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Russian Paratroopers Finally Have A New Assault Rifle

May 12, 2019

The world’s most intimidating military parade was another stupendous display of the Russian Federation’s hard power. Sure, the kit and weapons, with a lot of both introduced this decade, are starting to lose their allure as they become commonplace. Yet this year’s May 9 Victory Day parade, marking 74 years since the Soviet Union crushed Nazi Germany, still had its surprises. With much of the occasion dominated by President Vladimir Putin’s address and the ensuing rituals to welcome the marching infantry, viewing the armaments rolling by the Kremlin always brings intriguing details into focus.

But a pleasant surprise was found among the soldiers stomping across Red Square. One particular elite unit brought their new Kalashnikov rifles with them. (Pictured above.)

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The Philippines Is Absolutely Not An Ally Of China

May 12, 2019

The Philippine Navy’s own BRP Andres Bonifacio is on the far left. Via Philippine Navy.

This week a frigate of the Philippine Navy (PN) joined a Quad Alliance flotilla as it crossed the disputed South China Sea on the way to Singapore. The trip was to fulfill this year’s joint exercises called ADMM-plus MARSEC FTX 2019 that span South Korea and Singapore. Starting in the former’s Busan, the flotilla then traveled to Changi. The composition of the ships was very telling as it involved Japan’s “helicopter destroyer” JS Izumo and its destroyer escort JS Murasame, the Indian Navy’s destroyer INS Kolkata and the tanker INS Shakti, and the token US Navy destroyer USS William P. Lawrence.

The PN sent one of its three Gregorio del Pilar-class frigates to South Korea for the annual joint exercise. In April, another PN frigate sailed alongside the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp for Balikatan 2019. The signs are clear as day: the Philippine military remains a faithful US ally.

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Armored Cars: SVOS Perun

May 8, 2019

Via SVOS.

The newest modular protected 4×4 to come out of Central Europe was tailored for special forces who must travel cross-country. But the resulting vehicle was so robust it’s being marketed as a be-anything/do-anything troop carrier for armies on tight budgets. Far from an experiment in a competitive niche, the company SVOS built its reputation as a trusted supplier of armor panels with a pretty decent MRAP to its name. Its Perun is a deliberate push to capture a market that, in terms of scale, remains vast and underserved. This is why SVOS are quick to emphasize the vehicle’s compatibility with NATO standards, its serious butambiguous level of ballistic and explosive protection, and its authentic in-house design.

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Is There Still Hope For Iranian Air Power?

May 7, 2019

A batch of Saeqeh fighters during Army Day. Via Iranian media.

The past several months have seen an unmissable uptick in Iranian military activities meant to rouse nationalistic fervor as the economy withers from harsh US-led sanctions. Since late 2018 the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) enjoyed serious attention from state propaganda. The Eghtedar 97 exercises in January showed how the regular military or the Artesh could fight conventional battles with close air support. Then in late February, as part of Eghtedar 40 events that commemorated the 1979 revolution, the IRIAF held an exhibition at an airbase outside Tehran.

During this year’s Army Day on April 18 the IRIAF did their part to show off Iran’s military strength with flights over Tehran. Of course, these myriad activities can never gloss over the IRIAF’s decrepit state.

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This Chinese Armored Car Is Propping Up The Maduro Regime

May 4, 2019

The VN4 in Caracas. Via news footage.

In the early morning of May 1 the internationally recognized Venezuelan leader, President Juan Guaido, shared a video clip on social media encouraging the country’s armed forces along with the citizenry to revolt and overthrow his rival President Nicolas Maduro. Accompanying Guaido in the La Carlota airbase were armed military defectors and opposition figures. By noon his supporters battled armored cars of the national guard, known for their acronyms “GNB,” as these tried breaching La Carlota’s perimeter. Guaido’s latest attempt at replacing the Maduro regime fizzled, however, proving the effectiveness of the domestic security apparatus at crushing dissent.

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The Guy Behind 21AAR Has A Book Coming Out

May 3, 2019

Manila’s Legislative Building collapsed from intense bombardment during the last stages of the battle for Manila in early March, 1945.

It was a tense February evening in 1945 when the Flying Columns belonging to the 1st Cavalry Division raced toward the University of Santo Tomas, which was among Manila’s oldest surviving schools. Just days prior, the commander of the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) General Douglas MacArthur warned of an impending massacre in the historic campus held by the Imperial Japanese Army. But rather than fighting their way in, the Flying Columns stormed the entrance and discovered the Japanese had barricaded themselves with 300 hostages. After tense negotiations, the GIs watched as their enemies marched out of the premises before the Red Cross arrived.

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How Many Weapons Can A Dragoon Carry?

April 30, 2019

The Dragoon in its 1980s heyday. It was envisioned as the best scout vehicle on four wheels with a punch stronger than most boring old APCs. Photo via Jane’s Light Tanks and Armored Cars, 1984.

For a vehicle designed in the 1970s, the versatility of the Dragoon in its second version is astounding. End users may deploy the Dragoon 2 ASV either as a fast reaction security vehicle or a weapons platform for convoy protection. With high hardness steel armor strong enough to resist assault rifles and machine guns, the Dragoon 2 is even more lethal when equipped with its own armament. The Spanish manufacturer Star Defense Logistics & Engineering (SDLE) offers a selection of armament choices for the vehicle.

The standard defensive feature of the Dragoon 2 is a basic ring mount for a general purpose machine gun. It’s also possible to swap the machine gun for an automatic grenade launcher like the Mk19 or the H&K GMG. Larger choices are available. (See above.) Whether as a recce vehicle or missions involving urban combat, a Dragoon 2 with an enclosed turret and a 20mm or 25mm cannon is as effective as current NATO IFVs.

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Balikatan 2019 Was About Small-Scale War With China

April 30, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

As the latest inarguable proof that the Philippines and the US are steadfast allies in the face of global disorder, this year’s annual Balikatan (translates as “solidarity”) exercises focused on actual warfighting rather than humanitarian missions. The latter became a preference since 2017 when President Rodrigo Duterte, whose admiration for China is hardly secret, threatened to sever relations with Washington, DC. Duterte has lambasted his country’s historic ally on many occasions, accusing the US of “bullying” and genocide.

Yet during the two weeks of Balikatan 2019, whose schedule lasted from April 1 until 12, several thousand allied troops participated in battles that bore little resemblance to the “counter-terror” threat emphasized by official press releases.

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Armored Cars: Leninska Kuznya Triton-01

April 26, 2019

Via Leninska Kuznya.

An entire generation of wheeled armored vehicles emerged from Ukraine as a response to its war against Russian-backed separatists. A true outlier is the Triton-01 unveiled at a Kyiv arms show in 2016. Manufactured by a shipyard (owned by former President Poroshenko) that launched a non-maritime production line to meet the needs of the country’s armed forces, the Triton-01 boasted a welded steel hull and extensive weaponry. It was even possible for it to support a remote controlled turret that combined a 12.7mm machine gun and an automatic grenade launcher. A variant of the Triton-01 had two propellers behind the rear tires allowing it to swim across rivers and streams at 10 kilometers per hour.

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Japan And The Philippines Are Really Close Allies

April 26, 2019

Via DND / dnd.gov.ph

A delegation led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana arrived in Tokyo last week for a ministerial meeting with his Japanese counterpart. The Department of National Defense (DND) described the event as “increasing cooperation at all levels across major services…to deepen exchanges in the areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster response between ground forces, ship repair and maintenance between maritime forces, and professional airmanship between air forces.”

While details of the conference held by the two parties weren’t revealed, it’s clear that a tangible alliance is now in place whose unstated goal is thwarting China’s maritime claims over Philippine waters.

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This Vietnamese Arms Show Will Be Booking At IDEF 2019

April 24, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

IDEF 2019 is taking place from April 30 until May 3 in Istanbul’s well-known Tuyap exhibition venue. The 14th installment of the regional arms show is the largest in Turkey with 477 local companies scheduled to exhibit. There are just as many foreign ones at the show along with a few organizers eager to book prospects for their own events. One example is the team behind DSE Vietnam 2019 that’s scheduled from October 2 to 4 at I.C.E. Hanoi.

The upcoming DSE Vietnam is organized by Expo Services Pte Ltd who are responsible for the successful ADAS arms shows in the Philippines. 21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is a media partner for DSE Vietnam 2019.

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The Iranian Army Have A Not-So-Secret Super Weapon

April 23, 2019

Via Iranian Media.

Iran celebrated Army Day with military parades in several cities on April 18. Of course, the largest among them was in Tehran’s Imam Khomeini mausoleum whose palatial expanse includes a parade ground. It bears repeating the Islamic Republic’s armed forces isn’t a cohesive institution but a grouping of organizations. Foremost is the Revolutionary Guard or IRGC who were targeted with sanctions this month. The IRGC in turn draws its manpower from the Basij militia. The much larger Artesh passes for the “regular” armed forces with its conscripted soldiers and separate branches.

During this year’s Army Day parade the Artesh showed off their colorful arsenal. Although much of it is antiquated, the large diameter rockets that were driven by President Rouhani deserves close attention.

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