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Iranian Special Forces Have Their Own Cool Rifle

December 12, 2019

Via Iranian media.

Each year two important dates allow outsiders to scrutinize Iran’s military strength through a wealth of local media coverage. These are Army Day in April and the Sacred Defense in September. The Sacred Defense anniversary, commemorating the long war with Iraq in the 1980s, is the bigger event and features a lavish military parade in Tehran followed by a week of curated exhibitions. A dazzling array of weapons and equipment are either demonstrated, displayed, or unveiled on Sacred Defense Week.

A welcome sight during Sacred Defense 2019 is the new small arm for the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) that looks like another AR-pattern rifle.

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The Fall Of Malacca Changed The Course Of History

December 12, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Exactly 508 years ago a thriving city on the western coast of the Malay Peninsula became the axis upon which history spun toward a new direction. Founded by a martial prince generations prior, Malacca flourished from the trade between China and the Middle East, its location was such that the single narrow body of water it commanded–a narrow strait buttressed by Sumatra–kept its name. Yet in the summer of 1511 a small fleet of Portuguese carracks blockaded its port and effected a siege. At the head of the invaders was Alfonso de Albuquerque (b. 1453 – d. 1515), fresh from his conquests of Aden and Hormuz, who saw to it that the “Moors” who ruled Malacca and its lucrative spice exports would fall.

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The UAE Keeps Its Military Spending Under Wraps

December 11, 2019

A column of Leclerc tanks of the UAE army in Yemen. Via Wikimedia Commons.

In November the UAE’s nominal head of state Prince Mohamed bin Zayed inaugurated a holding company called EDGE. Spun as an incubator that will “reposition the UAE as a notable global player in advanced technology” the organization and purpose of EDGE is far from a departure from the norm. Other than slick branding it follows the same formula for homegrown sate-owned military industries across the region. In fact, all of the five “clusters” overseen by EDGE are responsible for supplying the UAE’s armed forces.

But the crucial difference between EDGE and its counterparts in Jordan and Saudi Arabia is not very obvious: funding. For the last five years, the UAE’s expenditures on its hard power has disappeared without a trace. Why?

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The Vietnamese Army Maintains An Armada Of Tanks

December 10, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

With slow modernization the deliberate pace for military procurement among ASEAN states, taking measure of their hard power is often pointless. Throughout the regional bloc, in fact, are a surplus of aging platforms kept functional by modest budgets. Vietnam is no exception and prioritizes its economic development over military spending. But while its neighbors trim and scrimp Hanoi takes a specific approach where essential technologies are imported while a collection of state-owned enterprises supply the military, whose numbers rank it the largest in ASEAN. According to IISS’ The Military Balance the army alone stands at 420,000-strong.

And its arsenal is overflowing with tanks and artillery.

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Work A Security Job? Then Join Protect 2020!

December 6, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Combining bleeding edge presentations with a luxury venue, the next installment of the long-running conference series looks like it will live up to its storied reputation. Protect 2020 is taking place from March 16 until 17 at the New World Makati Hotel–the latter a well-regarded  haven for high profile corporate events. This year’s theme is “Staying Resilient in the Changing Market Dynamics.” The core topics are cybersecurity and cybercrime, data protection, intellectual property, extreme weather disruption, and business risks. The organizers leverage International welcome professionals of all backgrounds who want to participate. (They can register now.)

21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is a media partner for Protect 2020.

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The Indian DRDO Freed Hundreds Of Its Patents

December 5, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Last month the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) announced it was making its patents available for Indian companies. The announcement on November 5 included a new webpage on the DRDO’s official site with a downloadable list and instructions for private enterprises who want to take advantage of the free intellectual property. The DRDO made it clear it won’t charge any licensing fees or royalties for any of its patents and their resulting products.

This is another serious push by the Indian government to compel innovation from domestic manufacturers after so many DRDO projects have gotten bogged down in controversy.

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This Iranian Truck Howitzer Was Barely Noticed

December 3, 2019

Via Iranian media.

The extensive coverage by Iranian media of the Sacred Defense Week in late September remains a very useful resource for learning about Iran’s military ambitions. As the country is once again reeling from sanctions and mass protests in its largest cities the diversion of resources for the military’s various projects is uninterrupted. This was apparent during the parade in Tehran where the newest equipment and weapons of the Artesh and IRGC were shown. A token appearance in a convoy of artillery systems was an unnamed armored truck mounting a large armament on its bed. No concurrent footage of the parade is found anywhere so analyzing this truck howitzer is an incomplete task.

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The PLA Showed Another New Rocket Artillery System

December 2, 2019

Via Chinese media.

The October 1 military parade in Beijing was a shocker for even the most jaded analyst of the Chinese military. In a grandiose display that surpassed expectations nearly all of the vehicles driven past President Xi Jinping were brand new. The biggest surprise came near the end with the road mobile ballistic and cruise missiles, including the ominous DF-17 with its spear tip hypersonic warhead, that sent an unmistakable message to the US Navy about China’s intentions for the Asia-Pacific. But many lesser systems weren’t given proper coverage. Foremost are a formation of large trucks that appeared with the PLA’s self-propelled howitzers.

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Indonesia Is Able To Manufacture Its Own Grad Rockets

November 27, 2019

Via PT Pindad.

A short video clip published by the state-owned conglomerate PT Pindad, whose catalog includes small arms and explosives, showed Indonesian soldiers testing the “R-HAN 122B.” The unguided munition is a joint venture involving several government entities and originated in the beginning of the decade when generous funding allowed military projects to flourish. The R-HAN was supposed to equip the Indonesia armed forces the TNI with a locally made rocket artillery system. It now appears the scope of the work has been trimmed to just unguided rockets.

In the video clip on PT Pindad’s Youtube channel R-HAN rockets are shown being loaded into Czech-made RM-70 launcher vehicles. The location of the firing tests was a secluded beach and some rockets managed to travel 18 kilometers.

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The Jordanian Army Is Reinventing Its Firepower

November 22, 2019

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Before year’s end the Kingdom of Jordan will boast having the Middle East’s most powerful reconnaissance vehicles for its army. In August the Spanish company Star Defense Logistics & Engineering (SDLE) completed tests for its “third-generation thermal cameras.” According to SDLE the cameras track targets up to 11 kilometers away and is adaptable to different vehicles. SDLE’s thermal camera even has self-diagnosis software and functions in extreme temperatures.

The first batch of SDLE’s thermal cameras are now scheduled to reach the Royal Jordanian Army for the upgrades on the latter’s Centauro CRV fleet. SDLE won a contract in 2018 to upgrade 80 of the Centauros acquired by Jordan from Italy.

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Israel And The US Air Force Should Fear The Iranian Bavar-373

November 21, 2019

Via Iranian media.

Undaunted by a weak economy and US-led sanctions, this year Iran joined a very exclusive club of less than a dozen countries able to manufacture theater air defenses. During annual celebrations of its military industries in August the Bavar-373 long-range SAM system was shown off and hailed as a national achievement; the country’s answer to Russia’s S-300, according to Iranian media. But the extensive coverage it enjoyed still left many questions unanswered about its performance.

Beyond forgettable propaganda the Bavar-373 proves the seriousness of Iran’s drive toward a self-sufficient military.

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Pakistan Flexed Its Shaheen I Ballistic Missile

November 20, 2019

Via ISPR.

On November 18, a Monday, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced a “training launch” was held involving a Shaheen I short-range ballistic missile. A video clip posted on social media revealed the missile’s ascent and then cut to a swirling dust cloud indicating the warhead’s impact. Footage of the Shaheen I’s flight was never shared to the public. According to ISPR a Shaheen I can be armed with “all types of warheads” (a polite choice of words to imply it’s nuclear capable) and has a range of 650 kilometers. This puts it on par with the Russian Iskander-M and the Chinese DF-15, neither of which are MTCR* compliant.

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