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The PLA Are Rapidly Adopting This Truck Howitzer

July 22, 2020

Via Chinese state media.

With Beijing committed to a tougher foreign policy ever since it emerged from its struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic, the PLA’s rapid modernization continues uninterrupted. A small but significant transformation for the ground forces is the new PCL-181 truck howitzer, which is also available for export as the “SH15,” that Chinese media claims is meant to replace the aging 152mm and 130mm towed howitzers still in service in some commands. Given its organizational size, the PLA does maintain significant inventories of aging weapons but the sheer output of state-owned military industries can change this within a few years. Equipping entire brigades with a truck howitzer mounting a 155mm gun is a firepower boost too great to ignore.

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Turkey Is Giving The M60 Patton Its Best Upgrade Yet

July 15, 2020

Via Turkish media.

Six decades (or 62 years, to be exact) after its production started the M60 Patton continues to evolve in service with one NATO ally. Turkey maintains huge inventories of M48 and M60A1/A3 tanks and keeps many operational alongside the army’s German-made Leopards. This week the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSB) publicized its efforts to enhance the M60T, a variant of the Patton tank with extensive upgrades. The highlight of the M60T is having the Pulat active protection system (APS) installed on six points around the hull giving 360 degree coverage against missiles and projectiles.

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Turkish Naval Weapons Are Rapidly Advancing

July 14, 2020

Via SSB.

On July 1 the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSB) and local manufacturer Roketsan successfully tested the ATMACA anti-ship missile from a stationary launcher on a coastal site. The SSB later promoted the event as a milestone where the ATMACA traveled a distance of more than 200 kilometers before hitting a mock target at sea. Roketsan, which is responsible for all domestically made precision weapons, promotes the ATMACA as a multi-platform weapon suited for small and large naval vessels. Because of its geography and role within the NATO alliance Turkey has little need for a surface fleet other than territorial defense. But the current programs for naval modernization suggest the branch has bigger goals in the decade to come.

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Highlights Of OEWatch For June 2020

June 30, 2020

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. OEWatch’s June issue runs 83 pages divided among five sections spanning Eurasia, the Indo-Pacific, MENA, Africa, and Latin America. Editorial duties are shared among Tom Wilhelm, Karen Kaya, and designer Thomas Tolare with input by a large pool of contributing writers.

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Knowing The Difference Between Chinese Type 99 And Type 96 Tanks

June 29, 2020

The Type 99. Via Chinese state media.

With China and India almost going to war two weeks ago after a deadly border skirmish there has been an uptick of media depicting the former’s military strength. But the dazzling variety of Chinese military equipment can still leave readers confused. For example, just as the PLA sent additional mechanized units to the Tibetan plateau the accompanying propaganda reveals the contrasts in the ground forces’ inventory. When it comes to battle tanks not one but three models are suited for combat operations in high altitudes. The two most likely to be used in a full-blown conflict are the Type 99/99A and the Type 96/96A.

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The Russian Military Is Upgrading All Its Weapons

June 27, 2020

BMP-2M IFVs at the June 24 parade in Moscow. Via Russian media.

Russia’s annual Victory Day parade took place a month and a half after its intended date because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the spectacle in Red Square on June 24 was much larger than anticipated with several new and upgraded weapon systems featured. It’s undeniable that even amid the present difficulties Moscow has ample resources for building up its hard power regardless of sanctions. This is becoming all too common for the countries deemed geopolitical rivals of the US; their economic size may not be on par but this has no relation to how fast their military strength is growing.

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Get Immediate Access To The Global Arms Industry

June 26, 2020

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Since it began forging media partnerships with events organizers in 2014 the 21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) has grown to a trusted platform where some of the biggest “defense industry” events are featured. Whether high profile arms shows or niche gatherings focused on new technology, 21AAR is a valuable resource for organizers who want extra reach and exposure. But readers can now enjoy the privilege of having access to the latest events in security, technology, and military industries in a few easy steps. These won’t require sharing any personal data and offers a rare perspective on the inner workings of the global arms trade. How is this possible?

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Iran Just Flexed Its Anti-Ship Missiles

June 23, 2020

Via Iranian media.

Last week the Islamic Republic once again demonstrated how it can shut down the Persian Gulf and nearby waters using anti-ship missiles. The ground and naval exercises held on June 18, a Thursday, involved a coastal defense unit and at least two naval ships–this much was revealed by Iranian media. As in previous years a live missile, believed to be part of a common family, was launched from its transporter and struck a target vessel, resulting in a catastrophic explosion. Separate launches were carried out at sea for an extended range missile with unconfirmed results.

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The Chinese PLA Have An Incredible Light Tank

June 22, 2020

Via Chinese state media.

There’s now a concerted effort by Chinese news agencies to showcase the PLA’s technological advantages as it faces off against India in a disputed border. This has brought some attention to the latest equipment used by the ground forces such as the Type 15 “lightweight MBT” (pictured above) that entered service a few years ago. This tank weighs less than 40 tons and is armed with a 105mm main gun fed by an autoloader. Its external appearance suggests a protection level that doesn’t encumber the vehicle and affect its mobility–the front of the hull is covered in reactive panels and the hull is formed by a combination of the same and spaced armor.

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Are You Prepared For The Next DSEI Japan?

June 21, 2020

Via DSEI Japan 2019.

The second installment of Japan’s biggest arms show is taking place from May 19 to 21 in the same venue–the Makuhari Messe. The first DSEI Japan held in 2019 was a success thanks to a strong promotional effort by the organizer Clarion Events, who are best known for the DSEI arms show in London, and the full cooperation of the defense ministry with its sub-agencies. Although Japan’s opaque military industries have participated in trade shows before it wasn’t until DSEI Japan was launched that a large-scale fully integrated arms show was organized in the country.

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Japan Is Slowly Preparing Its Own Stealth Fighter

June 15, 2020

X-2 demonstrator. Via ATLA.

The public document titled Defense Programs and Budget of Japan – Overview of FY2020 Budget Request (download here) is a useful guide to the country’s immediate national security goals and among its recurring programs is fifth-generation combat aircraft. The JASDF does have plans for acquiring additional F-35A’s and at least six F-35B’s–the latter variant are probably meant for the navy–but there are also new objectives regarding the “F-X” or a locally made twin engine stealth fighter. According to the budget request published by the defense ministry and detailed on page 14 the “F-X” program costs $103 million (at current exchange rates) for “Japan-led development” and another $70 million to complete its mission system integration.

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The US Wants China In A Nuclear Weapons Treaty

June 10, 2020

As the US military is positioning itself in Asia to deter China’s territorial claims another bold move is taking shape on the diplomatic front. On June 9, a Tuesday, the Trump administration’s appointed negotiator for nuclear weapons Amb. Marshall S. Billingslea invited China to join upcoming talks with Russia for extending the New START. Less than a day later Billingslea responded to the Chinese media rejecting his offer and cast shade on the US’ biggest geopolitical rival. “Achieving Great Power status requires having Great Power responsibility,” he tweeted, albeit without withdrawing his offer with a closing “Seat waiting for China in Vienna.”

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