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Knowing The Difference Between Chinese Type 99 And Type 96 Tanks

June 29, 2020

The Type 99. Via Chinese state media.

With China and India almost going to war two weeks ago after a deadly border skirmish there has been an uptick of media depicting the former’s military strength. But the dazzling variety of Chinese military equipment can still leave readers confused. For example, just as the PLA sent additional mechanized units to the Tibetan plateau the accompanying propaganda reveals the contrasts in the ground forces’ inventory. When it comes to battle tanks not one but three models are suited for combat operations in high altitudes. The two most likely to be used in a full-blown conflict are the Type 99/99A and the Type 96/96A.

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The Russian Military Is Upgrading All Its Weapons

June 27, 2020

BMP-2M IFVs at the June 24 parade in Moscow. Via Russian media.

Russia’s annual Victory Day parade took place a month and a half after its intended date because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the spectacle in Red Square on June 24 was much larger than anticipated with several new and upgraded weapon systems featured. It’s undeniable that even amid the present difficulties Moscow has ample resources for building up its hard power regardless of sanctions. This is becoming all too common for the countries deemed geopolitical rivals of the US; their economic size may not be on par but this has no relation to how fast their military strength is growing.

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Get Immediate Access To The Global Arms Industry

June 26, 2020

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Since it began forging media partnerships with events organizers in 2014 the 21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) has grown to a trusted platform where some of the biggest “defense industry” events are featured. Whether high profile arms shows or niche gatherings focused on new technology, 21AAR is a valuable resource for organizers who want extra reach and exposure. But readers can now enjoy the privilege of having access to the latest events in security, technology, and military industries in a few easy steps. These won’t require sharing any personal data and offers a rare perspective on the inner workings of the global arms trade. How is this possible?

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Iran Just Flexed Its Anti-Ship Missiles

June 23, 2020

Via Iranian media.

Last week the Islamic Republic once again demonstrated how it can shut down the Persian Gulf and nearby waters using anti-ship missiles. The ground and naval exercises held on June 18, a Thursday, involved a coastal defense unit and at least two naval ships–this much was revealed by Iranian media. As in previous years a live missile, believed to be part of a common family, was launched from its transporter and struck a target vessel, resulting in a catastrophic explosion. Separate launches were carried out at sea for an extended range missile with unconfirmed results.

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The Chinese PLA Have An Incredible Light Tank

June 22, 2020

Via Chinese state media.

There’s now a concerted effort by Chinese news agencies to showcase the PLA’s technological advantages as it faces off against India in a disputed border. This has brought some attention to the latest equipment used by the ground forces such as the Type 15 “lightweight MBT” (pictured above) that entered service a few years ago. This tank weighs less than 40 tons and is armed with a 105mm main gun fed by an autoloader. Its external appearance suggests a protection level that doesn’t encumber the vehicle and affect its mobility–the front of the hull is covered in reactive panels and the hull is formed by a combination of the same and spaced armor.

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Are You Prepared For The Next DSEI Japan?

June 21, 2020

Via DSEI Japan 2019.

The second installment of Japan’s biggest arms show is taking place from May 19 to 21 in the same venue–the Makuhari Messe. The first DSEI Japan held in 2019 was a success thanks to a strong promotional effort by the organizer Clarion Events, who are best known for the DSEI arms show in London, and the full cooperation of the defense ministry with its sub-agencies. Although Japan’s opaque military industries have participated in trade shows before it wasn’t until DSEI Japan was launched that a large-scale fully integrated arms show was organized in the country.

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Japan Is Slowly Preparing Its Own Stealth Fighter

June 15, 2020

X-2 demonstrator. Via ATLA.

The public document titled Defense Programs and Budget of Japan – Overview of FY2020 Budget Request (download here) is a useful guide to the country’s immediate national security goals and among its recurring programs is fifth-generation combat aircraft. The JASDF does have plans for acquiring additional F-35A’s and at least six F-35B’s–the latter variant are probably meant for the navy–but there are also new objectives regarding the “F-X” or a locally made twin engine stealth fighter. According to the budget request published by the defense ministry and detailed on page 14 the “F-X” program costs $103 million (at current exchange rates) for “Japan-led development” and another $70 million to complete its mission system integration.

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The US Wants China In A Nuclear Weapons Treaty

June 10, 2020

As the US military is positioning itself in Asia to deter China’s territorial claims another bold move is taking shape on the diplomatic front. On June 9, a Tuesday, the Trump administration’s appointed negotiator for nuclear weapons Amb. Marshall S. Billingslea invited China to join upcoming talks with Russia for extending the New START. Less than a day later Billingslea responded to the Chinese media rejecting his offer and cast shade on the US’ biggest geopolitical rival. “Achieving Great Power status requires having Great Power responsibility,” he tweeted, albeit without withdrawing his offer with a closing “Seat waiting for China in Vienna.”

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The US Is Very Worried About Chinese Missiles

June 8, 2020

The DF-17 hypersonic missile. Via Chinese media.

The immense military parade held in Beijing last October 1 showcased the advanced state of the PLA’s military technology. Gone was any trace of its outdated equipment as only the newest weapon systems appeared like supersonic drones and the world’s first road mobile hypersonic missile (pictured above). With its budget still growing each year the PLA now boasts a sophisticated missile arsenal that overmatches the US military in Asia. It’s not surprising how Washington, DC is trying to compel Beijing’s acceptance of a treaty for putting limits on nuclear-capable missiles.

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Armored Cars: SOFRAME MPCV

June 2, 2020


With its entire identity compressed into an acronym the Multi-Purpose Combat Vehicle or MPCV is best understood as the proper French analog to the US-made Oshkosh M-ATV. Both vehicles share commonalities and are meant to function as better replacements for cumbersome mine-resistant trucks that are too heavy for their own good. With a gross weight of just 13 tons (it can probably support another 1,000 kilograms in cargo) the MPCV is capacious enough as a battle transport but still fits inside a medium-lift transport like a C-130 Hercules. This is a sterling trait for vehicles used by armies with expeditionary missions…like France’s own.

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The Philippine Navy Receives Its New Frigates

June 1, 2020

The BRP Jose Rizal. Via Philippine Navy.

After a five day journey the first of two frigates manufactured by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) arrived in the Philippines on May 23. The BRP Jose Rizal, named after the national hero, belongs to the HDF-2500 class of missile-armed frigates in HHI’s naval catalog and was tailored for the Philippine Navy’s (PN) use. The PN ordered two HDF-2500’s several years ago as part of its “Sail Plan” modernization effort whose goal was to recapitalize an obsolescent fleet and enhance its operational range. The BRP Jose Rizal’s sibling, the BRP Antonio Luna, was launched in South Korea last November and is scheduled for delivery before the end of 2020.

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What Does The USA Mean By “Peace Through Strength”?

May 29, 2020

USS Theodore Roosevelt. Via Wikimedia Commons.

In a scathing document released a week ago the Trump administration laid down its new rules for dealing with China. Titled United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China and 16 pages long, the People’s Republic is singled out as an economic competitor; a military rival; and an authoritarian state bent on subverting liberal democracy. Each of these challenges are detailed along with four strategies the US government at large will pursue to deter its main geopolitical adversary in the long run. While the four strategies elaborated by Washington, DC, are crafted like slogans, e.g. “Promote American Prosperity,” only one of them should give Beijing pause.

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