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The Iranian Military Have A Favorite Pickup Truck

May 26, 2019

These Aras pickup trucks and the anti-aircraft guns behind them are 100% made in Iran. Via Iranian media.

The Army Day parade in Tehran last April 18 spared nothing when it came to pomp and scale. From impeccable columns of marching infantry to trailers laden with missiles, the occasion was ideal for scrutinizing Iran’s regular armed forces, also known as the the Artesh, and its varied arsenal collected over the decades. As Iranian military parades go, this year’s brought a lot of old equipment mixed with a few pleasant surprises. A real eyecatcher were the numerous pickup trucks festooned with banners.

The model known as Aras (pictured above) has mysterious origins and it’s unclear which Iranian carmaker is responsible for manufacturing it. Even the Defense Industries Organization (DIO), the conglomerate responsible for all military production, never released a brochure detailing its characteristics.

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Pakistan Launched A Shaheen II Ballistic Missile Because It Can

May 26, 2019


An entire swathe of Asia is a hotbed for advanced missile technology and there’s little that can be done to curb this worrisome trend. While rogue states like Iran and North Korea grab headlines, often from their very own official propaganda, whenever they publicize missile activities, Pakistan remains beyond reproach even as it keeps building a potential nuclear deterrent against India. This week, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced a “training launch” for the Shaheen II ballistic missile that some interpreted as a jab at India.

But the context of the Shaheen II’s latest outing was never explained in full and Pakistan is known to flex its missile arsenal several times each year.

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Armored Cars: Tumosan Pusat

May 25, 2019

Via Tumosan.

The newest protected 4×4 to come out of Turkey, an unacknowledged world leader in armored vehicle production, is the Pusat. Joining the ongoing craze for hulking yet nimble armored trucks, the Pusat fit nine people and still weighed less (just 12 tons maximum) than a hand-me-down MRAP from the 2000s. First shown to the public in 2017 it soon disappeared from view except for online images and a short video clip shared by its manufacturer Tumosan–a decades old company known for its farm tractors. Based on the promotional media about the Pusat, it was meant to launch a family of vehicles that includes a protected 6×6 cargo transport and a wheeled 8×8 infantry fighting vehicle. But these never materialized.

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Belarus Is Proud Of Its Chinese Ballistic Missile(s)

May 22, 2019

The missile was displayed next to the Polonez launch vehicle. Via Belarus media.

Held every two years, the new MILEX 2019 that took place at the Minsk-Arena spanned four days (May 15 until 18) and involved 170 exhibitors. It also proved Belarus, no matter its economic constraints, has a thriving military-industrial sector whose best offerings are automotive products, optoelectronics, unmanned systems, and missile components. The national press may have given the arms show more than its share of coverage yet a startling detail from the event hasn’t garnered enough attention.

The outdoor display surrounding the venue’s main entrance featured rows of different vehicles. The largest was the Polonez multiple rocket launcher and next to it was an inert missile. (Pictured above, framed in purple.)

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The US Is Selling Patriot Missiles To Its GCC Allies

May 17, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Separate batches of Patriot PAC-3 missiles and their launchers are soon arriving in two Gulf states. On May 3 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) made simultaneous announcements that requests for sales of air defenses by Bahrain and the UAE were approved, totaling $5.2 billion. The oil-rich island near the Saudi coast is receiving a battery of PAC-3 SAMs while the Emirates’ military can look forward to 452 new missiles for their own deployed Patriots. The timing of the DSCA is fortuitous with the sudden war clouds gathering over the region.

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Turkish Aerospace Outed A Massive Bomber Drone

May 16, 2019

Via TAI.

A stunning revelation at the IDEF 2019 arms show in Istanbul, held from April 30 until May 3, was a massive twin engine and twin-boom medium altitude UAV from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). The “Aksungur” was on display atop a small stage, its wings loaded with ordnance. While not the first armed drone to emerge from Turkey, it looks like the most ambitious yet. A large single engine twin-boom drone like the Israeli Super Heron, for example, can travel a thousand kilometers. With two engines and a wingspan many times longer than its fuselage, the Aksungur looks like a genuine bomber tailored for close air support (CAS).

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This New Wheeled APC Could Soon Boost Gulf Arab Militaries

May 15, 2019

Via Ukroboronprom.

One of the standouts at the IDEX 2019 arms show in Abu Dhabi last February was the Wahash APC from Calidus. The vehicle had a raised hull whose shape is meant for deflecting powerful explosions the same way as a mine-resistant truck. In another clear sign the UAE’s military industries are collaborating with foreign suppliers, the Wahash’ main armament was sourced from Ukraine. This earned it raves from Ukraine’s state-owned holding company that governs its weapon manufacturers.

Aside from substantial armor panels on either side of its hull, the Wahash supports a Ukrainian remote controlled turret called Shturm-M. Previously installed on the BTR-3 wheeled APC, the Shturm-M combines a 30mm cannon with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun plus two Barrier anti-armor missiles.

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This Ukrainian Arms Show Is Now Registering Exhibitors

May 15, 2019

Via Arms and Security show organizer.

The organizers behind Ukraine’s annual state-sponsored arms show want to attract even more participants than before. Each year, Arms and Security draws thousands of visitors who flock to the International Exhibition Centre in Kyiv. Its latest installment spans four days, from October 8 to 11, and brings hundreds of exhibitors who are displaying their products indoors and outdoors. During Arms and Security 2018, for example, the transporter for Ukraine’s new road mobile anti-ship missile was put on static display.

21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) will help promote the Arms and Security exhibition in Kyiv this October.

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Armored Cars: Supacat SPV400

May 15, 2019

Via Supacat.

First publicized in 2010 as an entrant in the UK defense ministry’s Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) competition, the Supacat SPV400 was the main rival of the Foxhound that emerged victorious. With its luster having dimmed the SPV400 still counts as a rare homegrown effort by a UK company at a less cumbersome mine-protected vehicle that saves soldier’s lives. Although Supacat‘s reputation was built on its super fast commando trucks, its distinctive SPV400 maintains its place in their catalog. Besides, its finer aspects are commendable. At its best the SPV400 scales 7.5 tons fully loaded and maintains its composure when taking on the brunt of catastrophic explosions.

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Turkey Has A New Amphibious Vehicle For Marines Everywhere

May 14, 2019


The recent IDEF 2019 arms show in Istanbul was dominated by Turkish vehicle manufacturers who enjoyed generous amounts of media exposure and official patronage. Not to be outdone by its competitors, export savvy FNSS held nothing back and parked its entire land systems catalog in an orderly row. Having closed major deals with Indonesia, Malaysia, Oman, and Qatar in the last eight years alone, FNSS has emerged as a serious contender in its niche. But their latest creation surely turned a lot of heads at IDEF 2019. Modeled after the AAV-7 of the US Marine Corps, the ZAHA (an acronym for the program behind its creation) offers enhanced protection and survivability for amphibious “ship-to-shore” operations.

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Empire of the Winds – Philip Bowring Invents The Nusantarian Past

May 13, 2019

Via Bloomsbury Publishing.

It could be the most peculiar volume on Southeast Asia ever published. In Empire of the Winds veteran journalist and old school “Asia hand” Philip Bowring offers a dramatic and highly informative take on the region’s history. Spanning the last Ice Age until the present crisis over the South China Sea, Bowring presents his subject as a vital domain best described as “Nusantaria”–taken from the antiquated Malay word for an archipelago.

Rather than follow a chronological narrative or split his chapters among countries, Bowring stretches the imagination with sequential episodes spanning millennia. By trying to encompass everything that ever happened between the Indian Ocean and the Philippine Sea, whether it’s trade or cultural practices, he executes a wonderful revision of the past and leaves readers with some very big ideas to ponder.

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Honeywell Aerospace Sees Opportunities Everywhere In Asia

May 12, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

This year’s Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace exhibition (LIMA 2019) in Malaysia upheld its reputation as the region’s most significant airshow. Although no major deals were announced the number of participants and the varied hardware put on display reinforced the host country’s position as a hub for the global aerospace industry. A significant presence at LIMA 2019 were American companies eager to maintain their corner of the market, which is quite large with so many local air forces dependent on US-made airframes.

Honeywell Aerospace reached out to 21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) for a discussion about its strategy in the Asia-Pacific.

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