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The South China Sea Always Has PLAN Warships

May 20, 2018

A 30mm cannon of the frigate Jingmen. Via China Military Online.

In keeping with its monthly schedule of naval demonstrations, the Chinese military’s official news website published photos from a recent training exercise in the contentious South China Sea. The event involved the guided missile frigate Jingmen (Hull 506) at an undisclosed location. According to the PLA this was part of “a live-fire training exercise in waters of the South China Sea in early May.”

The activities of the Jingmen subscribed to a familiar pattern where the PLAN sends flotillas that conduct limited war games. These usually involve discharging onboard weapons and various crew oriented drills.

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Duterte Just Explained His Strategic Conundrum

May 19, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

This month has produced undeniable evidence of the PLA fortifying its claim over the South China Sea. A week after a leading US think tank revealed that anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles were deployed on the artificial islands constructed over the Fiery Cross, Subi, and Mischief Reefs the Philippines’ pro-Chinese head of state was aboard the BRP Davao del Sur–an LPD made in Indonesia–to address his country’s territorial problems.

Since taking office President Duterte has adopted a soft approach to the South China Sea conflict by fawning over his counterpart in Beijing and making sure to insist on Philippine sovereignty over the disputed waters when facing a local audience.

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Armored Cars: Astais-Kamaz Patrol

May 19, 2018

Russian security forces have a new MRAP tailored for urban combat. During this year’s Victory Day parade in Red Square a column of RosGvardiya or National Guard participated aboard their 4×4 and 6×6 Patrols. The Patrol is a mine-resistant troop carrier assembled by the company Astais using a Kamaz chassis.

The Patrol’s appearance subscribes to a familiar layout and it can be mistaken for a different vehicle used by the Russian military. But the Patrol-A (4×4) and Patrol SN (6×6) are new models that were first revealed in 2016. The Patrol-A in particular is recognizable for having symmetrical steps on either side of the cab.

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Highlights of OEWatch For May 2018

May 14, 2018

Each month the US Army’s think tank the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) publishes its open source OEWatch magazine as a free download on the APAN Community Network.The May 2018 issue is 70 pages long and has a copyright free image of Chinese President Xi Jinping on the cover to accompany the title China’s Reach. The latest OEWatch is divided into six sections and all the entries related to China are highlighted on the table of contents.

There has been a slight change in this month’s editorial lineup. Karen Kaya is no longer listed as an editor. The magazine is now assembled by Tom Wilhelm, Matthew Stein, and Lucas Winter with help from a pool of contributors.

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Here Are Snippets From A Recent Iranian Military Parade

May 12, 2018

Hardly a day after US President Donald Trump announced his administration is withdrawing from the JCPOA, the 2015 treaty that suspended Iran’s nuclear program, multiple locations in Syria were struck. Based on details shared by Israel’s defense ministry and various news agencies, at least six locations between Damascus and the Golan Heights were attacked by the IDF with missiles. The reason for the air offensive was to neutralize suspected Iranian bases that were either operational or under construction.

It’s now apparent an even more destructive regional war is brewing in the Middle East and its aim is rolling back Iran’s growing clout over its Arab neighbors. But how prepared is the Islamic Republic for a clash with the combined strength of Israel and the US? A military parade on April 18 to commemorate the armed force’s role in the Iran-Iraq War offers some clues.

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The Kazakhstan Military Showed Off Its Weapons This Week

May 11, 2018

Via Kadex.kz.

On May 7 the largest republic in Central Asia commemorated “Defender of the Fatherland Day” or just “Defender Day” with an elaborate live fire demonstration at the remote Otar military base in Zhambyl Province. Along with thousands of spectators, the aging President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has led Kazakhstan since 1991, appeared in battle dress uniform to observe the troops.

Defender Day is Kazakhstan’s own version of those once-a-year events when governments allow the military to show off their prowess. Defender Day in Otar didn’t disappoint and provided a unique glimpse into how the Kazakh armed forces fights conventional battles.

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The T-14 Tank Was In Red Square Again

May 11, 2018

Via Russian TV.

Thousands of Russian soldiers along with their vehicles, followed by several dozen aircraft, delivered another memorable performance to commemorate 73 years since the Soviet Union crushed Nazi Germany. This year’s Victory Day parade on May 9 was fortunate to have clear weather until the end, unlike the one in 2017 when an overcast sky forced the cancellation of the air force’s flyover.

As expected all of the latest armaments that were rolled out for the Russian military this decade took part. There were new additions as well, such as the BMPT-72 tank support vehicle, the Uran 9 unmanned fighting vehicle and its mine-clearing sibling, two types of drones, a snowmobile for the Arctic Circle, and a column of armored trucks used by the National Guard. Of course, the T-14 tank and its relatives were fixtures in the parade.

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DSA 2018: Pakistan Dips Its Toes In ASEAN

May 9, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

A low-key presence at the recent DSA 2018 arms show in Kuala Lumpur were a cluster of organizations from Pakistan. While the Malaysian armed forces have turned to Muslim states like Turkey for some of its procurement needs, Pakistan’s reputation as a supplier for Southeast Asian militaries is a work in progress.

No less than the Defense Exports Promotion Organization (DEPO) showed up at the DSA 2018 venue–the spacious MITEC–to shepherd the different state-owned companies that were exhibiting. These included manufacturers for armored vehicles, apparel, small arms, communications equipment and various types of ordnance. But by the end of the show on April 19 no deals were announced between the Malaysian defense ministry and any Pakistani enterprise.

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Armored Cars: Plasan Stormer EX

May 8, 2018

Via Plasan.

The Stormer EX is the largest among the current selection of SandCats offered by the armored solutions manufacturer Plasan. These are light trucks based on the Ford F-series that can be assembled to a customer’s requirements. The SandCat, however, has always emphasized mobility and protection rather than interior volume.

The Stormer EX is meant to function as a cost-effective personnel carrier for infantry who deploy on counter-terrorist or peacekeeping operations. Its armor level is raised to STANAG III and the hull is elongated so it can fit a total of 11 passengers. These include the driver and co-driver in the cab, a lone gunner on the roof turret and eight dismounts.

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DSA 2018: General Starlight Unveils The Quadro-S

May 7, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

One of the Canadian exhibitors at the recent DSA 2018 arms show was General Starlight Company Inc. (GSCI) whose presence at the event was meant to promote its latest products. This includes a multipurpose “Compact Fusion Thermal Sight” called the Quadro-S.

The Quadro-S is supposed to be used as either a handheld surveillance tool or a weapon sight on NATO infantry small arms, including the ubiquitous M4 carbine. The device is being marketed as an affordable and unique piece of kit that, according to GSCI, “costs less than any other high-performance Fusion system currently on the market.” Having debuted in Asia, the Quadro-S will next be featured at Eurosatory 2018 in France.

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Nobody Cares About The Indian Arjun Tank

May 7, 2018

Live demonstration of combat vehicles at Defexpo 2018 in Chennai.

One of the highlights from last month’s DEFEXPO 2018–the massive arms show organized by the Indian government and held every two years–was a public demonstration to showcase locally made armored vehicles. Without any doubt, the lone Arjun Mk. II eclipsed the rest of the participants, including an impressive wheeled APC and a stationary howitzer left in the background.

The 68 ton MBT is an upgraded variant of the original Arjun that only entered service in 2011. A mere 124 Arjun Mk. I’s, which are patterned after the Leopard 2, are deployed with the Indian Army. Its sibling the Arjun Mk. II, on the other hand, isn’t even in low-rate production. How come?

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DSA 2018: Honeywell Shares Its Regional Plans

May 7, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

North American companies enjoyed a strong presence at last month’s Defense Services Asia 2018 held in Kuala Lumpur. The leading arms show in the region just marked its 30th anniversary with a record number of visitors–the organizer claims 50,000 warm bodies poured in–and 30 national pavilions were set up to cluster the exhibits by country.

One of the big names present at DSA 2018, which took place from April 16 to 19, was Honeywell Aerospace. The company’s PR reached out to 21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) for a discussion about their potential breakthroughs in ASEAN and the full range of Honeywell’s specialties.

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