Defence Balance in Western Balkans
The aftermath of the end of the Cold War saw dramatic structural changes as far as the military outlook of the Western Balkans is concerned. The disintegration of Yugoslavia, the series of wars in the region and the demise of the Soviet influence has created states like Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia that have to cope with the aforementioned changes and are eager to become involved in the Euro-Atlantic security framework. Still though most of their defense inventory is related to the era of the large Soviet procurements and only in the past few years they are becoming adjusted to the Western type of armaments.
The first state to be examined is Albania. Situated in the most Southern part of Western Balkans, it has initiated over the past few years a model for reorganization of its armed forces. The new general structure of the Army was agreed by the government in December 2002 and plans were drawn relating to new arms procurements, in order to replace the archaic Soviet era weapons. According to the plan by 2010 the country will have manpower composed of 16,500 men as well as 20,000 reservists. The new structure provides the creation of a civil protection unit, a communication battalion, military police, an interception unit, a military hospital and 12 recruitment centers.
Moreover a Rapid Reaction Force of the Albanian army has been created so as for the state to be in par with the international and NATO related developments over the past decade. The Albanian air force has agreed to acquire 12 hellicopters-BO-105 Type- from the German Armyi. There are no notable developments in the Navy that has a minimal presence in the Adriatic Sea.
This country is still affected by the 90’s war era and economic liabilities hindered its abilities as far as the military capabilities are concerned. On 05/10/2005 the Parliament voted the new defense Law for the Bosnia-Herzegovina Armed forcesii. The main points of the new legislation are as follows:
- The creation of a unified defense organization under federal command. The previous situation provided two independent armed forces; one for the Bosnian-Croatian Federation (FBiH), and one for the Serbian Democracy (RS).
- The reconstruction of the Armed Forces in relation to a wider presence of the state in operations abroad like humanitarian ones.
Since 01/01/2006 the separate defense ministries of FBiH and RS were abolished and all their administrative powers have been transferred to the Ministry of Defense for Bosnia-Herzegovina. Moreover the National Service is not in force now and the active forces are numbered around 10,000 men with an equal number of reservists.
The new law dictates the provision of three land brigades and an air force one. Every brigade will be compromised by three infantry battalions. The headquarters operation after 01/07/2007 will be based in Banja Luka, Tusla and Mostar.
The current foreign armed forces are 7,000 men the European Force-EUFOR- under the framework of the ALTHEA mission.
Croatia has been in relative good economic situation and has increased military capabilities in comparison with Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Its recent acceptance for entrance negotiations with the European Union has increased the hopes for an entrance in the European club by 2012iii.
In the defense related developments since 2003 the country has embarked a model for joint staff organization with a unified command and control system for the Army, Navy and Air forceiv. The active personnel are designed for a total manpower 16,000 with an additional 2,000 civil personnel, 2,000 volunteers and 8,000 reservists. The compulsory national service of six months is to be abolished by 2010.
Furthermore around 8% of the Army will have the ability to participate in peacekeeping operations and a further 40% will have the ability of being deployed outside Croatia if it is deemed necessary.
In the Naval and the air force sector there are not any major developments, Croatia relies heavily in its Army for the coming years.
Appendix: Breakdown of Military Resources by Country
Army Personnel: 8,300
Navy Personnel: 2,500
Air Force Personnel: 1,400
Artillery: 54(152 mm), 18(130mm), 90(122mm)
Antiaircraft: 36(85mm), 82(57mm), 12(2x23mm)
Torpedo boats: 1(Shanghai-II), 5 (Huchuan)
Patrol boats: 3(PB Mk III)
Support boats: 2(LCT)
Transport aircraft: 4 (Y-5)
Training aircraft: 4(Yak 18A)
Helicopters: 2(AB205), 7(AB206), and 12(B0-105) under order
Army Personnel: 9,000
Air Force Personnel: 1,000
Tanks : 45(M60A3), 50(AMX-30), 6(M-84), 68(T-55), 14(T-54), 20(T-34)
Armored vehicles: 80(M113), 25(AMX-10), 8(PT-76), 38(OT-M60P), 11(BVP-M80), 4(BOV), 2(BTR-50PK)
Artillery: 119(155mm), 166(122mm), 12(130mm), 36(105mm)
Multiple Rocket Launchers: 10(12x262mm), 36(40x122mm), 80(32x128mm)
Antitank systems: 51(Red Arrow), 158(9K-Malyutka), 51(Fagot), 5(MILAN)
Antiaircraft: 100(2x30mm), 18(2x23mm)
Tactical aircraft: 5(J-22), 6(J-21), 1(IJ-21), 2(NJ-21), 20(P-2)
Training aircraft: 1(UTVA -66), 2(UTVA- 75)
Helicopters: 1(Mi-17), 2(Mi-8MTV), 11(Mi-8T), 13(UH-1H), 2(UH-1V), 7(SA341-Gazelle), 1(Mi-34)
Army Personnel: 12,000
Navy Personnel: 1,400
Air Force Personnel: 2,000
Tanks: 45(M-84), 30(T-72), 192(T-55)
Armored vehicles: 109(BVP-M80), 18(BTR-50)
Artillery-Rocket Launchers: Over a 1,000 with all types(120mm, 12x128mm, 32x128mm, 40x122mm, 12x262mm, 100mm, 105mm, 122mm, 130mm, 152mm, 155mm, 203mm)
Antitank systems:55(9M14M-Malyutka), undisclosed number of(9M111-Fgot) and (9K115 Metis)
Antiaircraft: Possibly 300, of all types(20mm, 3x20mm, 2x30mm, 40mm, 2x57mm, 3x20mm)
Fast Patrol Boats: 2(R-030, 1(R-02)
Patrol boats: 4(140 Solta)
Surface to Sea missiles: 16(RBS15K)
Tactical aircraft: 12(MiG-21)
Transport aircraft: 2(An-32B), 3(An-2), 4(Cl415)
Training aircraft: 20(PC-9M)
Helicopters: 9(Mi-24), 15(Mi-8), 8(Bell 206B)