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The PLA Have A Mine Clearing Humvee

January 19, 2021
Via Chinese media.

Recent footage of PLA exercises in northeast China served as a reminder how cohesive and well-equipped the branch operates in a territorial theater. Considering the extent of its borders, the People’s Republic does have three regions where it must be ready to deploy for a potential ground war. These include the long and forbidding border shared with India; the almost inaccessible terrain on the frontiers of Myanmar and Vietnam as well as the economically vital southern provinces; and there’s the ever present contingency of intervening in the Korean peninsula for geopolitical reasons.

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The Indonesian Military Is Getting A New Lightweight 4×4

January 18, 2021
Via PT Pindad.

A batch of Maung light tactical vehicles were officially handed over by state-owned PT Pindad to the armed forces last week. The 4×4 was first revealed in 2020 performing driving tests on unpaved roads. On January 13 the defense minister and the heads of the TNI’s branches were present to receive the new vehicle. With its minimal armor protection and removable doors the Maung is meant to fulfill the TNI’s need for a dependable transport that suits Indonesia’s climate and geography.

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South Korea Is Already Selling This Mystery Missile

January 15, 2021
Via Hanwha Defense.

One of the last big arms shows in 2020 before the global pandemic cancelled these events (with few exceptions) was a huge draw for South Korean exhibitors. India’s biennial DEFEXPO in February proved an immense undertaking by any measure and the companies inside the venue left nothing to chance when it came to displaying their products. For South Korea’s Hanwha Defense, whose K9 self-propelled howitzer is manufactured in India as the K9 Vajra, a spacious pavilion was erected for showing off its catalog and a static display of the Biho “hybrid” air defense system.

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The Afghan Army Keeps Its Old Armor Working

December 29, 2020
Via Afghanistan Ministry of Defense.

Recent photos shared by Afghanistan’s defense ministry on social media brought to light an important, if ignored, aspect of the embattled country’s armed forces–its tanks and mechanized transports. Apparently, some tanks dating to the Soviet-Afghan War (1979-1989) remain in service and now form an armored battalion as part of the 111 Regiment stationed outside Kabul. The photo released by the MoD showed one T-62 medium tank flanked by two T-55 medium tanks. The exact number of tanks operated by the Afghan National Army (ANA) today is unknown. At 171,000 strong the army is reliant on various armored trucks supplied by different partners for its mission.

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Iran Has A New Battle Rifle For Its Soldiers

December 25, 2020
Via Iranian media.

Thanks to images published by a news agency affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) the extent of small arms mass-production in Iran is now better understood. Apparently, the Islamic Republic’s state-owned factories can now boast making the greatest variety of infantry weapons in the Middle East. This isn’t limited to just rifles and pistols either. When a high-ranking member of the Iranian navy visited an armaments factory in late September he was shown an enviable catalog that included every conceivable small arm, from miniguns to portable anti-tank rocket launchers. A specific standout was an AR-pattern carbine that, upon closer inspection, is a new firearm that’s never been seen before.

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Turkey Is Slowly Building Its Air Defenses

December 24, 2020
Via Aselsan/Roketsan/SSB.

New promotional footage of a successful interception by the Hisar-A medium-range SAM was published in mid-December. The SSB, which oversees all military technology and procurement, provided few details about the test but promoted the short video clip on its social media accounts. The Hisar-A is a fully localized joint venture between Aselsan, a state-owned company specializing in electronics, and the ordnance manufacturer Roketsan. The new SAM system that’s been in the works for the better part of a decade is expected to enter service in 2021. But with so many Turkish military projects running into delays it’s best to remain prudent and see how the Hisar-A is further enhanced.

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Iran Can Make Its Own Sidewinders

December 20, 2020
Via Iranian media.

Four decades after Iran and the United States become sworn enemies a strange symbiosis in military technology is still taking place between them. A publicized visit by a navy admiral to a state-owned small arms factory in September brought to light another recent innovation of the Islamic Republic. As shown by the photo above a new missile put on display for the VIP is an almost exact replica of the AIM-9 Sidewinder; the historic air-to-air missile that has seen continuous use for more than half a century.

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Indonesia Is Exploring Rocket Technology

December 10, 2020

The largest country in the ASEAN bloc is now taking the small but necessary steps for establishing a local space program. On December 2, a Wednesday, a single RX450-5 “experimental rocket” was launched and reached an undisclosed altitude. Indonesia’s aerospace research agency LAPAN claimed in its press release the RX450-5 is capable of flying up to 100 kilometers and a future two-stage rocket model may reach 200 km. Though modest in its goals LAPAN considers its work essential to the “welfare and security” of Indonesia.

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Iran Is Churning Out Heavy Machine Guns

November 25, 2020
Via Iranian media.

To mark the 40th anniversary of its pivotal conflict with Iraq this year’s Sacred Defense Week, which is held in late September, featured an exhibition in Tehran’s Holy Defense Museum. Nothing was spared from the public eye with drones and missiles on static display outside the venue. Indoors, however, brought a few surprises revealed by generous media coverage. It’s now apparent Iran’s state-owned military industries are mass-producing an assortment of large caliber small arms.

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North Korea Has A New Tank Killing APC

November 5, 2020
Via North Korean state media.

The lavish military parade held in Pyongyang on October 10 defied expectations for its pomp and dramatic flare. As an advertisement for the Korean People’s Army (KPA) the nighttime event introduced a bewildering range of weapons such as an experimental main battle tank and missiles galore. But other far less controversial additions deserve at least some scrutiny.

In circumstances still unexplained, North Korea’s ground force have a new generation of wheeled APCs that resemble the General Dynamics Land Systems Stryker and its primary job seems to be for killing tanks.

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The Indian RUDRAM Missile Is Worth Keeping Tabs On

November 4, 2020
Via Indian PIB/DRDO.

India’s renowned Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) achieved a new milestone last month when its next generation anti-radiation missile (NGARM) was successfully tested. Dubbed “RUDRAM” and meant for homing on ground-based radars used by air defense systems, a single missile was carried by an IAF Su-30MKI on October 9 and launched at an unidentified target on Wheeler Island, a testing range in the Odisha coast.

With the initial success of the RUDRAM the DRDO has brought India a little closer to becoming self-sufficient in providing the armed forces’ needs.

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The US Military Is Getting Left Behind By Chinese Power

October 28, 2020
Via Chinese state media.

The 200 pages of the latest China Military Power Report, an annual document published by the Pentagon, makes it indisputably clear the US faces a strategic competitor in Asia the likes of which it has never confronted before. This is emphasized in the very beginning of the report (download it here) where the authors use their preface to highlight three areas the US military has fallen behind when compared to the PLA and its branches. The Chinese military now enjoys advantages when it comes to naval expansion, land-based missiles, and air defenses.

Since the report was outed last month US media were keen to emphasize the naval disparity that can no longer be ignored–the PLAN enjoys a larger “battle force” with more surface combatants.

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