Skip to content

The Drone Index: Baykar Bayraktar Akinci

November 23, 2021
A model of the Akinci on display at the SAHA Expo 2021. Via Baykar.

The idea of Turkish “air power” has reached an unexpected inflection point. While its air force is languishing for want of new fighters–the F-35A is now beyond reach–efforts to assemble a fifth-generation multirole fighter are equally in limbo. Meanwhile, the country’s aerospace manufacturers are enjoying their heyday for the positive media coverage given Turkish drones flown in different localized wars. Baykar gets the lion’s share of attention for the success of its TB2 UCAV but its latest high altitude long endurance (HALE) attack drone surpasses all expectations.

Read more…

Chinese Trucks Help Protect Tajikistan

November 18, 2021
Chinese-made pickup trucks used by police commandos. Via Tajikistan state media.

Still holding back on formal recognition of the Taliban and worried about its vulnerable border the Central Asian state ruled by Pres. Emomali Rahmon is constantly advertising its military strength. Whether these are well-orchestrated mobilizations or live fire exercises with the Russian military the whole point is the government shows it has everything under control. This was driven home once more when Rahmon attended a small parade on November 10 marking an anniversary of the police forces. Footage from the event was helpful in identifying the other types of Chinese equipment delivered to Tajikistan’s domestic security apparatus.

Read more…

The VN-22 Is The Ultimate Wheeled APC

November 18, 2021
Via Chinese state media.

Aside form supplying the PLA and other branches of the military China’s state-owned companies are rolling out so many new weapons each year that global demand can’t keep up with the oversupply. This doesn’t seem to bother Norinco, the manufacturer best known for their tanks and artillery (they make drones too), whose participation at Air Show China 2021 involved the usual mud-splattered obstacle course for its combat vehicles. Whether indoors or outdoors, Norinco’s products were unmissable, including a new wheeled APC that looks like it can do whatever. The VN-22 is an amphibious 6×6 vehicle encased in add-on armor with a roof spacious enough for a lot of different weapons.

Read more…

China Is A Supermarket Of Air Defense Weaponry

November 17, 2021
Via Chinese state media.

With a military-industrial sector geared for overproduction the efforts by China’s government to promote its military technology has reached absurd heights. For the duration of Air Show China 2021, also known as the Zhuhai Air Show, a spacious indoor venue was crowded with armaments Beijing wanted to sell abroad. More than unimaginable quantities of cheap assault rifles the higher end of lethality seen at the exhibition received the most glowing coverage from Chinese media. A certified star at Zhuhai was an updated mobile air defense vehicle that appeared in previous installments yet consistently failed to win over buyers. The FK-2000 (pictured above) still looks impressive though.

Read more…

China Is Ahead In Building Battle Robots

November 16, 2021
Via Chinese state media.

In the six days occupied by Air Show China 2021 (September 28 – October 3) more lethal technology was displayed under one roof than at any comparable event in Europe or North America. Although the main attraction were the aerobatics demos by locally manufactured aircraft a spacious indoor venue was reserved for exportable weapon systems and equipment. In fact, this year’s emphasis on the military products of state-owned manufacturers was too strong. Gone was any pretense of a thriving civil aerospace sector; China on its own is a gargantuan weapons factory.

Read more…

Norinco Is Exporting A Hybrid Wheeled Tank

November 13, 2021
Via Chinese media/Norinco.

Over the years the aerospace exhibition in Zhuhai has given an ever increasing amount of floor area to the land warfare portfolios maintained by China’s biggest military-industrial enterprises. Not surprisingly, Norinco’s offerings are the broadest and most diverse and this makes it difficult keeping tabs on all the technology they are allowed to export. Norinco also enjoys the privilege of an outdoor demonstration where its vehicles run circuits to impress a live audience and potential foreign end users. A rare surprise at this year’s Zhuhai, or Air Show China 2021, was a new wheeled combat vehicle that didn’t get enough publicity.

Read more…

The Drone Index: CASC-ATFTC FH-97

November 12, 2021
Via Chinese state media.

What made Air Show China 2021 different from its previous installments was this year’s overwhelming emphasis on military technology. Although China’s aerospace sector has never been modest about its ambitions the presence of so many combat aircraft featured at the week-long show (from September 28 until October 3) was unprecedented in scale and variety. When it came to fixed wing unmanned aircraft there were at least eight models on display indoors and outdoors. It’s difficult to judge which was the most impressive but the FH-97 is close enough. When the day comes that it teams with the PLAN’s carrier-based stealth aircraft regional adversaries may find themselves outmatched to an unbearable degree.

Read more…

Tajikistan Has Formidable Air Power

November 9, 2021
Via Tajikistan media.

The poorest country in Central Asia arranged unprecedented military exercises throughout this year to deter the mounting chaos in neighboring Afghanistan. Even when the Taliban seized Kabul on August 15 and consolidated their power in the weeks that followed Tajikistan refused to recognize them and even welcomed scores of fleeing Afghan forces. Dushanbe’s support for the vanquished regime of exiled former President Ghani isn’t a secret; the now fugitive Vice President Saleh and his allies in the “National Resistance Front” are ethnic Tajiks with firm ties across the Panj River. Although Tajikistan enjoys a large presence of Russian forces inside its borders its own military isn’t a paper tiger.

Read more…

China Is Exporting Its Newest Mobile SAM

November 8, 2021

Via Chinese state media.

On the condition they aren’t in the NATO alliance or recognized as a NATO partner–or caught in a feud with Beijing–so many countries are now able to afford world-class air defenses made by China. Although Russia is very aggressive in promoting its exportable air defense technology China’s state-owned companies–and some private sector manufacturers–offer a broader catalog than any other competitor. The newest addition is the HQ-17AE, a road mobile short-range SAM launcher, that made its latest appearance in this year’s Air Show China. The HQ-17AE is easily comparable to the Russian-made Tor-M2 on a wheeled transporter but there’s no public confirmation if its manufacturer CASC had some Russian help.

Read more…

Tajikistan Arms Its Soldiers With Chinese Rifles

November 5, 2021
The Type 56-2 assault rifle. Via Tajikistan state media.

This year produced incontrovertible evidence that Central Asia’s poorest country–that’s not Afghanistan–is a net recipient of weapons from its superpower neighbor. Long dismissed as having a token army thanks to a near-permanent Russian base garrisoned by some 5,500 mechanized troops it turns out Tajikistan possesses the means for not just protecting itself but asserting its sovereign will. This should have been obvious when Tajik troops overran a border town along the border with Kyrgyzstan in late April. But it wasn’t until July that a general mobilization took place followed by large-scale exercises with the Russians. Ever since the Taliban swept into Kabul on August 15 the joint exercises have continued and gotten bigger.

Read more…

North Korean Anti-Tank Missiles Are Cutting Edge

November 1, 2021
Via North Korean media.

The “Self Defense 2021” exhibition in Pyongyang from mid-October gave an extremely rare glimpse into the updated arsenal being prepared by one of the world’s poorest countries. Kim Jong Un did have reason to gloat in his podium where a new main battle tank, first revealed at a military parade in 2020, was parked. After all, arranged along one side of the venue were his country’s road mobile ballistic missiles, including an ICBM armed with a hypersonic glider, and on the opposite side were the latest rocket and self-propelled artillery the army had amassed. But media coverage of the event revealed more; smaller weapon systems were found in outlying stands that prove beyond any doubt how meticulous North Korean war planners are.

Read more…

Why Did Iran And North Korea Make The Same SAM?

October 31, 2021
Via Iranian media.

Although not a secret, Iran’s intense military build up is entering its fifth year, and the results are still defying expectations. The network of state-owned manufacturers that supply the armed forces have accelerated their efforts ever since the JCPOA’s collapse in 2018, which set Washington, DC and Tehran on a war path, resulting in the latter’s rapid introduction of so many new weapon systems. The exercise called “Defenders of the Velayat Skies 1400” held in mid-October became a showcase for new air defense equipment and one particular model has never been seen before–an analog to the Russian-made Tor-M1 but on a repurposed six-wheeler truck. (Pictured above.)

Read more…
%d bloggers like this: