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The Drone Index: NASB Burevestnik MB

July 4, 2018

Via social media.

For some inexplicable reason a genuine medium altitude attack UAV hasn’t come out of Europe despite so many promising starts. This is what makes the existence of the Burevestnik MB all the more remarkable. As a product of a state-owned university’s corporate arm, a twin-boom design was used as the basis for an airframe that’s able to launch dumb and smart ordnance.

For Belarus to have armed drones at its disposal–and ready for export–is a significant leap by a country often dismissed as a technological backwater. Even Russia, with its gargantuan military build up, hasn’t managed a real attack UAV other than small models for artillery spotting.

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The Indian Army Really Wants A Foreign Battle Rifle

July 4, 2018

This week India’s The Economic Times revealed high ranking army officers are visiting a handful of gun makers to find a new battle rifle and a carbine for the country’s soldiers. This follows a Request for Proposal (RFP) submitted to at least a dozen potential suppliers who could fulfill a huge order of 7.62x51mm battle rifles and 5.56x45mm carbines.

After rejecting a locally made battle rifle in June 2017, the Indian Army plans on importing 72,400 rifles and 93,895 carbines. The latter are for its special forces and paramilitary units. The same RFP from earlier this year specified light machine guns as well, but it seems these are no longer being sought.

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The Philippines Is Drifting Toward The Quad Alliance

July 4, 2018

The BRP Andres Bonifacio (frigate) and the BRP Davao del Sur (LPD) trail the INS Sahyadri en route to Hawaii for RIMPAC 2018. Via Philippine Navy.

Despite Manila’s best efforts at finding an easy compromise to solve the South China Sea crisis, its military preparations in the past six months are a far cry from President Duterte’s dalliance with Beijing. This week, two of the Philippine Navy’s (PN) largest ships are participating in the annual RIMPAC exercises led by the US Navy. The latest installment of the long-running joint exercises didn’t welcome China anymore, but vessels from 25 navies–including Israel’s–showed up.

On the same day RIMPAC 2018 was officially launched another US aircraft was in Manila on a goodwill visit.

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Singapore Wants To Replace Its F-16 Multirole Fighters

July 2, 2018

Southeast Asia’s city state is now shopping for a new multirole fighter that can augment its powerful air force, according to a fresh scoop from Reuters. The head of Singapore’s defense ministry was quoted saying potential replacements for 60 F-16C/D’s are being evaluated. Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen didn’t mention any specific criteria for the new fighters, except every major platform was on the table, including the F-35B and even “Sukhois.”

Singapore’s combat aircraft are split between US-made bespoke F-15SG and F-16C/D squadrons. Though never flown in a regional conflict, the fleet is considered Southeast Asia’s most formidable and superior to their counterparts from Indonesia and Malaysia.

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China Really Acts Like It Owns The South China Sea

July 2, 2018

A PLAN Type 052C destroyer. Via Wikimedia Commons.

June saw a remarkable tempo of Chinese naval activities in its nearby waters. But these received little coverage from official propaganda and even legitimate news reports gave little insight on what exactly transpired. It’s also understandable for the Singapore Summit between the US and North Korean heads of state to have overshadowed China’s frequent military exercises.

There were three naval exercises held in the past month. This included a “Chinese Coast Guard” drill lasting a whole week that took place at the same time PLAN warships used target drones to test their anti-aircraft weapons. As the end of the month neared, another PLAN flotilla encircled Taiwan in a simulated blockade.

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Armored Cars: Carmor Mantis

July 1, 2018

Via Carmor.

There’s now a deliberate trend being pushed by vehicle manufacturers for light armored scout cars. While niches such as MRAPs are overflowing with competition, the emerging demand for less cumbersome off-road fighting machines is quickly being met by Israeli companies. One of them is Carmor’s Mantis that was unveiled at Eurosatory 2018, the largest arms show in France.

The Mantis boasts all around protection from gunfire and a small profile that can navigate dirt paths and trails much better than a Hilux full of commandos. In its current form the Mantis functions like a pickup but there are options for making it an APC.

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Azerbaijan Just Showed Off All Its New Weapons

July 1, 2018

Infantry squares march past the Presidential Palace in Baku on June 26. Via president.az

This week marked a hundred years since the founding of Azerbaijan’s modern army during the short-lived Azeri republic that emerged in 1918. To commemorate the anniversary, President Ilham Aliyev was in Baku’s scenic Azadliq Square on June 26 where a lavish spectacle took place. It was the perfect occasion to show off the different weapons purchased by his government these past few years.

For his speech during the June 26 parade Aliyev hit all the proper notes–the wonderful progress Azerbaijan made since gaining full independence in 1993; the country’s rightful claim to Nagorno-Karabakh; and how strong the armed forces had become under his leadership. So how strong is Azerbaijan’s military now? Pretty strong.

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Adsum Risk Can Save Your Business From Trouble

June 29, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Emerging markets are tough. While multinationals get excited by the lure of a growing middle class and lower costs, their presence locally can attract unwanted attention. Just as retaining a law firm to troubleshoot legal issues is a necessary expense, having a risk consultant at hand goes a long way in protecting a company’s bottom line.

With 30 years of experience dealing with threats to businesses and organizations, Adsum Risk Consulting (ARC) is a dependable partner for navigating the pitfalls that litter the Philippines’ colorful business landscape. On its own, ARC covers everything from background checks to corporate spies. Here are four business risks they’re adept at handling.

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Here Are Seven Superpower Metrics Dominated By China

June 28, 2018

Depending on how its economic data is interpreted, it’s only a matter of time before China overshadows the US and asserts control over global trade. But another point of view championed by Sino-skeptics claims that intrinsic faults in its one party system’s governance, coupled with macroeconomic trends, will doom China to long-term stagnation sooner rather than later.

Either way, there’s little evidence to suggest China is fading from the world stage. The opposite is happening, in fact. As Beijing and Washington, DC exchange glancing blows over trade, it’s helpful to examine the salient features of China’s newfound prominence. Here are seven categories where it reigns at first place.

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Can North Korea Surrender Its Nuclear Arsenal?

June 27, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

The whole world breathed a collective sigh of relief on June 12, when US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un signed an accord in Singapore that had four vital stipulations. First, Washington, DC and Pyongyang are now on good terms. Second, they’ll strive to achieve lasting peace. Third, both countries promised to keep working toward “denuclearization.” Fourth and last, North Korea agreed to repatriate the remains of Americans killed in the Korean War.

No matter what the critics dish out, the breakthrough in Singapore meant the risk of destructive conflict in East Asia has subsided–for now. But there’s still uncertainty about North Korea’s pivot from its brinkmanship. Will Pyongyang even be nice enough to surrender its nuclear arsenal?

Here are a collection of insights and views shared in the post-Singapore afterglow.

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Bahrain Is Paying Billions For New Weapons

June 27, 2018

The US’ military industries are enjoying a heyday in the Middle East. As tensions with Iran ratchet up again while a bitter dispute is tearing the GCC apart, one of the smaller countries in the region is determined to possess as much firepower as it can afford. Bahrain has never been much of a spender on foreign arms but its desperate need for advanced weapons could mean a windfall for Washington, DC.

This week Lockheed Martin announced it was ready to deliver 16 new F-16 Block 70 multirole fighters for Bahrain within two years. The deal worth a reported $1.12 billion marks a huge breakthrough for the aerospace giant and Manama–the former preserves its domestic production line while the latter will receive a micro-air force.

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Armored Cars: International Armored Group RILA

June 23, 2018

Via International Armored Group.

One of the newer mine-resistant trucks in the market today comes from International Armored Group (IAG) from the UAE. First unveiled in 2017, the Rila is the largest armored vehicle developed by the company and is supposed to entice customers looking for a cost-effective battle transport that isn’t US Army surplus.

The Rila’s appearance is archetypal for its class, with a v-hull stretched over a commercial chassis from Iveco, and its main selling point is spaciousness. A total of 12 passengers entering through a rear swing door can be seated in its troop compartment, with ample space left in the cab for the driver and their partner.

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