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Armored Cars: Mahindra ALSV

February 19, 2020

Via Mahindra Emirates Vehicle Armouring.

After nearly two years of development the latest tactical 4×4 from Mahindra looks like it was tailored for the Middle East’s trouble spots. The Indian mega-corporation’s armored vehicle plant in the UAE oversaw the whole project whose official launch came in November 2019. Since then the Armored Light Specialist Vehicle or ALSV has joined a diverse catalog of protected trucks and is approved for export. Judging by its looks the ALSV is supposed to compete with models such as the formidable Oshkosh JLTV and the Nimr Ajban, with either having years of strong exports behind them.

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Small Arms Production Is Flourishing In India

February 19, 2020

Via SSS Defence.

DEFEXPO 2020 surpassed expectations with the scale and variety of products exhibited at the show, which took place from February 5 until 8 in Lucknow, and cemented India’s status as a destination for high tech manufacturing. A modest but impressive display at DEFEXPO 2020 came from ammunition manufacturer SSS Defence whose selection of new firearms garnered a lot of visibility. The product line it revealed at the show included a selection of sniper rifles and a modular carbine chambered for 7.62x39mm, the same ammunition used for the AK-47 and its derivatives.

India’s military and police have long been familiar with Kalashnikov rifles since these are sometimes preferred over standard issue small arms in trouble spots like Kashmir. But for decades Bulgarian and other Eastern bloc Kalashnikovs were imported and now SSS Defence has gone the distance with a novel local product.

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The UAE Is Collecting Battlefield Rockets

February 17, 2020

The Jobaria MCRL, highlighted in purple, can be armed with 122mm and 300mm rockets. Via UAE media.

On February 9 the rulers of the Emirates attended a military parade to mark the years since it joined a regional coalition against the Houthis in 2015. The actual war in Yemen remains a stalemate with an uncertain outcome but Abu Dhabi maximized its opportunities when it cultivated local allies and honed its logistical muscle. During this recent occasion, however, the focus was on the enlisted men who served in the campaign. The blatant advertising of the military’s current arsenal was obvious too. A crucial reveal at the event was the Emirati ground forces’ battlefield rocket systems.

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The Israeli Eitan Enters Service In 2021

February 14, 2020

Via Ministry of Defense.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) can expect to receive brand new Eitan 8×8 armored personnel carriers next year in at least three configurations. A statement shared across the social media channels run by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) revealed the next-generation infantry transports are being assembled by the Armored Vehicles Directorate and have the Iron Fist active protection system. Iron Fist, which is manufactured by Elbit Systems, is a hard kill detection and interception device that launches a tiny rocket at an approaching projectile. With the IDF at constant risk of engaging militants in Gaza and the border with Lebanon, where Hezbollah remains entrenched, having vehicular countermeasures is paramount.

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It Looks Like Iran Is Making Its Own Hellfire Missiles

February 9, 2020

Via Iranian media.

A sudden appearance of a missile-armed helicopter at an event for the Iranian air force (IRIAF) may have outed the branch’s newest weapon. A demonstration by a flight of Bell 214 helicopters included a variant (pictured above) armed with missiles whose paint scheme resembled the AGM-114 Hellfire. This suggests Iran’s military-industrial sector, being a part of the national economy that thrives despite sanctions, has copied the system. The Hellfire originated in the 1980s to complement the new generation of US Army attack helicopters. It has since gained a peerless reputation for being adaptable–even vehicles can mount its launchers–and very lethal against any target.

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India Makes A Lot Of Its Own Artillery

February 5, 2020

Via Ordnance Factory Board.

Just days before DEFEXPO 2020 was set to begin India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) launched its own promotional content on its social media accounts. A surprise reveal was the Sharang, a 155mm towed howitzer based on an old Soviet artillery piece, whose range puts it on par with the world’s best. The OFB claims the Sharang can strike targets up to 36 kilometers away without specifying if these mean firing conventional ammunition or rocket assisted projectiles.

If Sharang looks familiar that’s because it’s an upgrade of the Indian Army’s M-46 130mm towed howitzers. DEFEXPO 2020 is taking place from February 5 to 8 in Lucknow.

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Syrian Civil War: Daesh Is Resurging

February 1, 2020

An Iraqi commando during the war against ISIS (2014-2017). Via Wikimedia Commons.

The US’ top civilian official coordinating the anti-ISIS coalition revealed the terror group’s current estimated size at a state briefing with journalists on January 30. A day after Ambassador James F. Jeffrey met with European allies in Copenhagen he went on the record discussing the various crises unfolding in the Middle East. Top of mind were the Syrian civil war and joint operations against ISIS, but Jeffrey also touched on the complications between Russia and Turkey, sanctions on Iran, and the volatile situation in Iraq.

In his opening remarks to the press, Jeffrey made it clear ISIS are fielding between 14,000 and 18,000 fighters in their former caliphate:

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India Will Fight In Outer Space With Its Own Missiles

January 27, 2020

Via Indian media.

This year’s Republic Day celebration in Delhi had a stronger emphasis on national pride than hard power. Even if the Indian military did have a modest parade, much of its current equipment is at least 30 years old, and there were few genuine surprises. But a real standout at the January 26 event was the DRDO’s ASAT carried by a massive launch vehicle. The ASAT or anti-satellite missile grabbed headlines in early 2019 after an initial test launch dubbed “Mission Shakti” where it struck a low orbit target. The March 27 ASAT test was hailed by India’s government as a major technological breakthrough and further proof of India’s growing technological prowess.

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Pakistan Is An Emerging Leader In Ballistic Missiles Too

January 26, 2020


Pakistan’s military announced its Strategic Forces Command carried out a “surface-to-surface” missile test on January 23, a Thursday, involving the Ghaznavi. The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) described the missile as “capable of delivering multiple type warheads up to a range of 290 kilometers.” No other details about the daytime launch were published. Having a range of just 290 km puts the Ghaznavi in compliance with the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which serves as an informal treaty for regulating nuclear-capable weapons. Pakistan does boast several short-range ballistic missiles, including the Nasr large diameter rocket artillery system, the original Hatf-1 battlefield rocket, and the Shaheen I. All of these weapons are road mobile and locally made.

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A Useful Guide To Iranian Ballistic Missiles

January 15, 2020

Via Wikimedia Commons.

On January 8 the Islamic Republic proved it can strike US military sites at will using its ballistic missiles. There might not have been any casualties from the attacks on Ain Al-Asad/Al Assad airbase and uninhabited spots outside Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan but the damage left an impression; charred buildings and large craters were a testament to the missiles’ effectiveness. Other than being forewarned several hours before the attacks, the lack of countermeasures to protect US forces stationed in Iraq is surprising. In Al-Asad, where as many as 10 missiles landed, 1,500 soldiers waited out the barrage in concrete shelters leftover from the Iran-Iraq War that ended 31 years ago.

Whether Tehran and Washington, DC escalate or not the threat posed by the former’s ballistic missiles is so severe they demand to be understood in depth. Here’s a quick guide to [almost] all of them.

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China And Indonesia Are Feuding Over Territorial Waters

January 13, 2020

Via Indonesian media.

The largest member of ASEAN has joined the multiple claimants wrangling over the South China Sea. When President Joko Widodo made a highly publicized visit to a naval base in the Riau Islands on January 8, a Wednesday, his trip coincided with an ongoing show of force by the armed forces or TNI. Widodo’s appearance came after weeks of illegal activities by a Chinese flotilla that entered the North Natuna Sea in mid-December. Since then the local authorities struggled to defuse the situation. Indonesian officials remained cautious when discussing the issue with the press despite months of evidence that Chinese fishermen were poaching in national waters.

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China And Iran Are Preparing A Grand Alliance

January 11, 2020

Via Iranian media.

Buried under the past month of alarming news involving Iran and the US is a subtle diplomatic push that may have lasting consequences for an entire continent. Towards the end of 2019 the Islamic Republic’s highest ranking officer and armed forces Chief of Staff, Major General Mohammed Bagheri (sometimes spelled “Baqeri”), wrapped low-key visits to China. It was during his last trip, a three-day affair in the first week of December, that Bagheri revealed a “25-year strategic plan” was being put into place.

Few details about Bagheri’s meetings were reported and the substance of the “plan” is just as mysterious. But scrutinizing the two country’s ties–one an ascendant superpower and the other a rogue state–reveals some clues where the relationship is heading.

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