Indonesia is developing a fast, lightweight, heavily armed platform for fire support missions in riverine and littoral waters. The X18 fire-support vessel was first unveiled in 2014. It features a composite catamaran hull with a stern deck that can accommodate a variety of equipment. Up to 20 troops can be carried below deck. The main feature is the turret atop the cabin armed with a Cockerill 105-mm cannon.
The stabilized cannon can provide direct and indirect fire, enabling it to support the later stages of an amphibious operation. It can fire all standard NATO ammunition as well as the Falarick gun-launched anti-tank guided missile. Production of the initial X18 (left) reportedly began in 2017, with construction anticipated to conclude in 2019. The United Arab Emirates has reportedly expressed an interest in acquiring up to 100 X18s.
Sarsar-2 Armored Vehicle Ready To Roll
Sudan's state-owned Military Industrial Corp. has developed a family of light armored vehicles based on the chassis of a Kia commercial vehicle. The Sarsar-1 entered service in 2005, providing the ability to transport six troops under protection. A machine gun mount is provided over the troop compartment. It can be fitted with a 14.5-mm or 12.7-mm machine gun. A single door at the rear allows troops to enter and exit the vehicle.
The Sarsar-2 (at right), first revealed in 2015, features upgraded, lighter armor, improved protection and air-conditioning. It is slightly larger than its predecessor and can be armed with a 12.7-mm machine gun. Both models have a top speed of 60 mph (100 kmh) on roads and protection against small arms and grenade blasts. In 2017, it was reported that the updated vehicles would supplement the Sarsar-1 in Sudanese service rather than replace them.
South African Marlin Seeks Distant Targets
South African defense firm Denel is developing a beyond-visual-range anti-aircraft missile for the South African air force. The Marlin builds on the A-Darter and Umkhonto anti-aircraft missile programs to provide the ability to engage long-range targets in all weather conditions. A dual-pulse rocket motor extends range. An advanced seeker can track multiple targets and has improved electronic counter-countermeasure performance.
The Marlin (left) is designed for both air and surface launches. South Africa plans to integrate the missile with its Gripen fighter jets and use it as the basis for a long-range air defense system to complement existing Umkhonto surface-to-air missile systems. Flight-testing began in 2015, culminating in a beyond-visual range trial at the Overberg test range in 2016. The latter trial demonstrated the stability of the airframe ahead of further development.
OceanEye Monitors the Seas
Telephonics supplies its APS-143 OceanEye search and surveillance radar for a variety of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft assigned to maritime missions. The radar weighs about 180 pounds (80 kg) and has a range of up to 200 nm (370 km).
Several other sensor records have been revised, including the French Coast Watcher family of radars and the British Cobra and Sea Cobra electro-optical sensors. The multinational Counter Battery Radar (COBRA) record has also been brought up to date.
A number of ship records have been updated, including Russia's Delta IV-class ballistic missile submarines, the Venezuelan Guaicamacuto-class and Chilean Piloto Pardo-class coast guard patrol ships.
Pakistani Armed Forces Use Uqab Drones to Monitor Infrastructure
The Pakistani military first procured indigenously developed Uqab tactical unmanned aerial vehicles in 2008. In early 2018, the army acquired upgraded models for infrastructure monitoring missions.
Aviation record updates include the EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft, DP-5X Wasp UAV and the EMB 120 Brasilia and Japanese C-1 transport aircraft. The Brazilian MAR-1 anti-radar missile has also been updated.
The latest information has also been provided for the French VBL and Spanish VEC-M1 reconnaissance vehicles and the German 120-mm M256 tank gun.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad Keeps Heat on Israel
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group, primarily based in the Gaza Strip, has been heavily involved in this year's protests on the border with Israel. It has fired dozens of rockets into Israel and clashed repeatedly with Israeli security forces.
Our editors have also updated the record for the National Liberation Forces (FNL) terrorist group, which is active in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the orders of battle for Kuwait and Spain.
Improving Security In Tunisia
Despite a suicide attack in central Tunis in late October, the security situation in Tunisia has been stabilizing over the last few years. Fighters returning from Iraq and Syria remain a concern. Nations Editor Kevin Ivey reviews the situation in "Assessing Tunisia's Security Environment."
Reuben Johnson takes us to Air Show China in Zhuhai, where China has been tightening security for foreign journalists as it shows off its latest wares. See "Chinese Shell Games" for the full story.
Andy Oppenheimer reviews one of the most common improvised explosive devices after the discovery of a series of mail bombs in the U.S. in late October in "The Lowly Pipe Bomb."
Major Upgrade On The Way
Finally, Military Periscope is preparing to launch an all-new website. In addition to a new look, we've made it easier to navigate the site and individual records, while retaining the powerful search and quality content. More information will be provided as we get closer to the launch date.