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The Shah Of Iran Wanted The Strongest Military In Asia

March 4, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

A little more than a half century ago, one valuable US ally was proving to be a thorn on the side of Washington, DC. The Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, was restored to power in 1953 and nurtured an intense fondness for the imperial armed forces that propped up his reign. He believed the Artesh, equipped with the most advanced weapons money could buy, had a vital role securing the Persian Gulf and this was proven correct when the Shah ordered his army to put down the Dhofar Rebellion in Oman. The administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson were believers too; if only the Shah stopped demanding new fighter jets and an enormous aid package to pay for them.

By 1966, the great Iran-US arms deal ballooned to a multi-year $100 million line of credit for Phantom jets and Patton tanks, but the Shah wanted more. Out of frustration, and as a rebuke to LBJ, he bought weapons from the Soviets.

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Singapore Wants To Build An Amphibious Assault Ship

March 1, 2019

The largest transports of the RSN are the Endurance-class LPDs like the one pictured above. Via Wikimedia Commons.

The modest naval fleet of the city state will soon undergo a huge upgrade with its plans for an enormous “Joint Multi Mission Ship” (JMMS) whose flight deck supports several helicopters. Details surrounding the program to build one are scarce at the moment but its existence was confirmed by Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen on social media after he posted a detailed infographic for the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) acquisition plans, whose goals look better suited for a regional power. A genuine surprise was a blacked out silhouette for a large transport that had a Chinook helicopter hovering near its bow.

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AK-47 vs. Dragoon ASV: Who Wins?

February 28, 2019

Designed for missions in the nastier parts of the world, a wheeled combat vehicle like the Dragoon ASV must contend with the ultimate modern firearm–the AK-47 and its derivatives. Since entering production during the late 1940s, Kalashnikov rifles have rolled out of factories in the former Soviet Union and China (and other places) in mind-boggling quantities. The M43 7.62x39mm round is one of the most powerful rifle cartridges ever mass-produced and is widely available wherever armed conflict takes place, from Latin America’s teeming cities to the jungles of Southeast Asia and everywhere in between.

The AK-47 has a maximum effective range of 300 meters although its use is usually within less than 50 meters. This makes it a powerful weapon for adversaries who choose to fight in close quarters.

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The US Is Determined To Win The New Cold War

February 28, 2019

US Soldiers

According to Secretary Mark Esper, described by Reuters as “the top civilian at the US Army,” the Russian military’s expansion will lose steam by the late 2020s and this sets the stage for a decisive standoff with China in the decade after. Esper’s candid assessment was shared with Reuters journalists as the US Army unveiled its modernization plans now that the global order fractures under the strain of geopolitical rivalry. He did acknowledge some of the army’s equipment had fallen behind and nearly 200 projects had to be cut for expediency.

But Esper’s timeline isn’t too surprising and matches the forecasts of a public document prepared by the US Army’s TRADOC two years ago.

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Turns Out Iran Now Makes A Chinese Heavy Machine Gun

February 27, 2019

Via Iranian media.

The Islamic Republic boasts one of the Middle East’s largest domestic small arms industry and this was apparent during the lavish Eghtedar 40 exhibition in January to mark four decades since the present government seized power. Although the event was highlighted by drones and cruise missiles, the Defense Industry Organization’s (DIO) catalog of infantry weapons were put on display too. An unexpected surprise was a heavy machine gun of Chinese origin set up in a booth where various automatic and direct fire weapons were arranged.

It’s unclear when Iran’s state-owned military-industrial sector began rolling out large caliber armaments but the long war with Iraq during the 1980s is considered a starting point for their maintenance and repair.

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New Details Emerge About The Upcoming Submarines Of Taiwan

February 27, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

An executive of the country’s largest shipyard revealed an indigenous submarine will be completed by 2024. This is to fulfill the ROC Navy’s requirements for the next decade where it anticipates an asymmetric war with China should hostilities commence across the Taiwan Strait. Last year had six companies vie for a submarine tender and it was rumored a team of Japanese engineers were advising CSBC Corp., the shipyard tasked with assembling the new vessels.

In late February CSBC Corp. organized a convention for its suppliers and its Chairman Cheng Wen-lon announced the company is releasing a technical report on the submarine’s design on March 21 and the country’s first locally made submarine may start testing on 2024 and then enter service by 2025.

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Japan And Vietnam Have An Alliance Going On

February 26, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Vietnam’s official military news agency announced last week a meeting between the Deputy Defense Minister and the Japanese ambassador to lay the groundwork for “defense relations.” Few details about the substance of their conference in Hanoi were revealed except for the terse wording on the press release, which read “the two ministries boosted delegation exchanges…cooperation on personnel training, maritime security and aviation security, and overcoming war consequences.”

The addition of “war consequences” is a vague reference that may be connected to World War 2 and Vietnam War sites where unexploded ordnance are found. The possibility of arms sales between Hanoi and Tokyo is nil.

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Armored Cars: Paramount Group Mbombe 4

February 23, 2019

Via Paramount Group.

South Africa’s Paramount Group turned a lot of heads at the IDEX 2019 arms show in Abu Dhabi this month. The company unveiled its new Mbombe 4, the smallest member of a streamlined “family” they’ve been growing for the past few years. The “Mbombe” brand now applies to three vehicles. These are the modular 8×8 APC designed for Kazakhstan’s armed forces, the Mbombe 6×6 APC, and now the Mbombe 4 that shouldn’t be confused with the older Mbombe 4×4 MRAP whose production was transferred to Saudi Arabia.

Paramount Group wants the world to know the Mbombe 4 is ready for export as part of the company’s “portable production” strategy.

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Turkey Has Plans For A New Attack Helicopter

February 23, 2019

Model of the new attack helicopter shared by Undersecretariat of Defense Industries.

Turkey’s powerful SSB, an inter-government office for directing local armaments production, announced the launch of a new project for a “heavy attack” helicopter. A composite image of the rotorcraft, along with a promotional video clip, were shared on social media and other sites. Its appearance is an almost complete departure from Turkish Aerospace‘s successful ATAK gunship based on the Italian T129 Mangusta. Critical details about the project reveal a model comparable with the US-made AH-64E Apache Guardian and the Russian Mi-28N Night Hunter.

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Vietnam Is Getting Two Massive Arms Shows Just Months Apart

February 22, 2019

Hanoi now joins the circuit of regional capitals boasting high profile arms shows. These trade events are huge draws for military-industrial companies and various service providers looking to win procurement contracts with the national government and the local defense ministry. While Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok are more familiar locations for exhibitors, Hanoi always proved a difficult market to explore. That is, until two new arms shows were announced just months apart.

DSE Vietnam 2019, which is organized by the same team behind the Philippines’ ADAS, is taking place from October 2 to 4. Six months later, VIDSE 2020 happens on March 17 until 19. Both are taking place in the capital.

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Iran Put A Battlefield Robot On Public Display

February 20, 2019

Via Iranian Media.

This month Iran held a rare arms show to mark four decades since its “Islamic Revolution” that overthrew the US-backed Shah Pahlavi. Dubbed Eghtedar 40, a vast exhibit took place at a venue within Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum complex while another one was held at the Holy Defense Museum dedicated to the Iran-Iraq War. Since the Islamic Republic is cut off from regional arms shows in the Middle East and elsewhere, Eghtedar 40 served as a valuable showcase for locally made weapons and military products. While some items did raise eyebrows (a two-person canoe was left in a corner) there were a fair amount of surprises as well, like a four-wheeled battlefield robot.

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Hybrid Wars Need Hybrid Fighting Vehicles

February 19, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Many of today’s active conflicts involve armies clashing with local insurgencies. The difference now is the very idea of what used to be “guerilla war” is almost quaint. For example, during the 10 months that spanned Battle of Mosul fought between the Iraqi military together with the US-led Coalition and the Islamic State, the fighting was slow rather than decisive. At times, the Iraqi military’s own equipment seemed inadequate for their mission, which was to defeat terrorists holed up in civilian neighborhoods.

The same problems involving equipment and suitability are found in other hot spots, from the Horn of Africa to Southeast Asia’s jungles.

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