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The Drone Index: ArmBGC Innovation

October 26, 2016

The Yuneec Tornado H920 Hexacopter.

One of the surprises at the recent ArmHiTec in Yerevan from October 13 to 15 was the strong turnout from local manufacturers. Decades of conflict and economic isolation appears to have forced Armenia toward a bootstrapped development path, especially with industries vital for its national defense.

A minor revelation at the show was tangible proof a local aerospace sector is thriving in the landlocked country, albeit focused on light UAVs. Claims of indigenous drone production for the armed forces have been made for years but actual proof these exist is hard to find. During the recent clash over Nagorno-Karabakh in April this year drones had an indispensable role as floating spotters for artillery from both sides.

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India Wants A New Single Engine Fighter Jet

October 25, 2016


In what could again prove a long and anti-climactic saga for the Indian Air Force (IAF), during the first week of October foreign capitals–reportedly Moscow, Stockholm, and Washington, DC–were informed about a possible joint venture to build a proven single engine fighter jet. It’s expected the probable winner must conform to the usual caveats: joint production and technology transfer.

But today’s market for single engine fighters isn’t what it used to be 50 years ago. Even just 25 years ago. Barring trainers and old Mirages, there are close to no options. Or, to be specific, just two options. As the journalist Ajai Shukla pointed out when he broke the news in Business Standard, only two viable models end up competing against each other. These are Saab’s Gripen E and the Boeing F-16 Block 70.

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Future Forces Forum Rocked Prague Last Week

October 25, 2016

A live demo at the Future Forces Exhibition & Conference in 2014.

For a month overflowing with arms shows, whether Milipol in Doha or Euronaval in Paris, arguably the most important of the lot was the week-long affair in Prague’s commodious PVA Expo. The Future Forces Forum (FFF) was held from October 17 to 21 and involved 200+ exhibitors, hundreds of speakers, and thousands of guests. The FFF this year was the latest installment of a long-running series that dates to a NATO sponsored trade show for procuring military apparel.

What used to be the Future Forces Exhibition & Conference from 2014 now reached an unprecedented scale. FFF was actually an umbrella for 13 separate events–a large arms show coinciding with 11 conferences. 21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is a media partner for FFF.

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The Indian Navy Is Undertaking A Huge Expansion

October 20, 2016


As India continues its import reliance on foreign military technology the transformation of its naval might has gone a different route. Even with parts and subsystems ordered from abroad the scale of ongoing warship construction taking place among local shipyards is incomparable and, slowly but surely, these efforts are pushing local capabilities forward.

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Interpolitex Is 20 Years Strong This Month

October 18, 2016

A live demonstration during Interpolitex 2015. Via Vitaly Kuzmin.

Every year dozens of companies flock to Moscow’s historic VDNH, a Stalin-era edifice whose raison d’être is providing the floor space used by trade shows, for what’s almost an annual rite. It’s called Interpolitex and this year it runs from October 18 until 21. Its purpose is to serve as venue for advertising the latest hardware of Russia’s law enforcement agencies and armed forces.

Interpolitex 2016 marks the event’s 20th anniversary. It’s a special occasion for show organizer BIZON who’ve managed to stage a consistent series that’s been patronized by the national security apparatus these past two decades.

The latest iteration of Interpolitex features a “Tactical Gear Centre.” According to the organizer it’s a section within the venue where 60 different exhibitors are showcasing “tactical and combat gear, survival devices and tools as well as other auxiliary aids and equipment.” As a further incentive for potential customers the products on display can be “acquired at ‘exhibition’ prices.”

But wait. Apparently Interpolitex hasn’t lost sight of an important market. These aren’t Russia’s policemen or commandos. Rather, “enthusiasts of extreme sports from orienteering to strikeball, fans of hunting and fishing as well as any kind fo person who is into the ‘military style.’

In a word, civilians.

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

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Armored Cars: KMDB Dozor-B

October 18, 2016


It’s one of the most promising armored vehicles to come out of Ukraine in recent years. A fixture in domestic arms shows and a potential export success, the Dozor-B retains a distinct aura of mysteriousness. Its exact purpose is muddled. (What with so many BTR’s scattered between the Urals and the Carpathians.) What can it accomplish? Who is its biggest customer?

The short answer is the Dozor-B has proven a bit of a disappointment.

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