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The T-14 Tank Was In Red Square Again

May 11, 2018

Via Russian TV.

Thousands of Russian soldiers along with their vehicles, followed by several dozen aircraft, delivered another memorable performance to commemorate 73 years since the Soviet Union crushed Nazi Germany. This year’s Victory Day parade on May 9 was fortunate to have clear weather until the end, unlike the one in 2017 when an overcast sky forced the cancellation of the air force’s flyover.

As expected all of the latest armaments that were rolled out for the Russian military this decade took part. There were new additions as well, such as the BMPT-72 tank support vehicle, the Uran 9 unmanned fighting vehicle and its mine-clearing sibling, two types of drones, a snowmobile for the Arctic Circle, and a column of armored trucks used by the National Guard. Of course, the T-14 tank and its relatives were fixtures in the parade.

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DSA 2018: Pakistan Dips Its Toes In ASEAN

May 9, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

A low-key presence at the recent DSA 2018 arms show in Kuala Lumpur were a cluster of organizations from Pakistan. While the Malaysian armed forces have turned to Muslim states like Turkey for some of its procurement needs, Pakistan’s reputation as a supplier for Southeast Asian militaries is a work in progress.

No less than the Defense Exports Promotion Organization (DEPO) showed up at the DSA 2018 venue–the spacious MITEC–to shepherd the different state-owned companies that were exhibiting. These included manufacturers for armored vehicles, apparel, small arms, communications equipment and various types of ordnance. But by the end of the show on April 19 no deals were announced between the Malaysian defense ministry and any Pakistani enterprise.

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Armored Cars: Plasan Stormer EX

May 8, 2018

Via Plasan.

The Stormer EX is the largest among the current selection of SandCats offered by the armored solutions manufacturer Plasan. These are light trucks based on the Ford F-series that can be assembled to a customer’s requirements. The SandCat, however, has always emphasized mobility and protection rather than interior volume.

The Stormer EX is meant to function as a cost-effective personnel carrier for infantry who deploy on counter-terrorist or peacekeeping operations. Its armor level is raised to STANAG III and the hull is elongated so it can fit a total of 11 passengers. These include the driver and co-driver in the cab, a lone gunner on the roof turret and eight dismounts.

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DSA 2018: General Starlight Unveils The Quadro-S

May 7, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

One of the Canadian exhibitors at the recent DSA 2018 arms show was General Starlight Company Inc. (GSCI) whose presence at the event was meant to promote its latest products. This includes a multipurpose “Compact Fusion Thermal Sight” called the Quadro-S.

The Quadro-S is supposed to be used as either a handheld surveillance tool or a weapon sight on NATO infantry small arms, including the ubiquitous M4 carbine. The device is being marketed as an affordable and unique piece of kit that, according to GSCI, “costs less than any other high-performance Fusion system currently on the market.” Having debuted in Asia, the Quadro-S will next be featured at Eurosatory 2018 in France.

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Nobody Cares About The Indian Arjun Tank

May 7, 2018

Live demonstration of combat vehicles at Defexpo 2018 in Chennai.

One of the highlights from last month’s DEFEXPO 2018–the massive arms show organized by the Indian government and held every two years–was a public demonstration to showcase locally made armored vehicles. Without any doubt, the lone Arjun Mk. II eclipsed the rest of the participants, including an impressive wheeled APC and a stationary howitzer left in the background.

The 68 ton MBT is an upgraded variant of the original Arjun that only entered service in 2011. A mere 124 Arjun Mk. I’s, which are patterned after the Leopard 2, are deployed with the Indian Army. Its sibling the Arjun Mk. II, on the other hand, isn’t even in low-rate production. How come?

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DSA 2018: Honeywell Shares Its Regional Plans

May 7, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

North American companies enjoyed a strong presence at last month’s Defense Services Asia 2018 held in Kuala Lumpur. The leading arms show in the region just marked its 30th anniversary with a record number of visitors–the organizer claims 50,000 warm bodies poured in–and 30 national pavilions were set up to cluster the exhibits by country.

One of the big names present at DSA 2018, which took place from April 16 to 19, was Honeywell Aerospace. The company’s PR reached out to 21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) for a discussion about their potential breakthroughs in ASEAN and the full range of Honeywell’s specialties.

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China Is Flaunting Its Only Carrier Strike Group

May 4, 2018

Via China Military Online.

China’s powerful navy isn’t trying to hide its capabilities anymore. In less than a handful of years it revived a derelict aircraft carrier and then expanded its inventory beyond any reasonable scale. No other Asian state can match the PLAN in absolute size and firepower.

One outcome of this naval resurgence is intentional overexposure for the PLAN’s different fleets. It’s been established that various small and large exercises are scheduled each month in the seas adjacent to the Chinese coast. But as April entered its final weeks the PLA’s news website published numerous photos of a carrier strike group to deliberately advertise a new doctrine: If Beijing so wishes, it will bring the fight to the enemy.

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DSA 2018: Taiwan Flaunts Its Weaponry For ASEAN Customers

April 30, 2018

An inert medium-range air-to-air missile on display at the TADTE 2017 arms show in Taipei.

Malaysia’s biggest arms show played host to a very rare collection of exhibitors two weeks ago. For the first time ever, Taiwan’s mysterious defense sector was taking part. Based on a public index of companies participating in this year’s Defense Services Asia, the 202nd, 203rd, and 204th Arsenals together with the 401st Plant commanded their own floor space in hopes of enticing new customers.

But Taiwan’s unannounced participation in DSA 2018 only attracted a modicum of coverage and the sudden visibility its exhibitors enjoyed didn’t produce any transactions. Then why did Taipei send its armaments manufacturers abroad?

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Armored Cars: Poly Technologies CS/VP3

April 23, 2018

Chinese vehicle companies didn’t start competing in the mine-resistant trucks sector until recently. One of the earliest models to be exported abroad was the CS/VP3 from Poly Technologies. It’s the same state-owned conglomerate responsible for AK-47 knockoffs and renowned wheeled APCs. Today, Poly Technologies’ mine-resistant truck is in direct competition with newer offerings from Norinco.

The CS/VP3 was developed at the beginning of the decade and was quickly rolled out for clients abroad in 2013. It’s believed to have been a licensed copy of another truck, albeit with superficial changes.

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Pakistan Just Tested Its Newest Cruise Missile

April 23, 2018

An earlier variant of the Babur cruise missile’s launch vehicle. Via Wikimedia Commons.

On April 14 the Pakistan military announced it had successfully tested an “enhanced range version” of the Babur cruise missile. In a press release from Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) the “Babur Weapon System-1 (B)” was described as having “advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy, at a range of 700 kilometers.”

The Babur cruise missile is one of the more dangerous additions to Pakistan’s growing missile arsenal. Also known as the “Hatf 7,” the Babur has been tailored into ground and sea launched variants as a deterrent to India’s overwhelming conventional military strength. Very few details about it are available in the public domain but it’s reportedly armed with a 450 kilogram warhead.

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China Threatens Its Neighbors With War On A Monthly Basis

April 22, 2018

Via China Military Online.

This April marks one of the busiest periods in the PLAN’s ongoing efforts to consolidate its vast territorial claims. In the span of two weeks China’s navy conducted an unannounced “parade” and then held multiple exercises over the South China Sea. A different series of exercises took place in the Taiwan Strait to rattle the country it condemns a “rogue province.”

In what amounts to one of the strangest martial performances in the 2010s, on April 12 Chinese state media reported President Xi Jinping was aboard a destroyer while 48 ships and submarines of the PLAN’s Southern Fleet streamed by him, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning.

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Despite Duterte, Foreign Navies Are Courting The Philippines

April 22, 2018

USS Theodore Roosevelt. Via Wikimedia Commons.

As Beijing strengthens its grip on the South China Sea, its newest friend in the ASEAN is actually playing host to the world’s most powerful navies. This month had several visits by warships from three members of the “Quad Alliance”–a coalition led by the US involving Australia, India, and Japan–that seeks to contain China’s emergence as the Asia-Pacific’s strongest state.

The Duterte administration’s fondness for China is hardly a secret but there’s little evidence the Philippines has moved away from the US’ sphere of influence. Shortly after Duterte’s arrival in China for the Boao Forum, where he solicited investment pledges from Chinese companies, another US Navy aircraft carrier was in Manila Bay.

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