Each month the US Army’s think tank the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) publishes its open source OEWatch magazine. It’s a superb brief featuring excerpts of news about ongoing wars and crises. These snippets gathered from various media outlets are accompanied by informed commentary that’s strong on context and analysis.
The FMSO releases OEWatch, together with its vast library of research papers on geopolitical issues, as free downloads.
The August 2016 issue of OEWatch runs 67 pages. The headline is Philippine Military Plans Shock And Awe In The Sulu Sea with a photo of Filipino marines in action during exercises with their American counterparts.
On August 9 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced the proposed sale of 153 “tank structures” to Saudi Arabia worth an estimated $1.15 billion. Should it be completed it represents the largest transfer of American-made armor to the Middle East since 2014, when the DSCA delivered almost $4 billion of vehicles–including 174 M1A1 Abrams battle tanks–for the beleaguered Iraqi army.
This latest transaction with the Saudis is smaller, with just 133 M1A2S MBTs and 20 M88A2 Hercules armored recovery vehicles covered by the reported amount. The DSCA added a grocery list of parts and munitions to go with the tanks manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems.
Last week the Israeli Ministry of Defense released a short videoclip showing off its latest war machine. Since then the Eitan, an eight by eight APC, has done the rounds in outlets dedicated to “military affairs.” But the most detailed assessment so far of what it can do is from the Israel-based Defense Update, which revealed the Eitan to be a vehicle tailored for the IDF’s needs.
If the Eitan enters production next year it would begin replacing the estimated 3,000 M113 APCs, along with hundreds of tanks modified as troop carriers, deployed by the IDF. The ongoing fixation on wheeled APCs for armies today stems from several advantages: they’re suited for paved roads and dirt tracks, they could be amphibious, they’re spacious, and they can support a lot of weapons.
To be perfectly honest none of this information compromises actual secrets with jaw-dropping gravitas. Next year’s ISDEF is a trade show, the largest of its kind in Israel, meaning it has more to do with swapping business cards and late night cocktails than hair-raising covert ops.
In a region saturated with arms shows, however, ISDEF does stand out for its intense focus on homeland security and counter-terrorism. In just three days hundreds of companies flaunt their wares with shock and awe marketing, both subtle and unsubtle, to find new customers. What follows is a rundown of what took place during the last ISDEF at the Israel Trade Fairs and Convention Center in Tel Aviv. Hopefully this helps anyone planning to attend or even register their company.
The facts presented are borrowed from the excellent literature found in the 2015 Post Show Review available here.