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​Angola Wants to Be the US Ally, Its "Excess" Soviet Weapons Can Help the Armed Forces of Ukraine

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BMP-2 IFV of the armed forces of Angola / Illustrative photo from open sources
BMP-2 IFV of the armed forces of Angola / Illustrative photo from open sources

This may turn into a tendency, considering that Morocco already helped Ukraine with T-72 spare parts and "extra" tanks

News24 reports that one of the "traditional" russa’s allies in Africa, which is Angola, has decided to turn away from the Kremlin, and now has set a course for rapprochement with the USA and NATO, and the re-equipment of its army with Western-made weapons.

This is a significant loss for Moscow, as Angola was formally one of the largest buyers of russian-made weapons. The Kremlin even promised Angolan joint projects on the construction of defense enterprises, in exchange russians hoped to gain access to fish resources and deposits of precious stones.

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T-55 tanks of the armed forces of Angola, Angola Wants to Be the US Ally, Its Excess Soviet Weapons Can Help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Defense Express
T-55 tanks of the armed forces of Angola / Illustrative photo from open sources

Such a situation can play a significant role in strengthening Ukraine. The stockpiles of "Warsaw Pact" weapons in Eastern Europe have essentially run out, so the White House is looking for weapons from "alternative sources" to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine. For example, negotiations with the countries of the Middle East about a possible "exchange" to speed up the supply of NASAMS complexes for Ukraine.

Or that Morocco, as an important ally for the United States in North Africa in terms of the Ramstein format, allocated spare parts for the T-72 tanks for Ukraine, and donated some of its tanks for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which were transferred for repair at the power of the Czech Excalibur Army. Therefore, it is quite likely that as well as Angola wants a more substantial rapprochement with the USA, the White House will also ask this country to "share" weapons or other resources with Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

T-72B and M60 tanks of the ground forces of Morocco, Angola Wants to Be the US Ally, Its Excess Soviet Weapons Can Help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Defense Express
T-72B and M60 tanks of the ground forces of Morocco / Illustrative photo from open sources

Angola traditionally has large remnants of Soviet weapons received in the 1970s and 1980s from Moscow and Cuba during the war against South Africa. The Military Balance 2022 provides the following data on the Soviet or russian military equipment in Angola.

Armored vehicles:

- Tanks: 200 units of the T-552AM2 (Czechoslovak production), 50 units of the T-62 and 50 units of the T-72M1, 10 units of the PT-76;

- Other armored vehicles: 600 units of the BRDM-2, 250 units of the BMP-1 and BMP-2, overall 170 units of the BTR-152, BTR-60 and BTR-80, 31 units of the MT-LB.\

T-72 tank of the armed forces of Angola, Angola Wants to Be the US Ally, Its Excess Soviet Weapons Can Help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Defense Express
T-72 tank of the armed forces of Angola / Illustrative photo from open sources

Artillery:

  • Self-propelled guns: four units of the 2S3 Akatsyia SPG, 12 units of the 2S7 Pion SPG and a few 2S1 Gvozdika SPG;
  • Towed artillery: 523 units of the D-30, 48 units of the M-46 and four D-20 howitzers; 750 units of the 82mm and 120mm mortars;
  • MLRS: 58 units of the BM-21 Grad and 40 units of the RM-70 Vampire.
  • 98 combat aircraft, including 6 units of the Su-27 and Su-27UB and 10 units of the Su-25 and Su-25UB;
  • 57 transport aircraft, including four Il-76, six An-12, 12 An-26 and two An-32 aircraft, eight An-72;
  • almost 130 helicopters, including 34 units of the Mi-24 and 22 units of the Mi-35 helicopters, 27 Mi-8 helicopters and eight Mi-171Sh.
2C7 Pion self-propelled 203mm cannon of the armed forces of Angola, Angola Wants to Be the US Ally, Its Excess Soviet Weapons Can Help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Defense Express
2C7 Pion self-propelled 203mm cannon of the armed forces of Angola / Illustrative photo from open sources

Aviation:

  • 98 combat aircraft, including 6 units of the Su-27 and Su-27UB and 10 units of the Su-25 and Su-25UB;
  • 57 transport aircraft, including four Il-76, six An-12, 12 An-26 and two An-32 aircraft, eight An-72;
  • almost 130 helicopters, including 34 units of the Mi-24 and 22 units of the Mi-35 helicopters, 27 Mi-8 helicopters and eight Mi-171Sh.

Air defense means:

  • A certain number of the Strela-2, Strela-3 and Igla-1 MANPADS, an unspecified number of ZSU-23-4 Shilka, 450 units of the ZPU-4, ZU-23-2 and S-60 anti-aircraft guns;
  • 15 units of the 9K33 Osa complexes, 10 complexes of the Strela-10, 12 complexes of the S-125M1.
ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft gun of the armed forces of Angola, Angola Wants to Be the US Ally, Its Excess Soviet Weapons Can Help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Defense Express
ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft gun of the armed forces of Angola / Illustrative photo from open sources

But then it is worth making such an amendment. The defense budget of Angola in 2021 went down to 1.4 billion dollars overall, with the total number of 100 thousand servicemen. Accordingly, a significant part of the weapons described above may in fact be not in proper condition, due to lack of enough money for maintenance.

Accordingly, the maximum that Ukraine should count on here is the transfer of either factually defective equipment with subsequent restoration at the factories of the countries of the former Warsaw Pact, or the transfer of spare parts.

BM-21 Grad MLRS of the armed forces of Angola, Angola Wants to Be the US Ally, Its Excess Soviet Weapons Can Help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Defense Express
BM-21 Grad MLRS of the armed forces of Angola / Illustrative photo from open sources

The example of Morocco can also show a quantitative "maximum": this country, according to the media, donated a certain amount of spare parts for the T-72 and up to 30 tanks, while there are about 40 units of the T-72B in service and another 60 vehicles of this type in storage.

On the other hand, Ukraine now needs any kind of military assistance, even components for old Soviet equipment. Taking into account the fact that during the liberation of Kherson Oblast, Ukraine’s military gathered russia’s T-62 for at least one tank battalion, and some of these vehicles are already used against russians themselves.

RM-70 Vampire MLRS (probably a simplified version) of the Armed Forces of Angola/ Illustrative photo from open sources, Angola Wants to Be the US Ally, Its Excess Soviet Weapons Can Help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Defense Express
RM-70 Vampire MLRS (probably a simplified version) of the Armed Forces of Angola / Illustrative photo from open sources
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