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The Chinese Navy Practiced In The South China Sea This August

August 16, 2018

The Type 053H3 frigate is recognizable for the two round 37mm anti-aircraft gun turrets on either side of its HQ-7 SAM launcher sitting behind the tandem 100mm main gun. The PLAN are believed to have 10 of these warships. Via China Military Online.

It’s an established fact the Chinese military don’t bother keeping their activities in the contested South China Sea a secret. In what already passes for routine, this month started with a “maritime live-fire exercise” at an undisclosed location involving a flotilla of warships. Again, this isn’t surprising because the PLAN carry out a variety of activities in the area aside from its deployments to its artificial islands in the Spratlys.

According to the PLA’s own news website, several warships plied the waves somewhere in the South China Sea between August 2 and August 9. Photos released a week later showed the vessels testing their weapons and conducting emergency drills.

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Iran Unveiled A Juiced Up Ballistic Missile This Week

August 14, 2018

Via Press TV.

A fresh round of veiled threats between Iran and the US emerged a week after the re-imposition of economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic by President Trump. When punitive restrictions were put on Iranian entities on August 7 an exercise involving missiles reportedly took place near the Strait of Hormuz a few days later. This week Iran’s defense ministry showed off a new short-range ballistic missile it dubbed the “Fateh Mobin.”

It shouldn’t cause too much alarm in the West, however, since it represents the latest variant of the Fateh model that was developed in the 1990s from a large diameter battlefield rocket called the Zelzal. The different Fatehs are usually carried on pivoting launchers similar to those for Soviet SA-2/S-75 long-range anti-aircraft missiles.

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Armored Cars: SVI Engineering MAX

August 14, 2018

Via SVI Engineering.

A new generation of mine-resistant trucks from South Africa are rewriting the rules for wheeled armored vehicles. Rather than transform a commercial model for military use, some companies built their own designs with parts supplied from abroad. Unveiled in 2016, the MAX from SVI Engineering conforms to this trend and takes a few liberties with truck aesthetics.

The MAX is meant to be a “light” MRAP that can still transport people with ease in varying terrain, from dusty plains to urban concrete. It’s recognizable for a bulging hull and curved windhshield with a long dark rectangle forming the grille .

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So Many Countries Have Copied And Improved The M16

August 11, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

For more than 50 years one iconic rifle embodied the exceptional role the US military upholds over the world. Since its debut in the 1960s as a radical new small arm made from innovative materials, the weapon that became the M16 and its many descendants has proven itself against the odds. From steaming jungles to blistering deserts, the M16 was always adapted to never let down the GI’s and marines for whom it served as a primary armament.

Although some may argue European battle rifles and even rival weapons from the Eastern Bloc were superior to it, the M16–for all its problems–has outlasted the competition. And it will keep doing so as US allies in every continent have benefited from using the M16 and the M4. But so have US enemies. The shocking absence of export controls, patent restrictions, and the furious demand by North American gun owners for AR-pattern sporting rifles have caused the M16’s derivatives and parts to spread everywhere.

The extent of this trend has yet to peak. In the meantime, a variety of M16 and M4 clones with interesting modifications are now for sale to whomever can pay. Is this a silver lining or a persistent threat?

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Vietnamese Soldiers Are Now Issued The Galil ACE

August 8, 2018

A VPA officer inspects a Galil ACE 31. Via QPVN

One of the largest militaries in Southeast Asia is replacing its Kalashnikov rifles with a newer model that isn’t Russian. The state-owned news agency QPVN has run multiple video clips showing members of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) inspecting rifles with magazines for the 7.62x39mm M43 round but have a distinct appearance far removed from any NATO infantry small arm.

In 2014 it was widely reported that an Israeli gun maker helped establish a factory to assemble its well-known Galil rifles under license. Apparently, the scope of the factory’s production was broader than expected and includes the Galil ACE 32, the Galil ACE 31, and the Micro Uzi.

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Is Taiwan Going To Buy M1A2 Abrams Tanks?

August 5, 2018

The ROC Army still operates hundreds of M48 (pictured) and M60 tanks. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Since 2017 reports have surfaced in Taiwanese media of the defense ministry’s planned acquisition of US-made Abrams tanks. The M1A2 SEPv2 is the latest variant of the Cold War vintage MBT that has come to symbolize American military strength. Taiwan’s army has deployed US tanks for decades and choosing the Abrams comes at a time when China is once again menacing the island nation.

But the past 20 years of US arms sales to Taiwan have been problematic. Not only did these occasional deals fail to keep the ROC armed forces ahead of the rapidly modernizing PLA but the few that were approved are limited in scope.

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Does Your Company Need A Risk Consultant?

August 4, 2018

Running a medium to large-scale enterprise in an emerging market has its own perilous risks. Everything from compliance to the quality of the workforce can be dubious. There’s always the worrisome possibility of assets, finances, and even property being lost to the pitfalls of the local business environment. Given their prevalence, it’s easier to accept these downsides than be discouraged.

Any plan to establish long-term operations in a particular niche, especially for strategic industries such as manufacturing or outsourcing, should acknowledge the role of a risk consultant. If a lawyer is at hand to smoothen legal wrinkles, the person in charge of risk handles the really dangerous stuff.

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Jordan Can Now Build Anti-Tank Missiles

August 3, 2018

Via Jadara/Youtube.

After decades of relying on allies to furnish its armed forces’ material needs, the desert kingdom’s little known military-industrial sector is advancing faster than expected. A recent breakthrough is a mysterious anti-tank missile called the “Terminator” from Jadara Equipment & Defence Systems, a manufacturing enterprise tucked inside the opaque structure of the sprawling King Abdullah Design and Development Bureau (KADDB).

The Jadara Terminator looks like it’s the first locally made anti-tank missile from an Arab country, although Egypt’s state-owned factories have assembled British and Chinese missiles for decades. How did Jordan pull this one off?

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Armored Cars: Zetor Engineering Gerlach

August 2, 2018

Via Zetor Engineering.

The newest armored 4×4 to come out of Europe is the Gerlach from Slovakia’s Zetor Engineering. The “Project Gerlach” is meant to compete in the same niche as all those other protected multirole trucks for armies that need dependable, modular, and rugged wheeled transports. Rather than settle on a commercial utility vehicle with an armored cab, Zetor Engineering put in a lot of effort to build a real troop carrier.

The Gerlach is the culmination of two years spent R&D-ing a workhorse with robust protective features. This is why the Gerlach is built on a monocoque steel chassis incorporating a v-hull to survive roadside bombs. The cab is reinforced with armored panels and the doors are secured with rivets. A combination of steps on the hull and vertical handle bars between the doors allow soldiers to climb aboard and even stand outside the truck as it moves.

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The Philippines Wants Submarines For Its Navy

August 2, 2018

A South Korean diesel-electric submarine.

The Philippine Navy (PN) revealed its plans to acquire diesel-electric submarines this week, confirming unverified claims that have circulated in social media for years. The Philippine News Agency (PNA) cited a defense ministry spokesperson who explained how submarines are now part of Horizon 2, which is a broad modernization program from 2018 until 2022.

The three Horizons are a deliberate effort to strengthen the Philippines’ territorial defenses. They were launched after the Revised AFP Modernization Act was passed in 2012. Horizon 1 took place from 2013 until 2017 and Horizon 3 is from 2023 until 2028. When combined, the Horizons span a 15 year military build up.

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The US Is Standing By Taiwan No Matter What

July 31, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

There are very clear signs the US military will keep looking for opportunities to confront and deter China until the next decade. When the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act got passed by the US legislature this month, a subsection dealing with Taiwan soon came to light. In it, a detailed list of policies proved once and for all that Washington, DC intends to help Taipei preserve its sovereign status.

The gist of it was the US wants to arm Taiwan until its military gathers sufficient strength for discouraging an attack by China. In the context of a grand strategy for the Asia-Pacific, this fortifies the “first island chain” (Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines) that should stop the Chinese navy from becoming a true blue ocean force.

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Iran Made A Big Deal About A Copycat Missile

July 29, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

As the war of words between Tehran and Washington, DC heats up state-owned Iranian press agencies revealed a new “long-range air-to-air missile” called the Fakour. This latest product from Iran’s military industry was described as having a “superior guidance system” and “enhanced speed.” The Fakour doesn’t resemble any air-launched munition from either China or Russia and appears to be an unexpected breakthrough.

But reviewing the Iranian air force’s (IRIAF) inventory offers hints on its origins. Upon closer inspection, the Fakour is a clone of the US-made AIM-54 Phoenix air-to-air missile that was meant for the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. The IRIAF is the sole remaining operator of the venerable US naval fighter.

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