America's first laser gun went to war in 2014, to protect a ship against robots. On board the USS Ponce, the Navy's Laser Weapon System is a modest sign of the lasers to come: at 30 kilowatts, it's powerful enough to slowly burn through a drone, given time. But the Pentagon's plans for lasers go far beyond its modest first showcase: they want lasers to disable everything from small drones to mortar shells, rockets, and missiles. For nations that might someday fight against American military machines, the answer to lasers could be a far more ancient technology: smoke, judiciously applied.
The Chinese Navy (PLAN) has been expanding its power with a series of new, more capable surface warships like the 052D guided missile destroyers (DDG) and 054A frigates, while preparing its Type 055 cruiser for a launch at decade's end. but equally notable is how it is also spending big bucks to update its older warships to make them relevant in A2/AD operations.
Tanks are made for confrontation. First designed to crash through trenches and survive machine guns in World War I, the heavy, armored vehicles are machines of headlong destruction. Modern tanks, thick with armor and sporting power cannons, functionally perform the same service: go where the enemy is, and make them gone.
DSA 2016 Kuala Lumpur is one of Asia's leading arms shows, as arms manufacturers from around the world congregate in Kuala Lumpur to pitch their weapons to Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. In spite of territorial tensions over the South China Sea, China has given its weapons makers carte blanche to offer advanced systems to Southeast Asian countries. Chinese defense contractors, in addition to pitching the usual array of frigates, fighter jets, anti-ship missile and air defense radars, have taken the leap of offering new unmanned systems that are still undergoing testing by, or have just entered service with the Chinese military.