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Malabar 2018 Sailed Completely Under The Radar

June 21, 2018

Aerial photo of US Navy and JMSDF formations in the Philippine Sea. Via USN/Wikimedia Commons.

This month had three major navies operating close enough to China’s territorial waters for reasons that should worry Beijing. The Malabar exercises date back to 1992 as a post-Cold War effort at building trust between the Indian and US navies. Since 2007, however, it has grown to include Japan for the sake of alliance building against an increasingly powerful China.

Last year’s Malabar exercises were conducted in the Indian Ocean and had a strong emphasis on interoperability. But the location was changed for 2018. The participating navies sailed off Guam from June 7 to 10 and traveled around the Philippine Sea from June 11 to 16.

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India And Vietnam Are Teaming Up Versus China

June 20, 2018

Pictured is Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman standing between two Vietnamese Su-30MK pilots who are also twin brothers. Via Raksha Mantri/Ministry of Defense.

India’s defense minister led a delegation in a three-day visit to Vietnam that lasted from June 13 until 15. No less than President Tran Dai Quang welcomed Nirmala Sitharaman in Hanoi on the day after she arrived. The purpose of her trip was never explicitly stated although its aim was clear enough–to strengthen Delhi’s budding alliance with Hanoi as a counter-balance against China.

In the course of her visit Sitharaman was shown aboard a Vietnamese warship in Cam Ranh Bay and toured an airbase. She also attended two events that revealed the depth of India’s commitment to Vietnam. By the end of her trip it was obvious India wants its staunchest ally in Southeast Asia to strengthen its domestic military industries.

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India Is Finally Getting Apache Attack Helos

June 19, 2018

Stock image of Apache gunship.

Last week the US government’s official military exports agency announced the sale of a half dozen AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters to India. The press release from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) valuated the package, which included various munitions and spare parts, at $930 million but no timetable was announced for its delivery.

Selling AH-64E’s to India comes ten years after it was first pitched to Delhi and a full eight years since the Apache beat the competing Russian Mi-28 in live demonstrations. The timing of this sale couldn’t be more urgent as India’s leadership has been lobbying hard for arms sales by the Trump administration since 2017.

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Armored Cars: FNSS PARS 4×4

June 15, 2018


One of Turkey’s leading armored vehicle manufacturers outed their latest project tailor-made for the country’s armed forces. During this year’s Eurosatory–the biggest arms show in Western Europe–FNSS unveiled its redesigned PARS 4×4 armed with a tandem missile launcher. Not to be confused with the superb wheeled APC of the same name, the PARS 4×4 is the descendant of a German scout car.

Development of this redesigned PARS 4×4 began in late 2016 after requirements were laid down by the Turkish army for an all terrain and amphibious recce vehicle equipped for combat. The PARS 4×4 isn’t meant for transporting soldiers.

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Highlights Of OEWatch For June 2018

June 14, 2018

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. The June 2018 issue is 67 pages long and marks a stylistic break from its predecessors. There are no longer bold letters reigning over the chosen stock image on the cover and even the contents have assumed new forms.

This month’s OEWatch has just five sections: MENA, Africa, Latin America, Indo-Pacific, and finally Eurasia in place of the usual Russia, Ukraine. The trio of Tom Wilhelm, Matthew Stein, and Lucas Winter are still responsible for putting the magazine together with inputs from a pool of contributors.

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How To Reach Adsum Risk Consulting

June 14, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

The challenges that arise when doing business in Asia should be reason enough for any enterprise’s leadership to build risk strategies. One viable route is signing up with an organization that has a solid track record in the local environment. When navigating the pitfalls of the Philippines’ business landscape, for example, outfits like Adsum Risk Consulting can be reached to help companies stay safe.

ARC brings together broad experience and a team of unwavering professionals who can help their clients mitigate threats and troubleshoot thorny situations. Whether it’s good old-fashioned due-diligence or an airtight plan for securing a facility, ARC excel at dealing with the bad things that can happen to anyone’s bottom line.

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Indonesia Is Building A Massive New Air Force

June 14, 2018

Stock image of Su-35S flown by Russian Air Force. Via Wikimedia Commons.

As part of its Minimum Essential Force (MEF) doctrine Indonesia’s defense ministry are now carrying out a broad modernization for the TNI’s air arm. The goal is to close the material and numerical gap that has hampered the Indonesian air force or Angkatan Udara (AU) for decades.

The new benchmarks are far from modest. A report from Antara News on June 8 revealed the air force expects to complete its modernization by 2024, with more than 200 new fixed wing aircraft in service by then. This is a sure sign Indonesia’s military is preparing to lead the ASEAN within the next decade.

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Azerbaijan Is Showing Off New Weapons Again

June 12, 2018

President Ilham Aliyev. Via Wikimedia Commons.

One week after visiting a new military base Azerbaijan’s leader showed up in another location to perform the same routine. The resulting propaganda offered fresh glimpses into what’s beginning to look like a broad overhaul of Azerbaijan’s armed forces, who may now be considered the best equipped among the former Soviet states.

Azerbaijan is an oil-rich country locked in simmering war with a separatist enclave called Nagorno-Karabakh that aspires to join neighboring Armenia. For almost 30 years now Baku and Yerevan have been irreconcilable enemies locked in a bizarre arms race.

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The Philippines And Russia Are Slowly Becoming Allies

June 12, 2018

The Admiral Tributs. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Last week Russia’s defense ministry announced “an unofficial visit” by warships of the Pacific Fleet. These comprised two Udaloy-class anti-submarine warfare destroyers, the Admiral Tributs and the Admiral Vinogradov, and a “mid-size sea tanker” that arrived on June 9, a Saturday. This is the latest proof of improving relations between Manila and Moscow ever since President Duterte steered the Philippines’ toward China and Russia’s “ideological flow” in 2016.

The Cold War vintage Admiral Tributs already visited Manila in December last year. This came after the October 2017 visit by Russian vessels to deliver a large batch of assault rifles and 20 trucks personally received by Duterte. The Philippines’ own defense minister subsequently singed a contract for RPG rocket launchers.

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Armored Cars: GAIA Automotive Amir

June 10, 2018

Via Gaia Automotive.

One of the few genuine MRAPs built in Israel is the Amir from Gaia Automotive. Weighing less than 10 tons, the Amir is an optimal 4×4 for missions over rugged terrain. While its appearance hardly sets it apart from similar models, the Amir has many unique features that make it suited for both combat and travel.

According to the Amir’s product literature the truck is based on a ladder chassis that supports a welded steel hull. Its hull has STANAG II ballistic resistance distributed in two layers, with an option for additional composite panels that can stop armor piercing rounds. The Amir’s gross weight allows for a protection level reaching STANAG IV. Since it has a v-shaped bottom, Gaia Automotive claims it can withstand level 1a and 1b mine blasts.

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Azerbaijan In Still Adding To Its War Machine

June 9, 2018

President Ilham Aliyev. Via Wikimedia Commons.

With its once overflowing energy export revenues now dried up, fresh evidence has emerged of the oil-rich Caspian state’s military spending. A photo gallery released on President Ilham Aliyev’s website on June 5 revealed several types of equipment used by the armed forces.

Azerbaijan is still locked in a territorial dispute with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave that’s been under a state of siege since a 1994 ceasefire. This was used to justify a decades long arms race that has cost the rival countries untold billions of dollars. A brief war in April 2016 did little to resolve the conflict and Azerbaijan’s new weapons–imported at great cost from Israel and Russia–proved ineffective against the Armenian defenders.

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Duterte Just Shit All Over The Philippine Military

June 8, 2018

President Duterte with an AKM in 2017. Next to him is Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Via PCOO.

Upon his return from a three-day state visit to South Korea this week, President Duterte met with the local press at the airport for an update on his accomplishments abroad. The ensuing questions from journalists covered details of his trip but when queried on alleged “diplomatic actions” connected to the South China Sea Duterte once again revealed his poor grasp of the country’s strategic dilemma.

As if this weren’t bad enough, Duterte disparaged the armed forces by claiming they would overthrow him when ordered to defend national territory. There’s now a clear public record of Duterte’s remarks on the South China Sea crisis and it shows–objectively and without equivocation–the Filipino leader is afraid of the Chinese military and won’t confront its leader.

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