Chinese Arms Appear in South Sudan
The (new) civil war in South Sudan is a little more than a year old, but it won’t end for lack of fresh weapons. Recently, South Sudanese troops proudly paraded the Chinese QW-2 Vanguard, a new surface-to-air missile launcher from China. The shoulder-fired QW-2 is a fairly advanced and modern weapon. It launches infrared-homing missiles that can shoot down aircraft traveling at altitudes higher than 13,000 feet.
Laser Devices Changes Its Name
Laser Devices Inc. will become Steiner eOptics. As subsidiaries of Beretta Holdings, the combination of Steiner and Laser Devices allows the company to expand
“The future of optics is electro-optics (eOptics)” says Mark DiOrio, Steiner eOptics General Manager. “The combination of laser, infrared and thermal technology with optics and advanced lens coatings is how we’ll create tomorrow’s aiming solutions for our law enforcement, military and commercial markets.”
Now, strengthened by Steiner’s manufacturing, sales and marketing expertise, Steiner eOptics is accelerating new product development while delivering unmatched service and support as well. “By combining Laser Devices’ 37 years innovating laser technology with Steiner’s nearly 70 years creating rugged, high quality optics and lens coatings, we’ve got the perfect team to build the next generation of eOptic laser aiming and illumination solutions,” said DiOrio.
Arms Trade Treaty Update
The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) took effect on December 24, 2014. “From now on, the States Parties to this important treaty will have a legal obligation to apply the highest common standards to their international transfers of weapons and ammunition,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement issued today ahead of the instrument’s entry into force on 24 December.
The ATT, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013, is the first legally-binding multilateral agreement that prohibits States from exporting conventional weapons to countries when they know those weapons will be used for genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes. As of 23 December, 60 States had ratified the treaty, and 130 had signed it, indicating that they intended to ratify.
State Department DDTC Computer Systems Hacked
The U.S. State Department was the latest U.S. Government agency to get hacked. The suspected attack was detected on Friday, November 14, 2014, causing the State Department to shut down its entire unclassified email system. The State Department diplomatically refused to speculate on the source of the attack, but those of us who are less diplomatic can speculate that the attack likely originated, as have many others have, from China. The email system was back up and running within a matter of days.
Exports of arms to Vietnam
On November 7, 2014, the U.S. State Department changed its policy on the export of arms to Vietnam. The regulation is changed to read the following:
(l) Vietnam. It is the policy of the United States to deny licenses or other approvals for exports or imports of defense articles and defense services destined for or originating in Vietnam, except that a license or other approval may be issued, on a case-by-case basis, for:
(1) Lethal defense articles and defense services to enhance maritime security capabilities and domain awareness;
(2) Non-lethal defense articles and defense services; or,
(3) Non-lethal, safety-of-use defense articles (e.g., cartridge actuated devices, propellant actuated devices and technical manuals for military aircraft
Iran’s Only Hope To Upgrade Weapons May Lie With China
Faced with the arms embargo enforced by the West, China may be Iran’s last hope in upgrading its obsolete weapons systems. During a visit to Beijing, Habibollah Sayyari, head of the Iranian navy, told Chinese defense minister Chang Wanquan that Iran is looking to increase naval cooperation with China. Sayyari said he was happy to see Iranian and Chinese warships visit one another during a March 2013 exercise. Chang also said that the People’s Liberation Army of China and the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran are working together in training military personnel.
What Iran needs most from China is advanced weapons systems. Through providing the weapons to Iran, China could also earn huge profits, as without competition in price from Western defense firms Iran could be a huge market for the Chinese defense industry. China is also attempting to gain support from Tehran to solidify its new “Silk Road” economic belt project, which will extend from Europe to China by way of the Middle East.