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31 Jan 20. UK successfully concludes UN mission in South Sudan. The UK has concluded its largest United Nations (UN) mission in South Sudan. During the four-year mission, more than 300 UK personnel were sent to improve infrastructure in the country.
The deployment has seen the construction of two hospitals and upgrade of prisons, schools and bridges.
In addition, 16km of roads were refurbished to help reduce the number of sexual violence cases against the local women.
In order to promote women safety, self-defence training was also provided to over 300 women in the Protection of Civilian camp, with a focus on promoting awareness on women’s rights.
Additionally, tutoring civilians on English language, educational and employment workshops and computer lessons, along with hands-on skill training in carpentry and mechanics.
The Engineer task group of the mission will be taken over by Pakistan.
UK Armed Forces Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Our contribution to South Sudan has seen the largest deployment of UK military peacekeepers in two decades and while our contribution to the UN mission draws to a close our commitment to a peaceful future for the people of South Sudan remain as strong as ever.
“The professionalism and skill of our troops have shone through over the last four years, not only in the huge contribution to essential infrastructure, but also the dedication to improving the lives of local people.”
Trevelyan added: “Everyone I’ve met here, from politicians to UN officials have only the highest praise for the work of our armed forces in South Sudan.”
UK’s contribution to peacekeeping continues with the preparation of a UN mission in Mali. (Source: army-technology.com)
31 Jan 20. Royal Navy assumes command of Gulf maritime security coalition. The UK Royal Navy has assumed command of the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) to protect commercial shipping as it sails through the Strait of Hormuz.
The construct includes the UK, US, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Albania and was formed in November 2019 in response to rising tensions with Iran which included several attacks on commercial shipping vessels and the seizing of the British-flagged Stena Impero by Iranian forces.
Royal Navy officer Commodore James Parkin assumed command of the coalition today during a ceremony held at the IMSC’s headquarters in Bahrain.
The IMSC aims to ensure the safe navigation of commercial vessels through the area and deter illegal activity in the Strait.
Parkin said: “The IMSC is committed to ensuring the safety of shipping in the Gulf region, which contains some of the most important choke points in the world. We recognise the importance of freedom of navigation and will ensure it is upheld by our seven-member nations.
“While the UK continues to call for de-escalation, the safety and security of our citizens and our interests in the region are of paramount concern to the UK and all other members of the IMSC.”
Parkin replaces US Navy Rear Admiral Alvin Holsey and is set to hold the role for the next four months.
US Fifth Fleet, Commander US Naval Forces Central Command, Vice Admiral James Malloy said: “We gather to mark the first change of command of Coalition Task Force (CTF) Sentinel. This team of trailblazers and its commander, Rear Admiral Alvin Holsey, have been hard at work over the last few months, building an operational team, coordinating operations, patrolling the seas, sending messages of assurance to allies, and demonstrating the international community’s commitment to the security of this critical region.”
Holsey said: “Looking around the room today, I see a diverse group of people representing seven nations, who’ve built IMSC into what it is today.
“That diversity of knowledge and experience makes us who we are. It makes our team strong. From a deep understanding of the culture, the waters, seamanship, to international shipping expertise, IMSC brings our strengths together.”
Parkin is the Commander of the Royal Navy Littoral Strike Group based at Stonehouse, in Plymouth. (Source: naval-technology.com)
30 Jan 20. U.S. seeks Iraqi nod to bring in air defences after Iran attack. The United States is trying to secure permission from Iraq to take Patriot missile defences into the country to better defend U.S. forces after Iran’s Jan. 8 missile attack, which wounded 50 American troops, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Thursday.
The United States did not have Patriot air defences deployed to al-Asad air base in Iraq, where at least 11 of Iran’s ballistic missiles struck, killing no one but triggering massive blasts that caused traumatic brain injury among U.S. forces.
“We need the permission of the Iraqis,” Esper told a news conference. He said securing their permission was one factor slowing the repositioning of the air defences. He said the U.S. military was still deciding on more tactical issues, such as where best to place the defences.
Tehran had been expected to retaliate against the United States over the killing of a top Iranian general, likely using ballistic missiles. But in the days prior to the Iranian strikes, the Pentagon had expected Tehran more likely to target U.S. positions in countries other than Iraq, since Tehran counts influential allies in Baghdad.
The United States had moved Patriot batteries last year to Saudi Arabia, for example.
Thanks to U.S. intelligence, the Pentagon gained hours of warning time that allowed it to move troops to bunkers that were strong enough to prevent loss of life or limb when the Iranian missiles struck, U.S. officials say.
The bunkers were not designed to prevent the traumatic brain injuries from the massive blasts. The injuries so far have been categorized as “mild.” (Source: Reuters)
29 Jan 20. US Ponders Cutting Military Forces in Africa; Allies Worry. As extremist violence grows across Africa, the United States is considering reducing its military presence on the continent, a move that worries its international partners who are working to strengthen the fight in the tumultuous Sahel region.
The timing is especially critical in the Sahel, the vast arid region south of the Sahara Desert, where militants with links to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have carried out increased attacks in the past six months. In Niger and Mali, soldiers have been ambushed and at times overpowered by hundreds of extremist gunmen on motorcycles. More than 500,000 people have been displaced by violence in Burkina Faso.
The pending decision is part of a worldwide review by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who is looking for ways to tighten the focus on China and Russia.
“My aim is to free up time, money and manpower around the globe, where we currently are, so that I can direct it” toward Asia or return forces to the United States to improve combat readiness, Esper said Monday after meeting with French Defense Minister Florence Parly, who traveled to Washington to urge the U.S. not to reduce forces in the Sahel.
High-profile Republicans and Democrats have warned that such a decision would undermine national security. They argue that cuts in Africa could hand over influence on the booming continent of 1.2 bn people to China and Russia.
The commander of U.S. forces in Africa, Gen. Stephen Townsend, is scheduled to testify Thursday to the Senate Armed Services Committee about the role of American forces in Africa.
Talk of a possible troop reduction “is reinforcing a view in West Africa that the U.S. is not interested, that it does not see it as a strategic importance and that it is going to cut and run and abandon its African allies,” Judd Devermont, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Africa Program, told The Associated Press.
The U.S. has about 6,000 personnel on the continent. In West Africa, the Africa Command’s mandate is to advise and assist, whereas in East Africa, where most of the U.S. troops are located, forces also accompany African troops on missions.
More than 1,000 U.S. personnel are currently in the Sahel. The U.S. has also constructed a $110m drone base in northern Niger.
Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed, urged the U.S. not to cut back, citing an increase in terrorism in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Cameroon and Chad since the defeat of ISIS in Syria.
“So, I think what we need now is more support,” Mohammed told the AP. “I’m not talking in terms of physical soldiers, American soldiers. But I think we need more support. Otherwise we will inadvertently be strengthening the hand of the terrorists.”
The looming U.S. decision comes as former colonizer France pledges more support than ever before to Sahel countries. France already has sent more than 200 additional troops to reinforce its already 4,500-strong operation in the Sahel, and French Chief of Staff Francois Lecointre says he will request even more troops.
The mission in the Sahel “is a classic case of burden sharing, where limited U.S. support leverages an immense effort carried out by France and Europe,” Parly said, speaking alongside Esper on Monday at a Pentagon news conference.
Parly joined top Portuguese, Swedish and Estonian military officials on a visit to Niger, Chad and Mali last week to discuss how to proceed with an international anti-terrorism coalition dubbed Takouba.
At a summit with West African leaders this month, French President Emmanuel Macron said he hopes to convince U.S. President Donald Trump that the fight against global extremism “is also at stake in this region.”
West African leaders at the summit said they hoped the U.S. would maintain its military presence in West Africa.
The heads of state for the G5 Sahel, a group that includes Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad, asked for a continuation of American and French military engagement in the region and “pleaded for a strengthening of the international presence alongside them,” according to the closing statement for the summit.
The U.S. footprint in West Africa, where the cuts would most likely happen, is light compared to other regions. But the effect of its force presence, training programs, development aid and military assistance is important, leaders say.
Col. Thomas Geiser, deputy commander of special operations for the Africa Command, said the biggest risk is allowing al-Qaida affiliates and the Islamic State to expand “and potentially consolidate safe havens there.”
He emphasized the need for a strengthened regional and multi-national approach to the violence and for more broad support of communities, saying African partners must lead efforts. But a regional security force assembled by the G5 Sahel has struggled to fund its efforts and end the violence.
The G5 Sahel force will now focus most of its efforts in the tri-border region between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, targeting Islamic State Grand Sahara, Parly said.
However, progress in the Sahel has been minimal, and the problems there need to be solved by those regional governments, the assistant secretary for the U.S. State Department’s African affairs division, Tibor Nagy, said Monday during a telephone press briefing.
“The U.S. is actively involved through a number of programs in the Sahel region,” Nagy said. “It takes political will to counter terrorism.”
It is unclear also how the newly constructed drone air base in northern Niger will be affected. Last week, the U.S. handed over a C-130 hangar at Niger Air Base 201 to the Nigerien Air Force.
Col. Abdoul Kader Amirou, deputy chief of staff for the Nigerien Air Force, said the hangar will boost capabilities for the armed forces and “strengthen joint actions between the Nigerien and U.S. forces.”(Source: defense-aerospace.com/Voice of America News)
27 Jan 20. US Builds Several New Bases In Iraq Near Iran. Israeli experts say the U.S realized withdrawing from Iraq would leave policymakers and the military with greatly reduced influence in a region that has seen rapid and extensive Russian penetration into the region.
Contrary to declarations made by President Donald Trump, the U.S is not withdrawing forces from Iraq, but is building at least three semi-permanent new bases very close to the Iranian border in northern Iraq, Israeli sources tell Breaking Defense.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis marched in Baghdad on Friday calling for US forces to leave the country, but the protesters dispersed very quickly and were peaceful. And now Moktada al Sadr, the cleric who called for the protests, has withdrawn from the fray.
Israeli experts say that immediately after Trump’s declaration the U.S became aware that executing the decision would leave policymakers and the military with greatly reduced influence in a region that has seen rapid and extensive Russian penetration into the region.
After the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, the Iraqi government protested what it described as a “violation of international law” and its parliament passed a non-binding resolution calling for the withdrawal of US troops. Since, then the U.S. military has not withdrawn and indications are that the US presence will even become greater, exports here say.
The Iranian response to Soleimani’s killing resulted in the launch of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles at American bases in Iraq.The American base in Iraqi Kurdistan was also hit near the city of Erbil.
The US plans to establish one military base near the city of Sulimania, another large military base near the city of Halabja, which is only 14 km from the Iranian border, while the third military base is planning to set up south of the province of Erbil – Erbil.
Professor Uzi Rabi, director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, told Breaking Defense that the U.S has realized that withdrawing from Iraq will dramatically hurt the sanctions on Iran. “They have realized that in spite of the president’s declaration, they have to keep a real presence and they are doing it by building bases in the Kurdish areas. This was expected by anyone who really understand the powers operating in this strategic region,” the Israeli expert said.
Experts say that the assassination of the Quds force commander has made it more difficult for Iran to supply advanced missiles to the Houti rebels in Yemen.
The sources added that Soleimani was smuggling defense systems to Yemeni rebels loyal to the Iranian regime.
The operation was reportedly planned to be carried out by Unit 190 in the Revolutionary Guards, in charge of smuggling weapons to Iranian militia in the Middle East, with Soleimani in personal command.
The Israeli sources said the Iranian effort to arm its proxies in Iraq and Yemen forces the U.S to keep a military presence in the region.(Source: Breaking Defense.com)
28 Jan 20. North Korea Remains Security Threat to U.S., Allies, Policy Official Says. North Korea remains a security challenge, and the United States continues to pursue North Korean denuclearization, a senior Pentagon official told the House Armed Services Committee.
In a security update on the Korean Peninsula today, John C. Rood, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said that by any measure, North Korea poses an ongoing, credible threat to the U.S. homeland and to allies in South Korea and Japan. In addition, he said, the North Koreans are undermining international arms control agreements and are engaging in human rights violations and abuses.
The U.S. partnership with South Korea is very important to the Defense Department, Rood said. “Our goal is to maintain and strengthen our alliance while also transforming it to meet the needs of the future,” he added.
The alliance is transformational on several fronts, Rood said.
“First, we’re working to transition our wartime operational control from the Combined Forces Command led by a U.S. officer to one led by officer to meet the requirements necessary to assume operational control during wartime,” he said, adding that South Korea is undertaking a major military modernization program.
Additionally, the State Department is leading negotiations for the 11th Special Measures Agreement, Rood said. The burden-sharing agreement is the mechanism by which South Korea shares the costs of U.S. forces to defend South Korea.
“Looking to the future, we’re adapting by investing more robustly in our defense and asking our partners and allies — particularly our wealthy ones — to shoulder a larger share of the burden to maintain peace, security and stability,” Rood said.
Although both nations are engaged in tough negotiations on the Special Measures Agreement, they remain committed to reaching a mutually beneficial and equitable agreement that will strengthen the alliance and combined defense, he said.
The U.S.-South Korean alliance is both broad and deep, Rood told the House panel, built not only on common security concerns, but also political, military and economic ties and shared values. “It remains our goal to maintain a strong and ready force to enable the diplomatic space that’s necessary for diplomacy to succeed,” Rood said.
President Donald J. Trump’s North Korea strategy is multifaceted, he said, adding that the United States is working across the spectrum of national power with the aim of the complete denuclearization of North Korea.
“North Korea must understand that its only path out of economic isolation is for it to engage in meaningful, good-faith negotiations toward complete denuclearization,” the undersecretary said.
DOD’s role is to provide a credible force and to field the capabilities necessary to ensure that the United States is always negotiating from a position of strength, he said.
North Korea has the world’s fourth-largest standing army — more than 1 million men, Rood said.
“Aged and obsolete equipment is offset by targeted and aggressive modernization of conventional weapons, as well as nuclear, chemical and biological programs,” he said. “Over the last decade, North Korea’s leaders have prioritized increasing the range survivability, complexity and lethality of key military systems such as ballistic missiles, special operations forces and long-range artillery.”
One of DOD’s most visible lines of effort is implementing and enforcing United Nations sanctions on North Korea, he said.
“The U.S. operates a multinational enforcement coordination cell out of Yokosuka, Japan, where eight nations work together toward this effort,” Rood said. “The effort is primarily focused on illicit North Korea exports of coal and refined petroleum.”
Additionally, the undersecretary said that U.S. authorities are continuing to analyze and identify 55 boxes of human remains from the Korean War that the North Koreans returned to the United States.
“Thus far, 43 U.S. service members missing from the Korean War have been identified, and more than 100 identifications are expected from those remains,” Rood said. “This is a sacred duty, obviously, that we have on behalf of the armed forces that fight.” (Source: US DoD)
28 Jan 20. Iran – Semnan: Satellite imagery analysis indicates space-launch rocket vehicle test preparations. Open source commercial satellite imagery analysis released by international media outlets on 27 January indicates Iran appears to be preparing to conduct a space-launch rocket vehicle test from the Imam Khomeini Space Centre in Semnan Province. In addition, statements by Iranian government officials indicate that the country intends to launch a satellite into space via a domestically produced long-range rocket from the facility in Semnan prior to 11 February. No active NOTAMs are currently in place covering space-launch activity from Semnan for FIR Tehran (OIIX) outlining test date/times, altitude restrictions and/or geographic areas affected. It remains unclear at this time if Iran will issue appropriate NOTAMs covering the Semnan area prior to the anticipated test launch. Of note, Iran launched 16 short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) targeting US military sites in Iraq on 7 January, without issuing NOTAMs in advance. Since 8 January, EASA, the US, UK, Germany, France, Canada and Ukraine have all issued new or updated guidance for their respective aviation operators for the airspace of Iran’s FIR Tehran (OIIX) as well as Iraq (FIR Baghdad (ORBB)) (CZIB-2020-01R0; KICZ A0001/20, A0002/20 & A0012/20; EGTT V0005/20 & V0006/20; EDGG B0007/20, B0028/20, B0056/20; LFFF F0100/20; CZYZ G0007/20, G0009/20; UKBV A0068/20).
Iran previously conducted three failed launches in 2019 of satellites into space via domestically produced long-range rockets from the Imam Khomeini Space Centre in Semnan Province, which occurred on 29 August, 6 February and 15 January. The US specifically stated that it views such launches as a violation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231, which requires Iran to refrain from “any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology”. Though Iran claims space lunches incorporating long-range rocket technology are for peaceful purposes only and not a violation of UNSCR 2231, the US believes the activity is a cover for testing ballistic missile components. Osprey analysis indicates that Iran has conducted over 60 missile launches of several classes/types/variants and/or operational missile strikes since the start of 2018, many without appropriate NOTAMs in place for FIR Tehran (OIIX) covering the date/times, altitudes and/or geographic area affected. Additional Iranian tests of different missile classes/types/variants, operational missile strikes along with space-launch rocket vehicle tests from the Imam Khomeini Space Centre are likely during 2020, with a specific flash-point being the next 30 day time-frame. We continue to assess the entirety of Iran to be an EXTREME risk airspace operating environment at all altitude. (Source: Osprey)
28 Jan 20. Blood in the water: Professor identifies limits of US power. New Delhi-based Professor Brahma Chellaney has reinforced the growing concerns about the tactical and strategic limitations of the US as it struggles to balance commitments in the Middle East and countering the new era of great power competition with China and a cluster of disruptive rising powers.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the US emerged as the single greatest economic, industrial, political and strategic power in the Western sphere of influence – supplanting the British Empire as the pre-eminent global power, challenged only by the Soviet Union.
Buoyed by its unrivalled economic prosperity and capability and supported by the Bretton Woods Conference and creation of the United Nations, the US quickly established itself as the primary economic, political and strategic partner of choice for war-torn nations throughout Europe and Asia as the two rival superpowers and former allies jockeyed for position.
The creation of strategic partnerships like NATO and direct strategic partnerships like the ANZUS treaty further served to underpin the long-term strategic security and prosperity of these nations well into the early 21st century.
While the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War promised “the end of history” and what became known as the American Peace, or “Pax Americana”.
However, despite these promises, the rise of China, resurgence of Russia and broader development of the Indo-Pacific, combined with the ever pervasive asymmetric threats like violent extremism and non-state actors, all challenged this reality.
Fast forward to today and the increasing economic, political and strategic competition both the US and its “new world order” partners, including the UK and Australia, find themselves in is challenging the capability of the US to maintain its position as the pre-eminent global power, subsequently impacting the post-Second World War order.
Enter the mercurial US President Donald Trump, who promised to withdraw the US from what he describes as “endless foreign wars”, particularly in the Middle East, which have drained America’s blood and treasure and, seemingly, resolve of the nation to provide the strategic umbrella for allies throughout Europe and the Indo-Pacific.
Recognising this, Professor Brahma Chellaney, New Delhi-based professor of strategic studies, has sought to reinforce the growing concerns about America’s capacity to meet its regional and global tactical and strategic responsibilities, particularly following the US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
Chellaney summaries the predicament the US finds itself in, stating, “Military entanglements in the Middle East have contributed to the relative decline of American power and facilitated China’s muscular rise.”
Why is the US still in the Middle East? It isn’t oil
Many immediately run to the oil factor as the driving force behind America’s sustained interest in interventionism in the volatile Middle East. However, that primary factor appears to be declining in importance as the US continues to establish its own energy security.
“The US no longer has vital interests at stake in the Middle East. Shale oil and gas have made the US energy-independent, so safeguarding Middle Eastern oil supplies is no longer a strategic imperative. In fact, the US has been supplanting Iran as an important source of crude oil and petroleum products for India, the world’s third-largest oil consumer after America and China,” Chellaney said.
Recognising this, it appears that energy security isn’t a driving factor, so perhaps regime change as exemplified by the disastrous Iraq War and the US-led intervention, which decapitated the Gaddafi regime, with similar repeated attempts in Syria and Iran. However, this focus on the Middle East has paved the way for an increasingly assertive great power: China.
Standing up to China’s revisionist expansion
Professor Chellaney sought to articulate this, beginning with the Obama administration’s “Pacific Pivot” and its failed implementation, followed by years of defence sequestration and repeated cost cutting across the US military at a time of increased expeditionary operations and global tensions from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and through to the Indo-Pacific.
“The US does, however, have a vital interest in resisting China’s efforts to challenge international norms, including through territorial and maritime revisionism. That is why Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, promised a ‘pivot to Asia’ early in his presidency.
“Yet in 2013, when the military toppled Mubarak’s democratically elected successor, Mohamed Morsi, Obama opted for non-intervention, refusing to acknowledge it as a coup, and suspended US aid only briefly. This reflected the Obama administration’s habit of selective non-intervention – the approach that encouraged China, America’s main long-term rival, to become more aggressive in pursuit of its claims in the South China Sea, including building and militarising seven artificial islands.”
Shifting his focus towards the markedly different stance of the current Trump administration, Professor Chellaney stated: “Trump was supposed to change this. He has repeatedly derided US military interventions in the Middle East as a colossal waste of money, claiming the US has spent $7trn since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Brown University’s costs of war project puts the figure at $6.4trn.) ‘We have nothing – nothing except death and destruction. It’s a horrible thing’, Trump said in 2018.
“Furthermore, the Trump administration’s national security strategy recognises China as a ‘strategic competitor’ – a label that it subsequently replaced with the far blunter ‘enemy’. And it has laid out a strategy for curbing Chinese aggression and creating a ‘free and open’ Indo-Pacific region stretching ‘from Bollywood to Hollywood’,” Professor Chellaney said.
Professor Chellaney expanded on the growing concerns regarding the tactical and strategic limitations the US is facing, particularly as it is required to split resources between the Middle East and directly facing China, stating: “The Trump administration is unlikely to change course anytime soon. In fact, it has now redefined the Indo-Pacific region as extending ‘from California to Kilimanjaro’, thus specifically including the Persian Gulf. With this change, the Trump administration is attempting to uphold the pretence that its interventions in the Middle East serve US foreign-policy goals, even when they undermine them.
“As long as the US remains mired in ‘endless wars’ in the Middle East, it will be unable to address in a meaningful way the threat China poses. Trump was supposed to know this. And yet, his administration’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific seems likely to lose credibility, while the cycle of self-defeating American interventionism in the Middle East appears set to continue.”
Questions for Australia
Despite Australia’s enduring commitment to the Australia-US alliance, serious questions remain for Australia in the new world order of President Donald Trump’s America, as a number of allies have been targeted by the maverick President for relying on the US for their security against larger state-based actors, which has seen the President actively pressuring key allies, particularly NATO allies, to renegotiate the deals.
Enhancing Australia’s capacity to act as an independent power, incorporating great power-style strategic economic, diplomatic and military capability serves as a powerful symbol of Australia’s sovereignty and evolving responsibilities in supporting and enhancing the security and prosperity of Indo-Pacific Asia.
Shifting the public discussion away from the default Australian position of “it is all a little too difficult, so let’s not bother” will provide unprecedented economic, diplomatic, political and strategic opportunities for the nation.
However, as events continue to unfold throughout the region and China continues to throw its economic, political and strategic weight around, can Australia afford to remain a secondary power or does it need to embrace a larger, more independent role in an era of increasing great power competition? (Source: Defence Connect)
26 Jan 20. China has world’s second-largest arms industry, think tank estimates. Newly available data suggests that China is the world’s second-biggest arms producer, behind the United States and ahead of Russia, a leading conflict and armaments think-tank said on Monday.
A lack of transparency means the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has excluded China from its annual global rankings of arms makers, but it said credible financial information had become available for four major companies.
The data, covering the period from 2015 to 2017, allowed it to compile what it called the most comprehensive picture of Chinese companies’ weapons production to date.
“With the increase of available data on these companies, it is now possible to develop reasonably reliable estimates of the scale of the Chinese arms industry,” the institute said.
The four companies had combined estimated arms sales of $54.1bn for 2017, it said, which would put them among the top 20 arms producers in the world.
“Three of the companies would be ranked in the top 10.”
Total U.S. arms sales in 2017 were $226.6bn, and in Russia, $37.7bn, according to the think tank’s Top 100 list for that year.
Aircraft and avionics group Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) would rank as the sixth largest arms producer, with estimated 2017 sales of $20.1, while land systems-focused China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO) would place eighth with an estimated $17.2bn in sales, the institute said.
The other two companies it looked at, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) and China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC), had estimated sales of $12.2bn and $4.6bn, respectively, a spokesperson for the institute said.
China’s foreign and defence ministries did not respond to faxed requests for comment during a public holiday. Calls to AVIC, NORINCO and CSGC went unanswered and China Electronics Technology Group (CETC) declined to comment. The Sweden-based think tank has said global expenditure in 2018 hit $1.8trn, its highest level since the end of the Cold War, fuelled by increased spending in the United States and China. U.S. arms sales that year were $246bn, Russia’s were $36.2bn and the United Kingdom had $35.1bn in sales, it said. (Source: Reuters)
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