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How Many Nuclear Warheads Does Pakistan Have?

June 16, 2021
Via ISPR.

This year’s Army Day parade on March 25 more than compensated for its absence in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, Pakistan’s missile arsenal was well represented as these are the most sophisticated weapon systems manufactured by the military-industrial sector. Aside from the Nasr large diameter rocket artillery system and the Babur cruise missiles, the Ghaznavi SRBM and the Shaheen III IRBM drove by the VIP pavilion amid glowing commentary from state-owned media. It matters that these road mobile missiles are shown to the public because at some point in the future they will likely be used against India. This begs the question: As a nuclear armed state and the only Muslim country with a nuclear arsenal, how many warheads does Pakistan have?

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Armored Cars: Nexter-Texelis Serval VBMR

June 13, 2021

The French Army’s SCORPION Program launched in July 2018 seeks to equip the branch with new communications, logistics, and firepower. Besides the upgraded Leclerc MBTs, the Jaguar 6×6 recce vehicles, and the Griffon 6×6 MRAP, the smallest vehicle in this impressive assembly is the Serval VBMR–a serval, by the way, is a species of wildcat. The Serval VBMR is a combat optimized 4×4 truck comparable to the Oshkosh JLTV of the US Army or the Russian airborne forces’ Remdiesel Typhoon. Obviously, it’s meant to replace the dated VAB and VBL armored 4×4’s that have served in the French Army for the past three decades.

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Iraq Is Slowly Reviving An Old Artillery Factory

June 6, 2021
Via Iraqi MoD.

A visit by the Iraqi defense minister to a state-owned factory last week revealed the progress being made in reviving Baathist-era institutions that may still serve the current government. A video clip released in late May of Defense Minister Juma Inad and his entourage touring the Al Shuhada Factory, which used to mass-produce ammunition and even missile parts in the 1980s, showed manufacturing operations being revived for assembling propane tanks. The steel containers remain essential in kitchens where centralized gas or electric stoves are unavailable. However, the minister’s publicized tour of the factory grounds also showed a collection of refurbished towed howitzers.

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Pakistan Built Its Nuclear Arsenal From Scratch

June 3, 2021

Via ISPR.

Each year Pakistan’s armed forces stage a lavish show in their official parade ground for Army Day. Although the 2020 installment got cancelled because of the global pandemic the event continued this March 25, rather than the usual March 23, and lived up to its reputation. As far as regional military parades go, Pakistan’s army and air force have the best of the lot when it comes to advertising their latest kit along with the so-called “old standards” that are never getting phased out. These occasions are also useful for observing the army’s nuclear-capable weapon systems. Foremost at the 2021 parade was the Shaheen III, an intermediate-range missile able to deliver a nuclear warhead as far as the eastern Mediterranean, whose existence qualifies as Islamabad’s deadliest foreign policy option.

To think this entire missile arsenal, along with the elusive nuclear warheads they’re supposed to carry, was built over a very short span of two decades.

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Iran Is Going Big On Grenade Launchers

May 30, 2021
Via Iranian media.

At an exhibition for new military equipment this month Iran’s state-owned factories displayed their products inside and outside the venue. Photos shared by local media confirmed the appearance of different small arms and heavy weapons indoors. A particular curio was a local copy of the single shot M79 grenade launcher, which is an antique by any definition, and it’s still unclear if Iran’s defense ministry wants it for use by the armed forces or law enforcement. For decades, Iran was a customer and recipient of US-made arms even after the Shah was overthrown. The M79 was designed in the 1950s and became an iconic weapon of the Vietnam War (1965-1973). Of course, it was also delivered to many US allies.

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Chinese Nuclear Submarines Will Shift The Asian Balance Of Power

May 24, 2021
Via Chinese media.

President Xi Jinping’s visit to a navy dock on April 24 served as a reminder of his vision for China’s PLAN. Now considered the largest in the world by number of hulls, China’s naval fleet is still expanding at an unprecedented rate. The April 24 visit was for the commissioning of one Type 075 amphibious ship, one Type 055 missile destroyer, and one Type 094 nuclear submarine designed to carry ICBMs. The cumulative tonnage of these vessels may reach an unprecedented 70,000 tons that’s far beyond the growth of other Asian navies. The last vessel in the trio is considered part of the Jin-class; it’s an SSBN model that completes China’s own nuclear triad of ground-launched, air-launched, and submarine-launched ICBMs.

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India Is The World Capital Of Artillery

May 20, 2021
The ATAGS is manufactured by Bharat Forge Ltd. Via Indian Ministry of Defense.

As the Indian armed forces replaces its Eastern Bloc and Russian arms and equipment a very particular trend has brought back a national heritage that peaked during the Mughal era (1626-1856). After a ruinous decline spanning the British Raj and the decades following its independence, India now boasts a military-industrial sector that’s not just diverse but at the cutting edge in one specific technology: towed howitzers.

India’s military-industrial sector is divided between the powerful Ordnance Factories Board (OFB), whose activities are directed by the Ministry of Defense (MOD), and the conglomerates whose diversified holdings employ millions. The two are now integrating their efforts to quicken India’s rise as a world power.

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Armored Cars: Norinco VP14

May 11, 2021
Via Chinese media.

The remarkable growth in Chinese armored vehicle production during the previous decade has mostly gone unnoticed. As a consequence a whole catalog of protected 4×4’s exist with neither outside awareness nor brand recognition. That is until these same vehicles were advertised, together with their pertinent details, on well-known e-commerce websites as an export. After successive appearances in exhibitions such as the Zhuhai Air Show, which is held every two years, the elusive VP14 is now open to orders starting at $90,000. But wait, there’s more!

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Ukraine Is Pitching Its Newest Rocket Artillery To Asian Countries

May 10, 2021
Via Iraqi media/IQDEX 2021.

The IQDEX 2021 arms show went by with little fanfare even if Iraqi officialdom did their part attending the four-day event that took place from April 10 to 13. A careful perusal of the scant media coverage left behind does provide useful insights on how the Middle East’s demand for military technology is changing. There’s now ample evidence that, when it comes to overall sophistication, Middle Eastern states have the best to choose from. This coincides with a broad regional effort at organizing national armaments industries.

With the US no longer as steadfast as it once was in propping up Iraq as an ally, other countries are trying to fill the gap such as China, Pakistan, and Ukraine.

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The Rocket Artillery Of Azerbaijan Is Overwhelming

May 3, 2021
Pictured from right to left: Two BM-30 Smerch, three EXTRA, a single mobile command post, and two Polonez rocket launchers. Via Azerbaijan media.

There were no shortage of regional conflicts erupting in 2020 amid the deadly COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the entire world. The most bitter and intense saw all out war in the Nagorno-Karabakh (“Artsakh” to Armenians) enclave that Azerbaijan has been trying to reclaim since the 1990s. The 44 days of brutal fighting from September 27 until November 10 ended with a ceasefire and almost permanent territorial gains for Baku, whose military threw its entire might at the defending Armenians. Before the year was out a military parade took place in Azerbaijan’s capital where President Aliyez and his constant ally President Erdogan of Turkey gloated over the spoils taken from the Armenians.

But the same event did help advertise Azerbaijan’s immense and unparalleled selection of rocket artillery.

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The Future Of The Iranian Military Is A Pickup Truck

May 1, 2021
Via Iranian media.

This year’s scheduled parades to mark Army Day in Iran featured the usual pomp and variety. A surprising development, however, is the widespread participation of the Aras 2 pickup truck at the ceremonies that took place across multiple locations on April 18. The vehicle is assembled in a state-owned factory and runs on Nissan parts imported from China. The Aras 2 subscribes to a single cab layout with a bed that fits different kinds of equipment. Seen in the photo above shared by Iranian media are Aras 2 trucks employed as mobile launchers for drones. It’s important to note the rails holding the unmanned aircraft aren’t mounts but are an actual launch system. This means the entire vehicle serves a combat role and isn’t a parade ornament.

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Asian Militaries Love Their Homegrown Drones

April 26, 2021
Via ISPR.

The annual Army Day parade on March 25 served as a grandiose martial spectacle for Pakistan. Aside from the usual columns of tanks and armored vehicles, semitrailers rolled by the crowded pavilions to reveal the latest unmanned aircraft manufactured by the state-owned enterprise Global Industrial Defence Solutions (GIDS). One of them carried what was arguably the parade’s highlight–the full-sized Shahpar II medium altitude drone. For years the existence of this particular model never went beyond speculative commentary and unsourced photos. There was little to no evidence of it having entered production. From now on, however, it’s clear GIDS’ success at manufacturing drones can propel it to the very cutting edge of unmanned systems.

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