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The US Is Furious Over An Expiring UN Arms Embargo

May 16, 2020

Via Wikimedia Commons.

On July 15, 2015, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2231 in accordance with the JCPOA that had just been negotiated between Iran and five world powers. Resolution 2231 was a follow-on arms embargo prohibiting the export of weapon systems to Iran and the sale of the country’s military products anywhere. The resolution terminates on October 2020 or five months from today. While the UN and the JCPOA signatories judged Iran in compliance with the historic accord that halted its work on a nuclear weapon there was no adverse impact on Iran’s domestic military technology. Since 2015 Iran developed some very sophisticated equipment for is armed forces without relying on foreign partners.

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Armored Cars: RIDA Buran

May 15, 2020


A refreshing outlier among today’s armored trucks is the Buran from a Russian automaker that specializes in modified luxury cars. This particular model was unveiled in 2019 and is now being advertised for exports. Its appearance subscribes to the aesthetics for a tough off-road vehicle, which it is, but what really sets it apart are its broad variants. The Buran can fit as many as 10 people–two in the cab with eight passengers behind them–or assume the role of an ambulance without passing for a 15 ton MRAP. In fact, a fully loaded Buran is still lighter than a tactical 4×4 at just 9.8 tons.

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The Philippine Air Force Needs To Level Up

May 13, 2020

The PAF operates a dozen FA-50 lead-in fighters.

The impact of COVID-19 has exacerbated two powerful trends that will shape the 21st century. First is the outsized role of China in world affairs. Second is the relative decline of the United States as an unchallenged superpower whose status depends on overwhelming military strength. The coming months are going to be tense as China and the US try resolving their differences by force, even if it means just moving aircraft and ships into theaters where armed conflict might break out.

This is bad news for the Philippines and its modern history shows why.

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The US Military Just Tried To Intimidate China

May 13, 2020

Via Pacific AF.

With Beijing and Washington, DC now at odds over the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic the US military has shifted to signalling its regional primacy in Asia. Since the beginning of May the USAF’s B-1B strategic bombers have patrolled the East China Sea. The scope of these missions were never fully specified but the intent was clear enough; the US is ready to counter China’s moves over the same waters. In fact, for a number of years now Chinese combat aircraft and missile-armed bombers have maintained scheduled patrols to threaten Taiwan and encircled Japan’s airspace. The extent of military posturing between the rival superpowers since January emphasizes how dangerous their competition is shaping up to be.

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China Is Rolling Out Huge Amphibious Assault Ships

May 12, 2020

Via Wikimedia Commons.

The 2020s are shaping up to become the decade when China’s version of a Marine Corps goes live. Just seven months after the launch of a new amphibious assault ship its sibling underwent the same fanfare on April 22, a Wednesday, and there’s reason to believe a couple more are on the way. These Type 075 amphibious assault ships shouldn’t be confused with aircraft carriers; they do have a large decks and hangars for supporting helicopters. Their role, however, is delivering a marine contingent to their objective. The appearance of the Type 075’s might inspire comparisons with the US Marine Corps’ own America-class LHDs but these Chinese vessels scale a little less.

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Japan Is Readying A New Truck Howitzer For Its Army

May 10, 2020

Via Wikimedia Commons.

As part of its efforts to assemble a rapid deployment force that can deter Chinese claims on its small islands Japan’s defense ministry wants 3,000 marines supported by tanks, wheeled combat vehicles, and their own artillery. These are enumerated in Defense Programs and Budget of Japan – Overview of FY2020 Budget Request (available for download here) that’s released to the public on a yearly basis. The artillery specified in the document is an 8×8 truck mounting a 155mm 52 caliber howitzer called the Type 19. The widespread adoption of truck howitzers by ground forces everywhere is motivated in part by having smaller crews to operate them.

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A New Chinese Cruise Missile Threatens The Entire US Navy

May 9, 2020

The YJ-18A in the October 1 parade last year. Via Chinese Media.

The full extent of China’s historic military build up hasn’t reverberated across the world even when the evidence is unmistakable. To mark 70 years since the Communist Party seized power a military parade in Beijing last October 1 featured the PLA’s newest and most advanced equipment. Included were a selection of missiles designed to challenge US supremacy in the Asia-Pacific, the immense theater where the rivalry between Beijing and Washington, DC is taking place, and a specific missile type stands above the rest. In fact, a new report from the Congressional Research Service singles it out as a dire threat.

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Armored Cars: VPK Ural

May 7, 2020

Via MIC.

In 2019 the manufacturer best known for the BTR-series of wheeled APCs displayed its latest trucks at an annual military exhibition outside Moscow. One of them was a 15 ton MRAP simply called the Ural. The entity known as MIC/VPK enjoyed enormous success with the Tigr that has become the main tactical 4×4 of the Russian armed forces. But the company’s initial attempts at mine-resistant 4×4’s such as the “Medved” and the “Volk” didn’t live up to expectations. The Ural is now being positioned as a better alternative to the other armored trucks developed in Russia since the 2010s.

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This Iranian Missile Is A Whole Lot Of Bad News

May 6, 2020

Via Iranian media.

Weeks after surface-to-surface missiles bombarded two locations in Iraq that left scores of US soldiers with minor injuries the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and Iranian media started promoting a new short-range model called “Ra’ad 500.” Of course, specific details about the missile weren’t disclosed but Iranian media claimed it had two special characteristics: a separating warhead and a “composite” engine. What this meant is the Ra’ad 500’s maneuvers while in flight and is designed to avoid countermeasures. the Ra’ad 500’s structure includes an inertial navigation system and canards or winglets around the separating warhead. When combining all three (canards, inertial navigation, composite engine) the result is a new high precision short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) that’s a generational leap compared to the older Fateh-series.

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Japan Plans To Buy More Wheeled Tank Destroyers

May 5, 2020

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Japan is committed to defending its outlying islands from external threats and one particular vehicle is at the forefront of this mission. In the defense ministry’s Defense Programs and Budget of Japan – Overview of FY2020 Budget Request (available for download here) a comprehensive breakdown of programs and recommendations include additional equipment for a rapid reaction marine unit who can deploy and defend a remote location. The defense ministry (MOD) expects this force to number more than 3,000 men and women accompanied by wheeled combat vehicles such as the Type 16.

First unveiled in 2013 as the “Maneuver Combat Vehicle” or MCV the 8×8 platform boasts a turret armed with a 105mm gun that can engage enemy armor or fortified structures.

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The Chinese Navy Will Soon Overmatch The US Navy

May 4, 2020

Via China Military Online.

A new report submitted to US legislators shows the extent of China’s naval expansion and its likely outcome. By decade’s end the PLAN will possess the world’s strongest navy whose combined surface and sub-surface vessels outnumbers any other maritime branch. The US Navy doesn’t seem to have the proper resources for offsetting this surge and must live with the fact it won’t exercise any meaningful control over the Asia-Pacific beyond the 2030s. The 39 page report China Naval Modernization: Implications For US Naval Capabilities was prepared by the Congressional Research Service and is free to download.

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North Korea Builds Very Powerful Outdated Battle Tanks

May 3, 2020

Via North Korean media.

The best estimate for the Korean People’s Army (KPA) armored fleet has been consistent since the 1990s. With up to 4,500 tanks for its ground forces the KPA outnumbers the ROK Army tank’s by 2:1. Yet the raw numbers hide glaring weaknesses. Until 2015, for example, the lavish parades organized in Pyongyang still featured aging Soviet-made T-55 and T-62 medium tanks. Since the last North Korean military parade in 2018–the parade for 2019 didn’t take place–a specific model has stood out for defying assumptions based on its appearance.

The main battle tank assigned a placeholder designation “Songun Ho” can easily pass for an unlicensed copy of a Soviet T-72. That is, until its finer details are scrutinized.

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