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The Biggest Arms Show In Turkey Starts This Week

May 9, 2017

Every two years the cream of Turkey’s military-industrial complex, along with multitudinous foreign companies, congregate in Tüyap Fair Convention and Congress Center for IDEF. It’s the largest multi-service (land, air, sea, and space) arms show of its kind in the region and a showcase for a country’s rising manufacturing sector.

IDEF’s origins date to 1993 as a project of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF) and the Ministry of National Defense for attracting suppliers and joint ventures. Almost 25 years later Turkey is a bright light in the global defense industry and its homegrown champions are poised for high profile exports to new markets.

21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is a media partner for IDEF 2017, which runs from May 9 until 12.

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Highlights Of OEWatch For May 2017

May 8, 2017

Each month the US Army’s think tank the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) publishes its open source OEWatch magazine as a free download.

The May 2017 issue of OEWatch is the shortest in recent memory and runs just 46 pages. The cover story is New Generation Media & Militias: Russia’s Search & Rescue In Syria, which is the title of the Special Essay on page 44.

The latest OEWatch is divided into six parts with an accompanying Special Essay. Editorial duties are shared between Tom Wilhelm, Karen Kaya, Keith French, and Lucas Winter with a familiar pool of contributing analysts.

May’s OEWatch begins with the Middle East, North Africa section serving up its usual entries on conflict and insecurity across the Arab world. There’s a lengthy discussion of Russia’s influence over Syria, Egypt, and Libya and whether this trio represents Moscow’s new regional footprint. The same subject resurfaces on page 10 about Russia’s growing attractiveness for North African states.

Iran occupies the bulk of the MENA entries. Two are focused on its technological breakthroughs like ballistic missile precision guidance (page 7) and a nanotechnology joint venture with China (page 8).

The Africa section is just as robust with a catalog of ills blighting the continent. The Latin America section is equally predictable as it combs through crime and political issues. There is, however, an entry about Brazil’s armored vehicle production and its upcoming wheeled 6×6 APC on page 25.

The Asia-Pacific section is rich on China-centric material. Pages 30 to 31 have serious treats for Beijing watchers, offering detailed entries about the PLA’s informatization doctrine and a review of India’s own literature about a looming war with China.

The Central Asia, Caucasus section is starved of valuable content, with just two pages whose writing ties the region back to Russia. Of course, OEWatch’s Russia section is filled to the brim but this time its coverage spans “Russia, Ukraine, Europe”–its new heading.

The section launches with a short essay about Russia’s “perspective” on modern conflict. The author’s conclusion on page 35 is quite grim: Russia sees itself as a nemesis of the West in a “world war” scenario. The existence of a counter-terrorism training facility in Chechnya merits some attention on page 36. A brief entry on page 39 sheds a little light on the shady practice of Russian draft dodging. According to the author, it’s now feasible to buy a certificate online proving completion of military service.

The Special Essay in this issue is a short affair written by Lucas Winter. It discusses how the downing of a Russian bomber over Syria in late 2015 and its consequences on the ground was portrayed in local pro-regime media. OEWatch often runs several dozen stories in a single issue. Readers should download copies to find what’s most relevant to their curiosity.


Armored Cars: Ashok Leyland Colt LTV

May 7, 2017

The original PVP in French use. It’s marketed by Renault as the Dagger but is better known as the Panhard PVP.

The Colt was a short-lived attempt by a giant of India’s automobile industry to corner the tactical vehicle market. Unveiled at an arms show in 2012, the Colt LTV was a licensed version of a proven French model from none other than Panhard, which is now a brand under the Renault umbrella.

Despite the premium appeal of French technology in South Asia, the Colt didn’t make as large an impact as intended. Ashok Leyland’s efforts at cornering lucrative tenders never led to the sought after contracts from the military. This is remarkable since the Indian Army are very fond users of jeeps–and the Colt is a jeep in new clothing.

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The Drone Index: KAI RQ-101 Night Intruder

May 6, 2017

As a world leader in electronics it isn’t surprising to learn how South Korea nurtures outsized ambitions for its domestic UAVs. But just like the rest of its manufacturing and industrial base it took decades until drones became claimed an indispensable role in the country’s security landscape.

The RQ-101 is the largest UAV from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and a stepping stone for future development of long-range and attack drones. The RQ-101 is a twin-boom model recognizable for the propeller guard that straddles either wing, looming above its airframe. The RQ-101’s conventional appearance reflects its role as an airborne intelligence system for surveilling territory and terrain.

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Saudi Arabia Plans To Launch Its Own Arms Industry

May 3, 2017

King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud’s reign began in 2015. A lifelong conservative and stalwart of his kingdom’s Islamist values, Salman is credited as a superb administrator who transformed Riyadh into a metropolis. But he’s rumored to be suffering from cognitive impairment as a consequence of old age. The king’s son Prince Muhammad is regarded a surrogate and heir apparent.

Saudi Arabia is carrying out a subtle program to build a domestic arms industry. During King Salman’s visit to China in March the resulting multibillion dollar deals included the transfer of armed UAV production. This will allow Saudi Arabia to operate its own fleet of attack drones and enhance its fledgling aerospace sector.

Yet recent statements by Saudi officials, even without further substantiation, indicate a serious effort to establish a military-industrial complex within the kingdom. After all, even with anemic global oil prices and a tightening state budget, the Saudis aren’t short of funds.

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The Philippines Has Given Up On The South China Sea

May 2, 2017

Via Chinese MND.

Manila and Beijing are carrying out an elaborate transaction to secure the latter’s claim over the entire South China Sea. Since assuming office President Duterte has repeatedly made comments excusing China’s actions over the body of water as he seeks better commercial ties with the Philippines’ largest trade partner.

The recent ASEAN Summit from April 28 to 29 was the latest venue where this pattern played out. An important communique drafted by Manila didn’t mention island building activities or the July 2016 ruling by the Hague that invalidated China’s historical claims over the contested waters.

Even before meeting ASEAN heads of state Duterte told local journalists it was pointless to criticize China about the maritime dispute with its neighbors. “Who can pressure China? [The] US?” the President said.

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Who Has The Strongest Military In ASEAN?

May 1, 2017

It’s one of the most remarkable geopolitical experiments in recent memory. It was 50 years ago when foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand endorsed the Bangkok Declaration on August 8, 1967, that created ASEAN–the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The result of this budding regional alliance are manifest today. Southeast Asian nations are more committed than ever to integrating their economies and cooperating in myriad trans-national projects. To think it all began when Indonesia’s Adam Malik suggested a treaty that would placate his worried colleagues over Jakarta’s expansionist ambitions.

But ASEAN isn’t just about easier travel and fewer tariffs among its 1o member states. Each of its countries, who are enjoying record GDP growth despite facing unique security issues, have militaries that are adopting, acquiring, and inventing new technologies for their own use. This begs the question: Who’s the strongest?

Readers must take heed, though. Any credible manpower figures are estimates at best and these are always changing. There isn’t a single Southeast Asian superpower yet, but at least six contenders can give it a shot if they really tried.

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The First True Chinese Aircraft Carrier Is Finished

April 27, 2017

On Wednesday, April 26, a small if significant event marked China’s undeniable debut among the world’s naval powers. A new aircraft carrier rumored to be under development since 2011 was launched from its dock in Dalian, its flight deck decorated with flags.

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Armored Cars: Nurol Makina Ejder Yalcin

April 20, 2017

Via Nurol Makina.

Here we have another strong addition to Turkey’s impressive stockpile of armored trucks. The Ejder Yalcin manufactured by Nurol Makina is a hefty 4×4 designed for police and military use. This explains its emphasis on protective features, internal volume, and overall size.

The Ejder or “Dragon” began as a concept in 2012 for a vehicular family. The first Ejder debuted at Turkey’s largest arms show in 2013. It immediately received an order and entered production the following year. The Ejder Yalcin marks a further improvement on the original and is a competitive entry in the world of tactical vehicles. The available literature about it avoids specifics on its armor level and subsystems but does mention what it can do.

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South Korea Is The New Arsenal Of Democracy

April 20, 2017

Your social life depends on their phones. Consumer goods everywhere reach markets on their ships. Everyone you know enjoys their food. And their cars are getting better and better.

South Korea’s place in the global economy is assured thanks to its Chaebols, those inscrutable corporate kingdoms fueling its first world momentum. But these same manufacturers serve another essential function: maintaining a vast war machine.

Because ever since the Panmunjon ceasefire South Korea had to exist on a permanent war footing against its militaristic other half and its ruling dynasty. This meant an endless cycle of conscription for South Korean males and an always rising defense budget that totaled $36.5 billion in 2017.

Though still dependent on a security umbrella provided by the US, South Korea’s modern arms industry traces its origins to the Yulgok Plan, or Yulgok Project, in 1974. This document led to the creation of a semi-secret slush fund for buying weapons abroad. At the same time public and private companies were empowered to begin developing modern weapon systems, an effort that continues until today. Thanks to the government’s stewardship, these same weapons can be bought by other democracies.

Take a look at them.

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The Philippines Is Rolling Out A National Cybersecurity Plan

April 8, 2017

The Philippine government is readying a set of strategies to thwart future cyber attacks. It’s called the National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 and its details were revealed by Allan Cabanlong during the recent Protect 2017 conference in late March.

The National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 is a multi-year initiative of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), a new government bureau established in 2016 whose overarching mission is to improve and help police the Philippine internet.

Cabanlong, who comes from a law enforcement background and is an assistant secretary in the DICT, went to great lengths explaining how the plan comes together. It’s a vital undertaking that should grab the attention of those who consider the internet essential for modern states and, like the US military, believe it’s a domain for modern warfare. For professionals in cyber, it reveals how one Southeast Asian country prepares for the dangers lurking in the web.

Here are its best parts.

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Highlights Of OEWatch For April 2017

April 8, 2017

Each month the US Army’s think tank the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) publishes its open source OEWatch magazine as a free download.

The April 2017 issue of OEWatch runs 60 pages. The cover story is The Chinese Military Deploys: Gaining Ground Through Peacekeeping In The Global Arena, which is the title of the Special Essay on page 56.

The latest issue of OEWatch is divided into six sections with a Special Essay at the end. Russia commands the brunt of the editorial team’s attention but the entries within the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific offer abundant reading material too.

There have been minor changes to the content as well. April’s OEWatch begins with Middle East, North Africa–a fresh designation that covers the entire Arab World–and the MENA region’s active conflicts are examined. Iran does attract much scrutiny with four entries about its armed forces. On page 6 is a very interesting analysis of Turkey’s attempts to acquire the Russian S-400 theater defense system.

The Africa section opens with a scoop on events in Somaliland, where the UAE is attempting to lease out a naval base for its Yemen operations. There’s also an insightful piece about Nigeria’s railroad deal with China that’s worth billions. Latin America’s entries are divided between the usual suspects; transnational crime and the precarious truce with Colombia’s FARC.

China dominates the Asia-Pacific section with five entries devoted to its foreign affairs and technological breakthroughs. The Central Asia, Caucasus is the runt of April, with just three stories. The Russia, Ukraine section almost spans 20 pages on everything connected with Moscow’s military activities.

The Special Essay is a lengthy discussion of China’s increasing role in multinational peacekeeping efforts.

Readers should be warned, however, that for some inexplicable reason the latest issue of OEWatch has a broken download link. Luckily, this has since been fixed.