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Why Does Turkey Need The Russian S-400?

July 20, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Nearly a week after footage of S-400 components being unloaded in a Turkish airbase went viral the White House spared a few terse words for its NATO ally. The Statement by the Press Secretary on July 17 made it clear how the “decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible.” The reason for this is fears of “a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its [the F-35] advanced capabilities.”

The Press Secretary insisted that the US government has done its best to help Turkey with its “legitimate air defense needs” by offering the Patriot PAC-3 as an alternative. The relationship isn’t falling apart, however, and the Press Secretary’s remarks ended with a hopeful “we will continue to cooperate with Turkey extensively.”

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Armored Cars: Inbra Gladiador II

July 19, 2019

Via Grupo Inbra.

With Brazil having returned to the forefront of military innovation in Latin America it comes as no surprise armored 4×4’s like the Gladiador II are being groomed for export. Unlike the late 20th century heyday of the country’s weapons manufacturers, who were all state-owned, private companies are now showing they too can roll out products to meet any end user’s requirements. Such is the case with Grupo Inbra, a firm specializing in synthetic fibers and ballistic materials, and their followup to the first Gladiador unveiled in 2012–its appearance then resembling the Panhard VBL–now boasting a complete redesign.

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CENTCOM Better Pay Attention To This Iranian Howitzer

July 17, 2019

Via Iranian media.

On July 13, a Saturday, Iranian media hailed the Revolutionary Guards’ (IRGC) latest actions against the Kurdish separatist group PJAK. The fighting took place before the weekend in the country’s northwestern border with losses to the Kurds reaching dozens, at least according to Iranian news. In the course of the operation, which lasted three days, the IRGC deployed UAVs and artillery. The latter included the HM41, an obscure 155mm howitzer whose existence proves how capable Iran’s state-owned military industries are.

Footage and images taken during the fighting showed at least a battery of HM41’s arrayed on a plateau. Other weapon systems used by the IRGC were 130mm howitzers and Russian-made BM-21 Grad rocket launchers.

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Taiwan Is Getting New American-Made Tanks

July 17, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

In another rebuff to China, the US’ main arms exporting agency published details of a $2 billion deal for 108 “M1A2T” main battle tanks with TECRO or the semi-official embassy of Taiwan. This removes any doubt that Washington, DC is choosing caution over commitment when supporting one of its oldest allies in the Asia Pacific. On top of the 108 M1A2T tanks are 14 M88A2 recovery vehicles, 16 M1070A1 transporters and another 16 semi-trailers to go with them. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) included a detailed list of ordnance and subsystems to go with the tanks and, with no trace of irony, mentioned how “The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

The ROC Army fields more than a thousand tanks, most of them are aging M48A5 Pattons, and the arrival of M1A2T’s is a strong deterrent against a ground invasion by the PLA.

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The Philippine Air Force Is Planning To Build Its Own Drone Fleet

July 16, 2019

The Cobalt on display at the first Naval Defense Philippines exhibition. Via 21AAR.

An annual exhibition for the country’s emerging maritime sector served as the only public event to reveal the military’s new surveillance drones. Shown at the booth of a local startup were two small fixed wing models, a twin-boom and a v-tail, that each had vertical take off capability. These belonged to Safer PH Innovations, a company specializing in collaborative projects with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and its growing catalog of unmanned systems.

Safer PH Innovations were among the exhibitors under Naval Defense Philippines that formed part of the much larger PhilMarine 2019 show taking place between June 18 and 20.

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Japan Is Ready To Protect The Philippines

July 10, 2019

Via JMSDF / Philippine Navy.

The end of June saw a remarkable demonstration by two friendly navies. A total of four ships patrolled the Sulu Sea within the Philippines’ territorial waters in yet another exercise meant to build a lasting alliance between Manila and Tokyo. Far from a closely guarded secret, three surface vessels belonging to the JMSDF, including the JS Izumo aircraft carrier, were joined by the Philippine Navy’s (PN) BRP Davao del Sur–the latter is one of two landing platform docks (LPD) made in Indonesia.

Described as a “maritime engagement activity,” once it was completed the JMSDF contingent traveled to Luzon and docked at Subic on June 30 for a goodwill visit.

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Turns Out Russian Grand Strategy Is Purely Defensive

July 9, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

With a new Cold War having begun in earnest, a little perspective goes a long way in diminishing fears of an apocalyptic showdown. Thanks to a research brief from RAND Corporation titled What Will Russian Military Capabilities Look Like In The Near Future? anyone who cares about the international system can be thankful Moscow’s overarching goal is minding its own business. This is the main takeaway from the four page summary meant to complement the 116 page research report The Future of the Russian Military. Both were published in June.

The brief does acknowledge Russia’s newfound willingness to send its military abroad, albeit with limitations. Rather than prop up a bunch of satellite states who can challenge the “free world,” the aim now is responding to terrorism and instability.

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Armored Cars: Tekne Okrikam

June 26, 2019

Via Tekne srl.

With militaries spoiled for choices when it comes to protected 4×4’s, one specific model from Italy has so far gone unnoticed. Tekne built up its armored vehicle catalog in the span of a few years and managed to prototype the Okrikam as an all-in-one battle transport. Is it fast? Can it fight? Does it swim?

Not to be outdone by its better known competitors in the EU, the Okrikam is a “yes” on every count. Looking past its elaborate hood, whose appearance seems more aesthetic than practical, the Okrikam was designed from the bottom up for today’s complicated war zones.

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This Counter-UAS Device Can Protect Sensitive Locations

June 25, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

These last several years have seen the conversion of hobbyist drones into tools for hostile actors. While it’s true the most common employment of unmanned aircraft remains surveillance, numerous incidents elsewhere featured commercial quadcopters flown for either criminal or offensive purposes. It isn’t surprising the risks of widespread disruptive activities caused by unmanned aircraft is creating strong demand for countermeasures to defeat them. Whether from governments or private companies, vulnerable locations are now at the mercy of unmanned aircraft if there are no defenses in place for stopping these.

One company from Spain, Aeronáutica SDLE, harnessed its expertise in unmanned tech to produce a cost-effective portable counter-UAS (CUAS) device for soldiers and security professionals alike.

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The Philippines Will Keep Buying Weapons From South Korea

June 25, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

A recent “Joint Committee Meeting on Logistics and Defence Industry Cooperation” held in Metro Manila on June 10 paved the way for upcoming collaboration between the Philippine government and South Korean manufacturers. Details were shared by the Department of National Defense (DND) on June 13 after a successful conference at the PICC, a state-owned venue. The DND specified three activities where South Korean firms will assist its oldest ally Southeast Asia: procurement supply, acquisition and transfer of equipment, and government-to-government projects.

The present composition of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is almost entirely reliant on South Korean equipment. No branch is exempt, be it the Philippine Air Froce (PAF) or the “modernized” Philippine Navy, even the Philippine marines can boast of their new Korean-made tracked amphibious carriers.

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Aeronáutica SDLE Made A Micro-UAV For Special Forces

June 24, 2019

Via Aeronáutica SDLE.

Operators on dangerous missions can now better navigate indoor and difficult to access areas with an ultra-lightweight quadcopter made of aluminum with additive manufacturing. This latest innovation from Aeronáutica SDLE is called the Individual Recognition Platform (IRP). It adds to the company’s growing portfolio of unmanned systems that includes the Zarek V1/2 and a proven counter-UAS device. The IRP was first shown in public at IDEX 2019 in Abu Dhabi and then FEINDEF 2019 in Madrid two months later. It’s one of the newest–and perhaps smallest–micro-UAVs in the European Union right now.

What makes the IRP a superb addition to an operator’s kit is its sturdy aluminum airframe making it easy to carry along with the rest of their gear without adding excess weight. Rather than keeping it in a bag or container, the IRP can be clipped to a harness and its modest dimensions means it won’t encumber its pilot.

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The Philippine Navy Has A Lot Of New Stuff

June 22, 2019

Via Philippine Navy.

This week the Philippine Navy (PN) marked its 121st birthday at its largest base with a semi-public exhibition of new equipment. The highlights were the first batch of four Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs) purchased from South Korea and two AW159 Wildcat ASW helicopters meant for the PN’s upcoming multi-mission frigates. The AAVs are licensed copies of the AAV-7’s used by the US Marine Corps and represent a boost for the Philippine Marines, whose modernization has long been neglected. The PN marines are expecting a total of eight AAV’s by 2020, giving them enhanced ship-to-shore capabilities.

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