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The Philippine Military Is No Longer Obsolete

November 13, 2022
BrahMos cruise missiles in their transporters for Republic Day parade. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Thanks to a carefully planned, albeit slow and tedious, modernization program the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) overturned 30 years of decline and rebuilt its arsenal. In 2021 the Department of National Defense (DND) announced it was finalizing discussions with BrahMos Aerospace for the acquisition of its famous supersonic cruise missiles. The AFP’s decision to purchase the missiles goes back years, as early as 2012 when modernization plans were outlined, and by 2016 the air force and navy had determined the cost-effectiveness of the acquisition. However, it wasn’t until the very last day of 2021 when the DND confirmed it awarded a contract worth $374,962,800 to BrahMos Aerospace for the supply of three batteries, each with three launchers.

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Vietnam Keeps A Huge Artillery Stockpile

November 11, 2022
M-30 howitzers in storage. Via Vietnamese media.

Since its reunification in 1975 huge quantities of conventional weapons have been stored across the country and refurbished for continued use. But it was only in the past decade when evidence of this long-standing effort began to emerge online. What is now revealed in the public domain through state media is an astonishing cycle of repair and maintenance for an inventory most countries would struggle to match. So far, proof of a thriving armaments sector focused on basic infantry equipment is abundant. But what hasn’t received enough attention is another vital aspect of Vietnam’s military preparedness: vintage towed artillery.

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Iran Cannot Stop Making Anti-Aircraft Weapons

November 2, 2022

Four countries are now producing too many anti-aircraft and anti-missile defenses: China, India, Iran, and Russia. Of the four Iran is the most persistent in its goal to attain self-sufficiency with multilayered systems. This means it can still rely on some imported parts but the completed weapons are made at home. During the 2010s—a single decade—the IRGC and the regular armed forces embraced as many as 15 new anti-aircraft weapons, nearly all of them are road mobile SAMs. But in late August this year an outdoor exhibition to showcase recent achievements of the military-industrial sector featured a new anti-aircraft system. (Pictured above.) This time it combined the local variety of Sidewinder missiles with a rotary cannon.

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The IAI Carmel Is A Unique Combat Vehicle

November 1, 2022
Via IAI.

Since 2019 three companies have been involved in the development of Israel’s “Carmel.” In 2021 the program was taken over by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) after the defense ministry selected it as the prime contractor. Despite its limited exposure to land systems IAI’s catalog of air defense missiles and drones are rated the best in the world. The Carmel, as conceptualized in different media, subscribes to the ethos of maximal characteristics in firepower, protection, and mobility. Other countries have attempted the same but with mixed results. The introduction of the Carmel is still years away and details about its cutting-edge subsystems, what they are and what they do, are likely to change.

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Russia Is Pouring Loitering Munitions Into Ukraine

October 24, 2022
On September 22 the official media channel for Ukraine’s armed forces published its regular update on aerial kills. For the first time four Geran-2 or “Shahed-136” loitering munitions are counted.

The war reached its turning point in September when the operational momentum swung back to the Ukrainian military’s (AFU) favor. Having pushed Russian forces out of Kharkiv Oblast and crossed the Oskil River a new weapon was introduced against them on a large-scale: a delta wing loitering munition with a 100 pound high explosive warhead more powerful than the defective KUB-BLA. This turned out to be the “Geranium” that Ukraine’s military identified as Iranian Shahed-131 and Shahed-136 loitering munitions acquired during the summer and are now assembled in Russia as the Geran-1 and Geran-2.

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Iran Is Overproducing Ballistic Missiles

October 22, 2022
The Kheybar Shekan in Tehran on September 22. Via Iranian media.

For all its internal problems Iran’s conventional military power continues to grow. A specific niche that enjoys regular media exposure are its missiles–for reasons of prestige and their strategic value–such such as those belonging to the IRGC rocket force. This year saw the introduction of another medium-range missile called the Kheybar Shekan or “Kheibar Shekan”, whose name refers to a historic battle in Islamic history, and a lesser-known counterpart Rezvan. They both appeared at an annual military parade in Tehran on September 22 and the Kheybar Shekan is reported to have a 1,450 kilometer range. The justifications for adding to the IRGC’s existing missile arsenal may not be well understood but the result is a stockpile of the same magnitude as world powers such as China and Russia.

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The Russian BTR-82A Is An Export Success

October 18, 2022
Via Kazakhstan media.

An outdated Soviet vintage wheeled combat vehicle serves as a reliable indicator for Moscow’s friendship circle. A video clip from Kazakhstan’s defense ministry showed police at a checkpoint with a Humvee donated by the US and at least one Russian-made BTR-82A. The latter is a generational improvement of the BTR-80 that saw extensive combat in the Soviet-Afghan War (1979-1989) and remains in production. The BTR-82A is recognizable for its large remote controlled turret installed behind the cab where the driver and another crew member are seated. The armament on the BTR-82A combines a 30mm 2A72 cannon and a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun.

BTR-82A Operators: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Ukraine (captured), Venezuela,

BTR-80A Operators: Indonesia, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Yemen

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Venezuela Makes Its Own Iranian Combat Drones

October 9, 2022
Via Youtube.

Now that its national economy is turning a corner, no doubt from having the world’s largest oil reserves, the armed forces revealed their latest innovation: combat drones based on Iranian models. During a grandiose parade for its independence day on July 5 the armed forces and law enforcement showed off all their kit. Since the 2000s the National Bolivarian Armed Forces switched to China and Russia as its main suppliers as part of its realignment against the United States. These new relationships allowed it to field premium weapon systems such as the S-300VM long-range SAM but Iran’s recent inputs could become just as dramatic.

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Kazakhstan Just Showed Its Ballistic Missiles

October 8, 2022
A Tochka SRBM launch. Via Kazakhstan MoD.

A commemorative video clip published on Youtube to honor the artillery units of the ground forces had an unintended surprise. The edited footage showed various crews performing live fire exercises and includes a volley of rockets and tactical ballistic missiles–one Iskander-M SRBM and multiple Soviet vintage Tochka SRBMs. The footage originated from the Center-2019 exercises held inside Russia and is a recent example of interoperability between allies. According to Kazakhstan’s defense ministry October 4 is the day of the “artillery and missile force” that includes the units responsible for the country’s ballistic missiles, which are limited to Tochkas.

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The SiPER Is Almost Ready

October 7, 2022
Via Aselsan.

Asian countries are now at the forefront of air defense technology and the evidence proving such grows by the day. Last month the Turkish manufacturer Aselsan publicized the test launch of the missile for the upcoming Siper or SiPER theater level long-range air defense system. The SiPER is envisioned to give the armed forces of Türkiye a domestic alternative for air defenses supplied from elsewhere. Once it enters service later this decade–some claim as soon as 2024–the SiPER completes the air defense spectrum of the Turkish military beginning with the Korkut mobile anti-aircraft artillery, the Sungur MANPADS, and the Hisar-A/O short and medium-range SAMs.

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India Is Building A Massive Air Defense Arsenal

October 6, 2022
Via DRDO/Press Information Bureau.

On September 8 the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) announced it completed six test launches for the QRSAM, a medium-range air defense system for the army, at a firing range in the Odisha coast. The parameters set by the DRDO for the QRSAM are very interesting as these required targeting at “high medium-range” and then at short-range followed by “high altitude maneuvering.” The QRSAM’s missile was even used against a “low radar signature” target, which means it was tested for its effectiveness versus stealthy aircraft. The QRSAM also proved it can launch volleys of missiles in succession. The DRDO’s latest achievement forms part of a growing arsenal meant to counter the aerial threats faced by India.

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Learn All About Battlefield Drones In Airborne ISR 2022

October 5, 2022
Andriy Yermak and Seljuk Bayraktar hold a portrait of the Akinci combat drone on October 2. Via Baykar Tech.

Türkiye’s best known aerospace company is still riding the crest of its global fame thanks to the prominence enjoyed by its bestselling TB2 medium altitude combat drone. The importance of this platform for its operators, foremost the Ukrainian armed forces, was reaffirmed when a high-ranking government official visited the Baykar HQ last weekend to discuss a future assembly plant in Ukraine. No less than Pres. Volodymyr Zelensky announced the joint venture in his daily update on October 3 and revealed the drones and their power plants are being made locally.

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