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Fedor The Robot Soldier Was At Interpolitex

October 20, 2017

See the one on the left. Via Interpolitex.

Russia’s largest annual homeland security event took place this week. Among the hundreds of exhibitors crowded inside the VDNH, a Soviet-era venue known for its commodious interior, was a display featuring an inert robot model known as Fedor. The humanoid construct might not look impressive, but Fedor does represent a serious achievement for mechatronic engineering in Russia.

Fedor’s origins date to 2014 when he was first shown at a demonstration attended by Vladimir Putin. But the robot didn’t acquire its name until 2017, when footage was shared on social media showing Fedor firing pistols, doing pushups, and driving a jeep. While some might question Fedor’s usefulness, its existence is a proof of concept for Russia’s scientific community, who want a bipedal cyborg avatar human operators can use when performing high risk jobs.

21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is a media partner for this year’s Interpolitex.

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Armored Cars: Streit Group Spartan

October 19, 2017

The Spartan is one of the most successful all-purpose armored cars used today and has been in continuous production since 2007. While most tactical 4×4’s never leave their marketing bubble, the Streit Group’s bestselling personnel carrier already distinguished itself in several ongoing war zones.

At first glance the Spartan doesn’t appear out of the ordinary. But its attractiveness as an armored SUV with a lot of bespoke features endeared it to customers. That, and it’s one of the lighter offerings in Streit Group’s portfolio, which includes a pickup truck, at least nine armored cars, a half dozen MRAPs, a couple of mean-looking 6×6 APCs, and the 8×8 Matador.

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The PLA Will Keep Modernizing Until 2035

October 18, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the 19th CPC National Congress in Beijing this week wasn’t too heavy on specifics, but it did set a lot of benchmarks. Some of them were for the armed forces. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) published a summary of the new marching orders for the PLA, which has undergone a historic reorganization during Xi’s time in office.

Three months since the institution celebrated its 90th anniversary with a lavish parade, Xi expects the Communist Party’s war machine to keep improving for decades. Xi promised “mechanization” and “IT application” will be achieved by 2020. He set 2035 as the year for the PLA’s modernization to be “basically completed.” But Xi made it clear China won’t be an aggressive world power and that its military capabilities are for national defense.

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The Battle Of Marawi Is Over

October 18, 2017

Via Reuters.

On October 16 the Philippine military announced the deaths of Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, the two terrorist leaders responsible for the carnage in Marawi. The organization known as the Maute Group attempted to seize the Muslim city in July this year but a quick response by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) caused a drawn out battle instead.

According to the Philippine government the battle to retake Marawi cost 163 soldiers killed, a thousand more injured, and the deaths of 47 civilians. The Maute Group, whose members pledged allegiance to ISIS, also took 1,771 hostages. Most of them were eventually rescued by the Philippine military.

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More Chinese Companies Are Exhibiting At Arms And Security

October 10, 2017

The BTR-4 has been exported to Indonesia and Kazakhstan.

One of Eastern Europe’s biggest arms shows starts today in the Ukrainian capital. The yearly International Specialized Exhibition Arms and Security brings hundreds of local firms, both state and privately owned, under one roof from October 10 to the 14th.

The event is organized by the ministries of defense and internal affairs together with the government’s own arms exporter Ukroboronprom in cooperation with the staff of the International Exhibition Centre, which serves as the venue. In what appears to be an emerging trend, exhibitors from China are becoming more visible. Arms and Security is dominated by Ukrainian companies with smaller participation from its neighbors, Bulgaria and Poland. For the Chinese to foray into the market suggests newfound confidence in either joint ventures or expanding their product distribution.

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Duterte Suggests A New Modernization Plan For The Philippine Military

October 10, 2017

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) might be allowed to seek new sources of funding that could help wean it off an unreliable annual budget. This was mentioned by President Duterte in his speech at the Philippine Army’s 58th “change of command” ceremony on October 5.

According to Duterte, the AFP can relocate from its offices in Fort Bonifacio and lease the property to commercial establishments. The substantial revenue is then used for buying new equipment. But there’s no indication this is going to happen soon.

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Highlights Of OEWatch For October 2017

October 9, 2017

The October issue of OEWatch marks a serious departure from the magazine’s format. Rather than feature the month’s Special Essay on the cover, a section called North Korea: A View From The Neighborhood reigns supreme over the tabulated contents below. OEWatch is available as a free download from the APAN Community Network.

The usual editors and their pool of contributing writers are involved. October’s OEWatch runs 72 pages with seven sections, the longest still being Russia, Ukraine.

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Armored Cars: General Dynamics Foxhound LPPV

October 9, 2017

Via Wikimedia Commons.

One of the newer additions to the British Army’s vehicle fleet is a replacement for the timeless workhorse that was the Land Rover. After more than a decade of getting battered and blown up in Afghanistan, the British MoD floated a requirement for a protected armored car that was less robust than an MRAP but strong enough for soaking bomb damage.

The work was undertaken by a rare joint venture between Ricardo, an engineering firm specializing in automotive parts, together with a handful of subcontractors and a General Dynamics UK subsidiary. A prototype was ready by 2009 called “Ocelot” that was re-christened the Foxhound Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) which entered service in 2011. The first deliveries for 60 vehicles were completed the following year. Unlike so many other armored 4×4’s the Foxhound earned itself a brief combat record to highlight its merits.

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Saudi Arabia Wants Russian Help For Its Arms Industry

October 7, 2017

The King of Saudi Arabia flew to Moscow this week for a series of high level talks with Russia’s leader. The meetings resulted in agreements between the two countries for cooperation in the energy sector and Saudi military manufacturing. The bilateral thaw was further sweetened by Saudi patronage of a very expensive Russian export.

In another success for Rosoboronexport, Rostec, and Almaz Antey, Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum to buy the S-400 air defense system. This makes the Gulf monarchy the latest customer for what’s fast becoming a favorite among countries looking to protect their infrastructure from ballistic missiles.

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How Big An Army Does Iraqi Kurdistan Have?

September 29, 2017

On September 25 Iraqi Kurdistan held a referendum to determine whether they wanted independence or not, with 93% voting “Yes.” The result immediately triggered dire warnings from Ankara, Baghdad, and Tehran. For years the prevailing consensus on Iraqi Kurdistan’s future was the threat it posed to regional peace. If it should ever acquire too much autonomy its aspirations for statehood could provoke a full-blown war with the central government in Baghdad that might draw in Syria, Turkey, and Iran.

This was almost the case from 2011 until 2013 when the US presence in Iraq had disappeared. As a Sunni insurgency boiled over, the oil-rich city of Kirkuk came under siege from Iraqi and Kurdish forces. If not for the rise of ISIS in 2014 the conflict in Iraq today would see the Peshmerga fighting tooth and nail against the Iraqi armed forces.

If a scenario like this does happen in the coming weeks or months, whether it’s the Turkish army on a punitive expedition or Shia militias rolling back Kurdistan’s borders, it’s worth exploring what kind of armed might Erbil can mobilize against its new enemies.

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Bangladesh Is Buying A Dozen Multirole Fighters From Russia

September 24, 2017

The Su-30MKI flown by the Indian Air Force.

The South Asian country first published a tender in the early months of 2017 for eight aircraft with an additional four to follow. Speculation was rife the Bangladesh Air Force preferred the MiG-35 to augment its existing MiG-29’s. But in May it was revealed the Su-30SME emerged as the winner. It’s a twin engine export model with superb performance characteristics and equipped with Russian avionics.

The Su-30SME isn’t to be confused with the Su-30MKI, which is assembled in India and uses Western European subsystems. Neither is it the same as the Su-35S, a.k.a. the Flanker E, ordered by Indonesia.

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Highlights Of OEWatch For September 2017

September 9, 2017

This month’s OEWatch focuses on another menacing US adversary, Iran, and its regional ambitions. The cover features a stock image of an Iranian ballistic missile as a backdrop to the title Considering Iran in bold and caps. September runs a convenient 60 pages and is divided between six sections, with Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and Russia, Ukraine almost tied in length. OEWatch is available as a free download from the APAN Community Network.

Editorial duties are shared between Tom Wilhelm, Karen Kaya, and Lucas Winter together with a pool of contributors for each section.

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