Modern Warfare: Ukrainian Border Guards in Donbas Suffer Retina Burns From Laser Weapons


Three Ukrainian border guards at the Marinka checkpoint have suffered retina burns of varying severity while conducting terrain surveillance using optical equipment. The Ukrainian State Border Service suspects that prohibited special purpose laser weapons were used against them.

“The nature of the burns and preliminary medical diagnosis leads to the conclusion that it’s possible that the enemy used high-power light emitters, which could be the so called ‘dazzling lasers,’” the State Border Service website says. The border guards were hospitalized at the Central Clinical Hospital of the State Border Service for specialized treatment.

Information about the possible use of the laser weapons by the pro-Russian separatists was brought to the attention of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and representatives of international and human rights organizations. It is worth noting that in Russia, blinding lasers are used by the troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and are mass-produced.

In accordance with the “Additional Protocol to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects” (Vienna, October 1995), it’s prohibited to use laser weapons specifically designed for use solely in combat or including the intent to causing permanent blindness to sight organs of a person who doesn’t use optical instruments.

Read the Original Article at  UA Wire

Know Your Weapons: The Spetsnaz AS VAL Assault Rifle & VSS Sniper Rifle


VSS Sniper Rifle

VSS Sniper Rifle

Russian Commandos Carry Suppressed Rifles That Can Shoot Through Body Armor

The AS Val and VSS are fearsome weapons


In the early 1980s, the Soviet Union’s Central Institute for Precision Machine Building — TsNIITochMash — developed the AS Val suppressed assault rifle and the derivative VSS sniper rifle specifically to outfit Russian special forces and intelligence agencies.

They’re both powerful weapons.

With more and more NATO troops wearing body armor, Russian special forces teams wanted a silent weapon that was also capable of penetrating armor — and could lay down enough fire for fast, violent raids targeting NATO command-and-control centers.

The resulting Val, with its integral suppressor, spurred the development of a whole family of suppressed weapons, including the VSS. The Soviets also designed two new nine-by-39-millimeter armor-piercing rounds — the SP-6 for suppressed assault rifles and the more-accurate SP-5 for suppressed sniperrifles such as the VSS.

The VSS shares approximately three-quarters of its parts with the AS Val, with some differences in stock furniture and the optics mounts. Both weapons are select-fire and have integral suppressors that feature a conventional ported barrel, expansion chamber and baffle system layout.

Both the AS Val and the VSS were ready for frontline use by 1987.

AS VAL Assault Rifle

AS VAL Assault Rifle

The AS Val and VSS proved to be very effective and remain in service with elements of the Russian army and special forces and Moscow’s intelligence and security forces. The suppressed rifles saw action during the last years of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and played prominent roles in the Chechen wars and the conflict in Georgia.

Most recently, they have seen action during Russia’s interventions in Crimea and Syria.

During the early 1990s, the Kremlin introduced the low-cost VSK-94 to supplement the AS Val and VSS. The VSK-94 is based on the 9A-91 carbine — and its suppressor is not integral.

This story originally appeared at Historical Firearms.

Read the Original Article at War is Boring

A Sneek Peak at Russias High Tech War Machine at work in Syria


Russia has been sending fighter jets, drones, and bombers to Syria to bolster the regime of Bashar al-Assad, generating concern and outrage among the United States and its allies. Far less attention has been paid to Moscow’s simultaneous deployment of advanced surveillance, signals intelligence, and electronic warfare equipment that could deal a new blow to the beleaguered, American-backed rebels working to oust him.

In recent weeks, Russia has deployed the IL-20 surveillance aircraft, better known by its NATO name “Coot” and roughly equivalent to the U.S. Navy’s P-3 Orion, a mainstay of the Pentagon’s spy tools. The Russian plane is bristling with high-tech equipment like surveillance radar, electronic eavesdropping gear, and optical and infrared sensors. One of the Kremlin’s premier spy planes, it provides Russian forces with a powerful tool for locating rebel units and assigning targets to its fighter planes. In late September, Syrian rebels posted a video purporting to show the plane flying over a battlefield.

The Russian buildup of intelligence assets and tools of electronic warfare also includes the deployment of the Krasukha-4, an advanced electronic warfare system used to jam radar and aircraft. Its presence in Syria was reported by Sputnik News, the Russian state outlet, which claimed to have spotted the distinctive jamming system in a video report on Russian jets at a Syrian airfield in Latakia. The system and its parabolas are visible at the 6-second mark in the video below.

Read the Remainder at Foreign Policy