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The Israeli Eitan Enters Service In 2021

February 14, 2020

Via Ministry of Defense.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) can expect to receive brand new Eitan 8×8 armored personnel carriers next year in at least three configurations. A statement shared across the social media channels run by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) revealed the next-generation infantry transports are being assembled by the Armored Vehicles Directorate and have the Iron Fist active protection system. Iron Fist, which is manufactured by Elbit Systems, is a hard kill detection and interception device that launches a tiny rocket at an approaching projectile. With the IDF at constant risk of engaging militants in Gaza and the border with Lebanon, where Hezbollah remains entrenched, having vehicular countermeasures is paramount.

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It Looks Like Iran Is Making Its Own Hellfire Missiles

February 9, 2020

Via Iranian media.

A sudden appearance of a missile-armed helicopter at an event for the Iranian air force (IRIAF) may have outed the branch’s newest weapon. A demonstration by a flight of Bell 214 helicopters included a variant (pictured above) armed with missiles whose paint scheme resembled the AGM-114 Hellfire. This suggests Iran’s military-industrial sector, being a part of the national economy that thrives despite sanctions, has copied the system. The Hellfire originated in the 1980s to complement the new generation of US Army attack helicopters. It has since gained a peerless reputation for being adaptable–even vehicles can mount its launchers–and very lethal against any target.

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India Makes A Lot Of Its Own Artillery

February 5, 2020

Via Ordnance Factory Board.

Just days before DEFEXPO 2020 was set to begin India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) launched its own promotional content on its social media accounts. A surprise reveal was the Sharang, a 155mm towed howitzer based on an old Soviet artillery piece, whose range puts it on par with the world’s best. The OFB claims the Sharang can strike targets up to 36 kilometers away without specifying if these mean firing conventional ammunition or rocket assisted projectiles.

If Sharang looks familiar that’s because it’s an upgrade of the Indian Army’s M-46 130mm towed howitzers. DEFEXPO 2020 is taking place from February 5 to 8 in Lucknow.

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Syrian Civil War: Daesh Is Resurging

February 1, 2020

An Iraqi commando during the war against ISIS (2014-2017). Via Wikimedia Commons.

The US’ top civilian official coordinating the anti-ISIS coalition revealed the terror group’s current estimated size at a state briefing with journalists on January 30. A day after Ambassador James F. Jeffrey met with European allies in Copenhagen he went on the record discussing the various crises unfolding in the Middle East. Top of mind were the Syrian civil war and joint operations against ISIS, but Jeffrey also touched on the complications between Russia and Turkey, sanctions on Iran, and the volatile situation in Iraq.

In his opening remarks to the press, Jeffrey made it clear ISIS are fielding between 14,000 and 18,000 fighters in their former caliphate:

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India Will Fight In Outer Space With Its Own Missiles

January 27, 2020

Via Indian media.

This year’s Republic Day celebration in Delhi had a stronger emphasis on national pride than hard power. Even if the Indian military did have a modest parade, much of its current equipment is at least 30 years old, and there were few genuine surprises. But a real standout at the January 26 event was the DRDO’s ASAT carried by a massive launch vehicle. The ASAT or anti-satellite missile grabbed headlines in early 2019 after an initial test launch dubbed “Mission Shakti” where it struck a low orbit target. The March 27 ASAT test was hailed by India’s government as a major technological breakthrough and further proof of India’s growing technological prowess.

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Pakistan Is An Emerging Leader In Ballistic Missiles Too

January 26, 2020

Via ISPR.

Pakistan’s military announced its Strategic Forces Command carried out a “surface-to-surface” missile test on January 23, a Thursday, involving the Ghaznavi. The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) described the missile as “capable of delivering multiple type warheads up to a range of 290 kilometers.” No other details about the daytime launch were published. Having a range of just 290 km puts the Ghaznavi in compliance with the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which serves as an informal treaty for regulating nuclear-capable weapons. Pakistan does boast several short-range ballistic missiles, including the Nasr large diameter rocket artillery system, the original Hatf-1 battlefield rocket, and the Shaheen I. All of these weapons are road mobile and locally made.

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A Useful Guide To Iranian Ballistic Missiles

January 15, 2020

Via Wikimedia Commons.

On January 8 the Islamic Republic proved it can strike US military sites at will using its ballistic missiles. There might not have been any casualties from the attacks on Ain Al-Asad/Al Assad airbase and uninhabited spots outside Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan but the damage left an impression; charred buildings and large craters were a testament to the missiles’ effectiveness. Other than being forewarned several hours before the attacks, the lack of countermeasures to protect US forces stationed in Iraq is surprising. In Al-Asad, where as many as 10 missiles landed, 1,500 soldiers waited out the barrage in concrete shelters leftover from the Iran-Iraq War that ended 31 years ago.

Whether Tehran and Washington, DC escalate or not the threat posed by the former’s ballistic missiles is so severe they demand to be understood in depth. Here’s a quick guide to [almost] all of them.

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China And Indonesia Are Feuding Over Territorial Waters

January 13, 2020

Via Indonesian media.

The largest member of ASEAN has joined the multiple claimants wrangling over the South China Sea. When President Joko Widodo made a highly publicized visit to a naval base in the Riau Islands on January 8, a Wednesday, his trip coincided with an ongoing show of force by the armed forces or TNI. Widodo’s appearance came after weeks of illegal activities by a Chinese flotilla that entered the North Natuna Sea in mid-December. Since then the local authorities struggled to defuse the situation. Indonesian officials remained cautious when discussing the issue with the press despite months of evidence that Chinese fishermen were poaching in national waters.

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China And Iran Are Preparing A Grand Alliance

January 11, 2020

Via Iranian media.

Buried under the past month of alarming news involving Iran and the US is a subtle diplomatic push that may have lasting consequences for an entire continent. Towards the end of 2019 the Islamic Republic’s highest ranking officer and armed forces Chief of Staff, Major General Mohammed Bagheri (sometimes spelled “Baqeri”), wrapped low-key visits to China. It was during his last trip, a three-day affair in the first week of December, that Bagheri revealed a “25-year strategic plan” was being put into place.

Few details about Bagheri’s meetings were reported and the substance of the “plan” is just as mysterious. But scrutinizing the two country’s ties–one an ascendant superpower and the other a rogue state–reveals some clues where the relationship is heading.

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2019: The Year In War

January 5, 2020

Via Wikimedia Commons.

In keeping with other trendy websites and their retrospective posts for the year that was here’s 21st Century Asian Arms Race’s own The Year In War. The value of this annual report is hindsight and insight for examining the role war plays in shaping societies. It’s a consequential task now that the world’s long peace has come to an end and what used to be known as “American Hegemony” is fading. Here are the three great crises leaving serious cracks on the global order explained in broad strokes.

Foremost is a cold war, best understood as a clash of high tech economies, now underway between the United States and China. Its origins can date to the early attempt at a “Pacific Pivot” by the Obama administration in 2011 although the trade dispute that commenced in 2018 may have launched it in earnest. The new cold war has multiple adversaries; a resurgent Russian Federation with its overpowered military and lesser challenges from Iran, North Korea, and terrorist groups who are thriving in the world’s unsolved conflicts.

A secondary reason for the present disorder are so-called frozen conflicts. Nearly all of those leftover from the mid-20th century are unsolved: China and Taiwan; India and Pakistan; Israel and Palestine; North Korea and South Korea. New ones started this decade too, whether it’s the tangled contest for the waters of the South China Sea or the bitter stalemate in Ukraine’s eastern territory. Forceful and vibrant diplomacy appears to be absent on the cusp of the 2020s.

A third and final reason is the inability to revive failed states and establish a lasting peace. Afghanistan and Somalia continue to be plagued by terrorism. The whole of Central America is wracked by criminal violence. Libya and Venezuela are two recent examples of countries that are nowhere near recovering from their downfall. Regions such as Central Africa and Western Sahara are showing no signs of stabilizing soon even when global powers are intervening.

At this point in time people can take some comfort in the quality of their lives but this has no influence on the terrible things brewing on a global scale.

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This Portable Chinese Rocket Threatens The US Military

January 4, 2020

Via Wikimedia Commons.

On December 27 the K-1 airbase used by Operation Inherent Resolve forces located northwest of Kirkuk–Iraq’s disputed oil-rich city–came under intense rocket attack. The source of the rockets was later found; the perpetrators modified a small truck to fire 30 rockets without being detected. Unused munitions discovered near the truck had markings that showed they were manufactured in Iran. These ubiquitous 107 mm rockets were favored artillery weapons during the long war against ISIS from 2014 until 2017. As far back as the Saddam-era the Iraqi army kept significant stores of the same munitions except these were imported from China. The same rockets are found in the Syrian Civil War albeit sourced from different suppliers.

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The War Between Iran And The USA Started In Iraq

January 3, 2020

Via CENTCOM.

The last weekend of 2019 saw Iraq pushed to war as Iran’s proxies attacked US forces stationed in the country. The resulting death of an American citizen, a contractor stationed in the K-1 airbase, and injuries sustained by four soldiers provoked a lethal response by CENTCOM. On December 30 air strikes on five locations–three in Iraq and two in Syria–by F-15E’s left 25 members of Kataib Hezbollah dead. By December 31 crowds of men carrying yellow flags entered the Green Zone then rushed the US embassy and set its guard house on fire. While there was no loss of life during the incident 100 marines were flown in from Kuwait and 750 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne were assigned to Iraq by January 1.

The US Embassy in the Green Zone is now guarded by marines and its perimeter secured by Iraqi special forces. The crowds dispersed and subsequent US actions have left the world on edge for another crisis in the Middle East.

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