radar
The strength of the Norwegian Armed Forces is about 20 thousand people.
The ground forces are armed with: 52 tank "Leopard" 2A4, 20 "Leopard" 1A5, 104 BMP, 130 BTR. The artillery units have: 126 155-mm self-propelled howitzers M109A3GN, 46 155-mm howitzers M114 / 39, 12 MLRS M270.
In service with the Norwegian Air Force is about 50 fighter-bomber F-16AM and F-16BM, deliveries which were conducted from the year 1980. It is planned to overhaul all F-16, to extend the service to 2023 year (43 year of service). Also ordered X-NUMX fighter F-52A.
The 4 military transport aircraft of the latest modification of the C-130J-30 was recently received from the USA. For patrolling the sea are four P-3C and two P-3N. There are two EW aircraft based on the French Falcon 20. The Air Force also has 15 training aircraft and 45 helicopters.
For Norway, the Navy is perhaps the main type of armed forces. Combat and patrol ships of this country are actively used as a tool of influence in coastal and neutral waters in order to protect their economic zone and protect fisheries.
The Norwegian fleet has five Ula-type diesel submarines. The boats of this series adapted for the conditions of Norway were built at the German shipyards in the 1987 — 1992 based on the “Type 210” boats.
Norwegian type URA submarines in the naval base of Hokonsvern
The largest surface warships are five frigates of the Fridtjof Nansen type. These are fairly sophisticated ships commissioned in 2006 – 2011. They were developed on the basis of Spanish frigates of the type "Alvaro de Bazan". The construction of the ships was carried out jointly by the Spanish and Norwegian shipyards. The frigates are equipped with Mk 41 vertical launchers, which allow the launch of NCM anti-ship missiles, and the Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles and ESSM. The relatively large size (displacement up to 5200 tons) and good seaworthiness make it possible to effectively use ships of this type in the northern seas with frequent storms.
Norwegian frigates of the Fridtjof Nansen type and missile boats of the Skjold type in the naval base Hokonsvern
Six Skjold missile boats are considered modern. The first ship of this class was built in the 1999 year, five more went into service before the 2013 year. It is planned that they will serve in conjunction with the old “Hyuk” class missile boats.
Missile "Hyuk" and Skjold type in naval base Hokonsvern
One of the largest ships in the Norwegian Navy is the icebreaker Svalbard. It is also used as a patrol ship. Designed at the end of the 1990-ies to support other ships of the Coast Guard, in particular, the North Cape type patrol ships. These three patrol ships were built at the start of the 80's.
North Cape Patrol Ship
In 2000 — 2001, all three patrol ships were upgraded to include the installation of a new radar and sonar equipment. The North Cape patrol ships belong to the ice class and are designed to perform a wide range of tasks, including patrol, fire service and oil spill response.
The fleet also includes a minelayer, six minesweepers searching for mines and 17 of auxiliary fleet vessels (including the reconnaissance ship Marjata).
In 2004, Slovenia was admitted to NATO. This former union republic separated from the SFRY in 1990. Its armed forces are mostly equipped with outdated equipment and weapons.
The Slovenian Air Force has three PC-9 “Pilatus” training aircraft, several helicopters and the Roland-2 air defense system.
In service with the Navy two patrol boats.
In 2009, Albania and Croatia joined the Alliance.
Albania has a huge amount of redundant and outdated weapons and ammunition for a small country (about 300 obsolete tanks, about 100 armored vehicles, more than 1000 guns and mortars). This was the result of the long isolation of the country and the tense ethnic relations in the region. Currently, the Albanian armed forces are in the process of reform and modernization.
Positions of the Albanian SAMs HQ-2J
The Armed Forces of Albania are armed with several light training and transport aircraft and 12 helicopters. Wo 105.
As well as 12 PU ZUR HQ-2J (Chinese version of the C-75).
The Navy has two patrol boats of the Damen Stan type.
Compared with Albania, the armed forces of Croatia look much more worthy. The number of armed forces of this country as of 2012 year was 18 thousand. People. There are: about 250 tanks, 8 SAU, 100 BMP, 30 BTR, 416 towed field artillery guns, 132 anti-tank guns T-12, 220 MLRS, 790 mortars. For the most part, all these weapons are the "legacy" of the Yugoslav army.
The air force and air defense include six MiG-21bis fighters, four MiG-21UM, two military transports An-32, five light aircraft Zlin Z242L, twenty PC-9, four CL-415, one AT-802F, and also Mi-14 transport helicopters, ten Mi-8 and eight Bell 171B helicopters
Croatian MiG-21 at Pleso airbase
In service of the Croatian Navy is six rocket and four patrol boats.
The countries of the former "Warsaw Pact" at the beginning of the 90-s had a very impressive defensive potential. At the moment, the armed forces of these countries have undergone a total reduction. In addition to equipment and weapons supplied from the USSR, licensed production of Soviet models was carried out in all countries of the "Eastern Bloc". Some countries developed and manufactured equipment independently.
Armored vehicles at a factory in the Czech city of Sternberk
The accession of these countries to the North Atlantic Alliance, besides the reduction of the armed forces, had the most negative impact on its own defense industry. Although Poland and the Czech Republic are trying to trade their own versions of the T-72 tanks, and Bulgaria with unlicensed Kalashnikovs, there has been little success in this area.
The desire to comply with “NATO standards” has led in many Eastern European countries to an unjustifiably early write-off of Soviet-style equipment. This against the background of a lack of financial resources for the acquisition of Western-made weapons led to the weakening of their own armies.
Soviet-made combat aircraft decommissioned by the Polish Air Force
Decommissioned Czech aircraft at the airport in the vicinity of Prague
However, what is called the “process started,” for example, in the Polish armed forces, along with Soviet equipment, there are Western-made combat vehicles in service. Poland has one of the most powerful tank fleets in Europe near 900 main battle tanks of modern modifications. To replace Soviet tanks, Germans are being supplied - Leopard - 2А4.
In the 2006, the Polish Air Force began supplying the American F-16C and F-16D fighters. At the moment, there are 50 such aircraft.
F-16 airplanes at the Poznań airfield
Military transport An-26 and CASA C-295 at the airport of Krakow
Against the background of NATO’s aggressive policy, the fact that Poland not only has a special status in the alliance, but also is perhaps the main proponent of anti-Russian hysteria, is particularly striking. And at the same time, the Poles are not going to abandon Soviet weapons, in service still remain the MiG-29 fighter jets and the Su-22М4 shock fighters.
Despite the negotiations on the deployment of elements of the US missile defense system and the Patriot air defense missile system, the Polish air defense units are armed with the C-125 air defense system received from the USSR and upgraded in Poland.
Positions of the Polish C-125
In the Navy, all Soviet-made ships, except for the 877E submarines, were replaced by American and Norwegian warships (the 6 Submarine of the Cobben type and the 2 of the Oliver Hazard Perry frigate.
Submarines of the Polish Navy in the naval base of Gdansk
Polish missile boats pr.205 and pr.1241 withdrawn from service
Rocket boats of their own construction project 660 replaced the boats received from the USSR pr.205 and pr.1241
Polish rocket boat project 660
The rest of the newly admitted NATO countries of Eastern Europe, in contrast to Poland, occupy a more moderate position with respect to our country. However, this does not prevent the adoption of Western military equipment and the creation of military bases on their territory. So the Czech Republic and Hungary received from Sweden fighters JAS-39C / D Gripen, and from Spain military transport CASA C-295.
Fighters "Gripen" at the Czech airport Kaslav
Czech military transport C-295 at the airport in the vicinity of Prague
At the same time combat helicopters Mi-8, Mi-24 and Mi-35 are still in service in the Czech Republic.
Czech combat helicopters Mi-24
In Slovakia, which was once part of Czechoslovakia, the MiG-29 remains in service.
Structurally, the Slovak Air Force consists of air defense units armed with Russian-made air defense missile systems С-300П.
Slovak CMS 300P
The backbone of the Bulgarian Air Force continues to form combat aircraft of Soviet production. So, in addition to the 15 MiG-29, 12 Mig-21bis and UM are retained. For aviation support of ground units are designed 14 attack aircraft Su-25.
Bulgarian MiG-29 fighters at Graf Ignatievo airbase
The C-200 and C-300П SAM systems deployed in Soviet times are deployed in the vicinity of the capital Sofia.
The Bulgarian fleet has three fairly old Vilingen frigates transferred by Belgium, one patrol ship of the 1159 project, two anti-submarine corvettes of the 1241.2 project, one missile boat of the 1241.1T project, one minesweeper.
Bulgarian warships in the naval base Varna
In the Romanian Air Force, the main combat aircraft is the MiG-21 fighter modifications: LanceR A, LanceR B, LanceR C. The MiG-21М and MiG-21bis fighters, as well as the MiG-21U fighters, were modernized by the Romanian company Aerostar and the Israeli Elbit Systems. At the moment in operation is about 25 aircraft. Several vehicles were lost in flight accidents after the upgrade.
Romanian MiG-21 at Campia-Turzi airbase
To replace the MiGs, ordered 12 used fighter aircraft modifications F-16AM and F-16BM. There is also a 20 military combat aircraft IAR-99, 3 military transport An-26, 5 C-130 and 7 C-27J, about 70 helicopters.
Romanian military transport aircraft at the airport of Otopeni, Bucharest
Romania remained the only country in Europe where the Soviet Volkhov C-75М3 air defense systems remained in service with air defense units.
Positions of the Romanian S-C-75
In parallel with the Soviet-made air defense systems, the Hawk anti-aircraft complexes are being used as part of military assistance from NATO allies.
Romanian naval forces are designed primarily to protect the national interests of the state in the Black Sea and on the river. Danube, as well as actions within the Allied obligations of the North Atlantic Alliance.
In the Romanian Navy, there is one 877 project diesel-electric submarine obtained in 1986. However, at present, due to financial difficulties, this boat is not combat-ready and is in conservation.
Romanian diesel-electric submarines “Delfin” in the Constantza naval base
The Romanian fleet includes two former British frigates of the 22 type and two own-built frigates, and three IAR-330 Puma helicopters are in service with the helicopter group. Also in service are four corvettes and three missile boats of the 1241 project.
Romanian navy warships in Constanta naval base
Three river monitors of the 1316 project and several artillery boats are intended for operations on the Danube.
The armed forces of the Baltic States - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are a purely decorative attribute of statehood. The ground forces, the Air Force and Navy of these countries, do not represent any real strength.
At the beginning of 2004, the military-political leadership of the Baltic countries addressed NATO with a formal request to protect their airspace from possible invasion by Russia and Belarus. Members of the alliance, in accordance with the commitments undertaken, began to carry out his patrol. This event takes place from 30 March 2004, as part of Operation Baltic era polising.
Eurofighter Typhoon fighters at the Šiauliai Lithuanian airbase
To this end, tactical fighter jets of the NATO member states' air forces are deployed on a rotary basis at the Šiauliai Lithuanian airbase. Change of units occurs every four months.
When flying over this region, the main official task of the alliance's air fighters is air patrols to prevent "aggression from Russia".
Currently, the armed forces of the European members of the North Atlantic Alliance are not able to conduct large-scale offensive operations without military assistance from the United States.
The ground forces of the NATO ground forces are based on nine rapid deployment corps (AK BR): four multinational - German-Dutch AK BR (Münster, FRG), German-Danish-Polish BR (Szczecin, Poland), Eurocorpus BR (Strasbourg, France), united by the AK BR (Innsworth, UK) and the five national AK BR of NATO - Turkish, Greek, Spanish, Italian and French.
The alliance’s ground forces include: about 11 000 tanks, about 22 000 armored vehicles, about 13000 artillery systems of 100 caliber mm and more. In the combined air force there are: more than 3500 combat aircraft and about 1 000 attack helicopters.
The real combat capability of these seemingly impressive forces is not great. The experience of combat operations by the European contingents in Afghanistan and Iraq revealed extremely high sensitivity to casualties and low motivation for service in difficult living conditions.
However, in terms of the number of combat aircraft and helicopters, NATO forces in Europe exceed the Russian Air Force, the percentage of combat-ready aircraft from our “European partners” is also higher. In the waters of the Baltic and Black Seas, there is a significant superiority of the NATO Navy over the Russian fleet.
All satellite images courtesy of Google Earth.