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The Philippine Military Plans To Localize Weapons Manufacturing

December 18, 2017

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Two agencies of the Philippine government convened on December 8 for a summit on “defense industrial” self-sufficiency. The event called the “Summit on Industrial Collaboration Program under the DND Procurement” was held on a Friday at the Officer’s Club in Camp Aguinaldo, which is the main headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP). The overriding theme for the occasion was “Building Philippine Defense Industries through Industrial Collaboration.”

Although the program and minutes of the event weren’t released to the public, two VIPs in attendance were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) CEO Dave Almarinez. One outcome of the summit was a renewed call for achieving “Self-Reliant Defense Posture” or SRDP. According to Lorenzana SRDP used to be a program from the 1970s for creating an arms production sector.

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Russia And Uzbekistan Have A Gunship Deal In The Works

December 17, 2017

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Moscow’s primacy in Central Asia remains unassailable. This year witnessed a thaw between the Russian Federation and Uzbekistan since the latter country’s leadership change in late 2016. With President Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the helm of the landlocked and isolationist state, work is now being done to rebuild the armed forces, who haven’t enjoyed the same material improvements as their neighbors.

Last month, Russian media broke the news of a contract for a dozen “Mi-35 attack helicopters” that will be delivered as soon as 2018. These are the descendants of the iconic Mi-24 Hind that became a fixture during the Soviet Union’s long quagmire in Afghanistan from 1979 until 1989. News of the helicopter sale made the rounds online but not enough contextual details about it were provided.

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Armored Cars: Dongfeng Mengshi CSK131

December 15, 2017

Dongfeng APCs in 2015. Via MND/Xinhua.

For some years now China’s sprawling armed forces and law enforcement apparatus have slowly adopted a versatile armored truck designed for travel in adverse climates. Often referred to as the “Brave Warrior” or just “Warrior,” the Mengshi represent a class of vehicles manufactured by Dongfeng, a conglomerate whose roots go back to the Mao era.

The Mengshi shouldn’t be confused with Dongfeng’s Hummer clone redesigned for the PLA and exported to several international clients. Although the Chinese military does have thousands of Dongfeng EQ2050’s, along with countless jeeps and SUVs, these don’t have enough armor for protecting their occupants from bullets and lethal fragments.

It isn’t surprising Dongfeng introduced an improved–and original–4×4 truck that can be tailored for different roles.

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The Chinese Air Force Just Tested Its New Medium Cargo Plane

December 14, 2017

Via China Military Online/MND.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) publicized another airborne exercise over the South China Sea last week. A photo gallery about it shared few details of the event and revealed Y-9 transports took off from “western China” and flew to “a designated training area at an island.”

The Y-9  manufactured by Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation is best described as a four engine medium transport comparable to the ubiquitous C-130 Hercules and its variants. The Y-9 is a contemporary design that entered service with the PLAAF in 2016 although alternate sources claim this happened in 2012. The flight of at least three Y-9’s over the South China Sea might suggest practice runs for sustaining remote bases in the Spratly and Paracel islands.

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Highlights Of OEWatch For December 2017

December 10, 2017

The final issue of OEWatch for this year almost exudes a celebratory tone. On the cover is a composite image layered with the text Fallouts From The “Caliphate”: Some Foreign Perspectives. This keeps up the magazine’s latest approach to analyzing specific subjects by creating a whole section for them. For December, it’s the catastrophic defeat of ISIS in the Middle East. OEWatch is available as a free download from the APAN Community Network.

Editorial duties are still shared between Tom Wilhelm, Karen Kaya, and Lucas Winter with contributors pitching in with their region specific  analyses. This month’s OEWatch runs 67 pages long with seven sections. The one for Russia, Ukraine is now labeled Russia, Ukraine, Europe.

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Here Is The 14-Year Modernization Plan Of The Philippine Air Force

December 8, 2017

Ever since the Philippines lost control of specific features in the South China Sea, plans have been readied to strengthen the armed forces’ meager capabilities. Each branch prepared detailed road maps to achieve this and the air force in particular is very open about its Flight Plan 2028. Its ultimate goal is acquiring the capability to “intercept and neutralize” whatever hostile forces intrude on Philippine airspace.

Flight Plan 2028 was originally conceptualized in late 2014 and launched the following year. Its details are not a secret and the Philippine Air Force (PAF) are still carrying out its two broad phases–the “Support Process” and the “Core Process.” The desired result is to “Build capability to detect, identify, intercept and neutralize intrusions in the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone (PADIZ) and West Philippine Sea from Area Readiness 4 to 3 by 2022 and in the entire Philippines from Area Readiness 3 to 1 by 2028.”

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The Military Alliance Between India And Singapore Is Growing Stronger

December 5, 2017

An SAF Bionix IFV deployed with an Indian armored unit. Via MINDEF.

The outcome of the recent visit by Singapore’s defense minister to New Delhi is the latest proof yet that India is cultivating a long-term ally in the ASEAN. Although the substance of Dr. Ng Eng Hen’s meetings from November 28 to 29 were far from controversial their effects should bring about an almost symbiotic relationship between the two country’s armed forces.

Of course, Singapore also maintains military-to-military exchanges with China. But these don’t translate into a permanent alliance with Asia’s emerging superpower. On the other hand, units of the the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) have trained with the Indian military on a regular basis for the past 25 years. While in India, Dr. Ng signed an agreement with his counterpart, Nirmala Sitharaman, called the India-Singapore Bilateral Agreement for Navy Cooperation.

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The PLA Garrison In Djibouti Flexed Its Muscles

December 2, 2017

Via China Military Online/MND.

The PLA maintains an impressive tempo of drills and ceremonies all year long. But on November 25 photos and video were disseminated by Chinese state media of a live fire exercise in Djibouti involving PLAN marines. These were members of the garrison tasked with protecting a new PLA naval facility that opened four months ago.

Described as a “military support base,” the PLA’s main objective in Djibouti, a former French colony that hosts other foreign bases, is to safeguard a free trade zone and a supply depot for their warships that have been patrolling the waters off the Horn of Africa these past 10 years. Unlike their counterparts serving with the UN across Central Africa, the Chinese troops in Djibouti aren’t peacekeepers and are equipped for real combat.

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Armored Cars: Land Mobility Technologies Products LM13

November 29, 2017

Via LMT Products.

The LM13 is the newest multirole 4×4 to come out of South Africa, whose wheeled armored vehicles are considered among the best in the world. The manufacturer LMT Products specializes in assembling bespoke vehicles for both private and institutional clients, e.g. armed forces and law enforcement. The LM13 is undoubtedly an attempt to entice customers who need an off-road transport that can withstand the rigors of combat.

Unraveling the history of the LM13 isn’t too difficult. It was debuted in 2013 and like many armored cars today, uses commercial parts that are available to vehicle manufacturers everywhere. But the LM13 shouldn’t be confused with an MRAP, although it’s designed to withstand explosions, and has more in common with trucks it resembles like the Nimr and the Vamtac.

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Here Is What Happened During The Biggest Arms Show In Israel

November 28, 2017

The Avnon Group, who are the organizers behind ISDEF, have published their event’s Post Show Review for 2017. ISDEF is held every two years at the Tel Aviv Convention Center and the latest installment took place from June 6 to 8. The 8th ISDEF was much grander than its predecessors and attracted record numbers of guests and exhibiting companies.

This year saw a distinct spike in visitor numbers, reaching 14,400 compared to just 12,000 in 2015. More than a fifth of 2017’s visitors, totaling 3,242 people, were foreign nationals. 21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is a media partner for ISDEF 2017.

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The Philippines Is Looking For New Attack Helicopters

November 28, 2017

One month after the battle of Marawi ended plans are now afoot to enlarge the Philippine Air Force’s rotary fleet with 24 attack helicopters. A government media portal broke the news of the acquisition on November 23 after President Duterte mentioned buying additional helicopters during a speech at the Army General Hospital two days prior.

A spokesperson from the Department of National Defense (DND) explained the attack helicopters are part of a long-term modernization program known as “Second Horizon” that begins next year. The so-called “First Horizon” was already accomplished between 2013 until 2017. The third and final leg of Horizon stretches from 2023 to 2028. It remains unclear where the PAF is going to buy attack helicopters.

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Chinese Bombers Almost Encircled Taiwan This Month

November 27, 2017

Via China Military Online/Xinhua.

China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on November 23, a Thursday, that combat air patrols had taken place in the South China Sea. These involved unarmed H-6K bombers escorted by J-11 fighters over two locations, the Bashi Channel and the Miyako Strait.

Photos later circulated by Chinese state media indicated the patrols happened on November 19 or just four days after the ASEAN Summit in Manila where the regional bloc agreed to create a binding Code of Conduct for the South China Sea. There’s no evidence the events are linked and it seems the combat air patrols were meant to either practice war time maneuvers or provoke Taiwan.

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