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Armored Cars: Norinco VP14

May 11, 2021
Via Chinese media.

The remarkable growth in Chinese armored vehicle production during the previous decade has mostly gone unnoticed. As a consequence a whole catalog of protected 4×4’s exist with neither outside awareness nor brand recognition. That is until these same vehicles were advertised, together with their pertinent details, on well-known e-commerce websites as an export. After successive appearances in exhibitions such as the Zhuhai Air Show, which is held every two years, the elusive VP14 is now open to orders starting at $90,000. But wait, there’s more!

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Ukraine Is Pitching Its Newest Rocket Artillery To Asian Countries

May 10, 2021
Via Iraqi media/IQDEX 2021.

The IQDEX 2021 arms show went by with little fanfare even if Iraqi officialdom did their part attending the four-day event that took place from April 10 to 13. A careful perusal of the scant media coverage left behind does provide useful insights on how the Middle East’s demand for military technology is changing. There’s now ample evidence that, when it comes to overall sophistication, Middle Eastern states have the best to choose from. This coincides with a broad regional effort at organizing national armaments industries.

With the US no longer as steadfast as it once was in propping up Iraq as an ally, other countries are trying to fill the gap such as China, Pakistan, and Ukraine.

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The Rocket Artillery Of Azerbaijan Is Overwhelming

May 3, 2021
Pictured from right to left: Two BM-30 Smerch, three EXTRA, a single mobile command post, and two Polonez rocket launchers. Via Azerbaijan media.

There were no shortage of regional conflicts erupting in 2020 amid the deadly COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the entire world. The most bitter and intense saw all out war in the Nagorno-Karabakh (“Artsakh” to Armenians) enclave that Azerbaijan has been trying to reclaim since the 1990s. The 44 days of brutal fighting from September 27 until November 10 ended with a ceasefire and almost permanent territorial gains for Baku, whose military threw its entire might at the defending Armenians. Before the year was out a military parade took place in Azerbaijan’s capital where President Aliyez and his constant ally President Erdogan of Turkey gloated over the spoils taken from the Armenians.

But the same event did help advertise Azerbaijan’s immense and unparalleled selection of rocket artillery.

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The Future Of The Iranian Military Is A Pickup Truck

May 1, 2021
Via Iranian media.

This year’s scheduled parades to mark Army Day in Iran featured the usual pomp and variety. A surprising development, however, is the widespread participation of the Aras 2 pickup truck at the ceremonies that took place across multiple locations on April 18. The vehicle is assembled in a state-owned factory and runs on Nissan parts imported from China. The Aras 2 subscribes to a single cab layout with a bed that fits different kinds of equipment. Seen in the photo above shared by Iranian media are Aras 2 trucks employed as mobile launchers for drones. It’s important to note the rails holding the unmanned aircraft aren’t mounts but are an actual launch system. This means the entire vehicle serves a combat role and isn’t a parade ornament.

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Asian Militaries Love Their Homegrown Drones

April 26, 2021
Via ISPR.

The annual Army Day parade on March 25 served as a grandiose martial spectacle for Pakistan. Aside from the usual columns of tanks and armored vehicles, semitrailers rolled by the crowded pavilions to reveal the latest unmanned aircraft manufactured by the state-owned enterprise Global Industrial Defence Solutions (GIDS). One of them carried what was arguably the parade’s highlight–the full-sized Shahpar II medium altitude drone. For years the existence of this particular model never went beyond speculative commentary and unsourced photos. There was little to no evidence of it having entered production. From now on, however, it’s clear GIDS’ success at manufacturing drones can propel it to the very cutting edge of unmanned systems.

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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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