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Iraq Is Making Its Own Small Chinese Rockets

April 23, 2021
Inert heavy weapons were on display outside the venue. Via IQDEX/MoD.

Despite scant media coverage the ninth installment of IQDEX, which is the only genuine arms show in Iraq, had ample surprises for participants and visitors alike. For starters, the organizers–with the full cooperation of the defense ministry–wished to emphasize the progress being made in the military-industrial sector. Refurbished heavy weapons, among them a D30 howitzer, were displayed outside the venue. These belonged to the Iraqi Military Industrialization Corporation, also known as the IMIC, and its actual products included the Chinese Type 63 rocket launcher or “tubular rocket launcher 107.”

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Armored Cars: Norinco Airborne Combat Vehicle

April 20, 2021
Via Chinese media.

A fully enclosed wheeled transport is now in service with the elite PLAAF airborne, the largest contingent of its kind in Asia, and their latest vehicle boasts some very remarkable features. An alleged successor to the original VN3 that Norinco experimented with in the 2000s, this new troop carrier has a double cab layout and space for six dismounts along with a roof turret for a large caliber main armament. In the photo above it’s a 30mm cannon, which means any soft-skinned opponent it encounters will get shot to pieces.

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China Is Overproducing Anti-Tank Missiles

April 18, 2021
Poly Defence ATGM. Via IQDEX/Iraqi MoD.

Not to be confused with the well-known arms show from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the latest installment of IQDEX in Baghdad was a modest event by regional standards. But Iraq’s internal troubles always lent the biennial gathering an urgency its counterparts couldn’t muster. There were many world-class exhibitors at IQDEX 2021 that took place from April 10 until 13in Baghdad, this being the show’s ninth installment, and among them were China’s Norinco and its sibling Poly Technologies/Poly Defence. It was in the latter’s commodious exhibition space where a curious armament was left on display.

Turns out it’s another Chinese anti-tank missile launcher.

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Iranian Drone Manufacturing Is Unstoppable

April 9, 2021
From left-to-right, the Kaman-22 drone, an ECM pod, a laser-guided bomb, and a laser targeting pod. Via Iranian media.

Hardly four months into 2021 and the year is becoming a watershed for Iran’s unmanned systems. The armed forces are close to adopting a new combat UAV that, by the looks of it, resembles the Predator-series made by General Atomics. But in this case looks are deceiving and the many comparisons made of the Kaman-22 pictured above with the MQ-9 Reaper are unhelpful. The use of a monoplane airframe with a distinct nose bulge and a V-tail is universal for long endurance drones–whether it’s the Israeli Hermes 900 or the Turkish Anka–and doesn’t suggest a link to General Atomics’ Predator-series. Furthermore, the dimensions and layout of the Kaman-22 are incompatible with its older peers from abroad.

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Only Cry For The Living – Hollie McKay Witnesses A Nightmare War

April 3, 2021
Via Jocko Publishing.

The war journalist’s reminiscences are an enduring genre in non-fiction and today’s readers are well-served by the abundance of such books coming from the world’s trouble spots. Amid the current uncertainty left by the COVID-19 pandemic scant attention is being paid to the shambles left by the defeated Islamic State, whose far-fetched conquests devastated two countries. Only Cry For A Living: Memos From Inside the ISIS Battlefield uses the format of dispatches or memos from the field to chronicle how the terror group was beaten, eventually.

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China Has A New Missile Launcher For Its Friends

April 1, 2021
Via Chinese media.

The CM-501GA can give armies from three continents a decisive edge in any future war scenario if they adopt it in significant numbers. The missile launcher utilizes a 6×6 transport–the popular Dongfeng CSK181–whose elongated bed mounts the system containing 16 non-line-of-sight or NLOS missiles. Each of the munitions are vertically launched and emit a distinct white contrail as they accelerate on their flight path. End users have even more options when it comes to transporting the launcher; if they don’t like the truck it came with they can choose a different vehicle.

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Pakistan Is The Biggest Customer Of Chinese Tanks

March 15, 2021
A recent live fire exercise in the Cholistan desert offered visual proof the Type 85-II remains in service with the Pakistan Army. A few hundred of these Chinese tanks were delivered 30 years ago as a stopgap for the army’s obsolescent Type 59’s and its next main battle tank. Pakistan later acquired the Ukrainian T-80UD and began assembling the Al Khalid, a Norinco Type 90 tank with impressive mobility. The Type 85-II is comparable to the Soviet vintage T-72B when it comes to firepower and speed and can be identified for its small, angular turret and the driver’s hatch located to the left of the 125mm main gun. To tell the Type 85-II apart from the Al Khalid, observe their engine compartment–the Al Khalid’s is larger and its exhaust is at the back. Via ISPR.

Within the span of a year Pakistan’s military took critical steps to enhance its armored fleet with newer main battle tanks. This culminated with the unveiling of Al Khalid I tanks manufactured by Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) in July 2020. The Al Khalid I is a generational improvement over the Al Khalid, itself a Chinese design passed on by Norinco to HIT in the early 1990s, and boasts a Ukrainian engine and vehitronics–the latter is the equipment used by the commander and gunner to operate the tank. While the Al Khalids have layouts similar to Russian/Soviet T-series tanks the crucial difference is in their size and weight.

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Armored Cars: Osprea Mamba Mk7-X

March 8, 2021
Via Osprea.

The latest iteration of the battle tested Mamba Mk7, now rebranded as the Mamba Mk7-X, packs a 408 horsepower Deutz diesel engine and numerous improvements. This was possible with the addition of so many parts sourced from the United States. The larger engines, which leaves a towering bonnet above an equally massive grille, allows for so many performance tweaks. Its maximum road speed now reaches 120 kilometers per hour and gross vehicle weight reaches 16.8 tons. Ballistic protection reaches an impressive STANAG 3 or strong enough to resist machine guns. Boarding the vehicle is limited to a pair of swing doors for the cab and a single door at the back for the passengers.

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Indonesian Small Arms Are Primed For Export

March 7, 2021
Via PT Pindad.

Indonesia’s special forces branch known as KOPASSUS trained with the SS2-V5 A1 carbine in late January as part of their kit modernization. The new small arm is an upgraded SS2 with new furniture and a combination of a side folding and retractable stock. Front and back flip sights are mounted on a length of rail above the receiver and extends the full length of the barrel assembly. The original SS2-V5, itself a shortened version of the TNI’s standard assault rifle the SS2, had a side folding metal stock and a carrying handle doubling as a sight like on the AR-15.

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Kazakhstan Is Switching To Turkish Armor

March 1, 2021
Via Kazakhstan MOD.

A video clip of a driving test for a new wheeled APC was released last week via the defense ministry’s official news portal. Shown in the clip was a single 8×8 vehicle navigating rugged terrain and firing on mock targets. It turns out this was a Turkish-made Otokar ARMA supplied to the Kazakhstan military in its latest effort to modernize its ground forces who are still reliant on Russian-made vehicles.

The Otokar ARMA is one of two competing modular wheeled APC models in Turkey. Its closest rival is the equally impressive FNSS PARS, which is renowned for its flawless suspension system and interior layout, whose operators include Malaysia, Oman, and the UAE.

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Iran Has A Lot Of New Combat Drones

February 4, 2021
Via Iranian media.

A stalemate now hangs over the Middle East pitting a defiant Islamic Republic against a loose coalition involving the US, Gulf monarchies, and Israel. With diplomacy rendered useless these past several years Iran’s military industries have accelerated their output of new weapon systems for all domains. The results so far are inarguable. A much publicized showcase of unmanned aircraft in January served as a stark reminder how formidable the Artesh and Revolutionary Guards’ (IRGC) drone arsenal is.

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South Korean Armor Can Change Ground Warfare

February 2, 2021
Via Hanwha Defense.

A new infantry fighting vehicle developed by Hanwha Defense is competing against a German rival for one of the biggest land system contracts in the Asia-Pacific. Under the Land 400 program, which is supposed to equip the Australian Army with wheeled and tracked infantry transports, the Phase 3 requirement for 450 IFVs will be decided by 2022 and the rivals are the AS21 Redback (pictured above) and the Rheinmetall KF41 Lynx. In January this year Hanwha Defense Australia received the hull of its Redback mounting a turret enhanced with defensive features by Israeli manufacturers Elbit Systems and Plasan.

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