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How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

This is a discussion on How Strong Is Myanmar's Military? within the World Armed Forces forums, part of the World Strategic Defence Area category; I know that the military generals are currently ruling Burma( Myanmar ), but what is their military capabilities like? 1. ...

  1. #1
    Su-34 is offline New Member
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    How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    I know that the military generals are currently ruling Burma( Myanmar ), but what is their military capabilities like?

    1. Does Myanmar's military have any short-range ballistic missiles like Scuds?
    2. How many tanks does Myanmar's Army have?
    3. Does Myanmar's Air Force have any modern fighter jets?
    4. What ships do the Myanmar Navy operate?
    5. Is it true that there is a Chinese naval base in Myanmar?
    6. What artillery is used by Myanmar's Army other than mortars?

    Does anyone here have the answers?

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    netspider is offline New Member
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    Quote Originally Posted by Su-34
    I know that the military generals are currently ruling Burma( Myanmar ), but what is their military capabilities like?

    1. Does Myanmar's military have any short-range ballistic missiles like Scuds?
    2. How many tanks does Myanmar's Army have?
    3. Does Myanmar's Air Force have any modern fighter jets?
    4. What ships do the Myanmar Navy operate?
    5. Is it true that there is a Chinese naval base in Myanmar?
    6. What artillery is used by Myanmar's Army other than mortars?

    Does anyone here have the answers?
    Does it even matter? Is there any immediate threat to Burma? Or if there is any, China is behind them. Any invasion of Burma probably will get China involved, so the military strength of Burma is really not important. Their
    military should be good enough to fight internal insurgents.

  3. #3
    adeptitus is online now Senior Member
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    Quote Originally Posted by Su-34
    I know that the military generals are currently ruling Burma( Myanmar ), but what is their military capabilities like?
    1. Does Myanmar's military have any short-range ballistic missiles like Scuds?
    2. How many tanks does Myanmar's Army have?
    3. Does Myanmar's Air Force have any modern fighter jets?
    4. What ships do the Myanmar Navy operate?
    5. Is it true that there is a Chinese naval base in Myanmar?
    6. What artillery is used by Myanmar's Army other than mortars?
    Does anyone here have the answers?
    1) Not to best of my knowledge. In Nov 2003, the Far Eastern Economic Review claimed that Myanmar was loolking to purchase Ballistic Missiles from North Korea. However to date no deliveries have been made.

    2) See here:
    http://www.ntu.edu.sg/idss/publicati...apers/WP59.PDF

    The Burmese Army is listed with 231 MBT's and 385 APC's according to one source, and 205 MBT's & 440 APC's according to another. Most of the MBT's came from PRC sales from 1990's, which consisted of 105 T-63's and 100 T-69-II's, plus APC & IFV's from NORINCO. There are also reports of older T-59's.

    3) 30x F-7M, 6x FT-7S, ~24 older F-7's (?), 22 A-5M, 8x MiG-29A, 2x MiG-29UB, plus some K-8's. They also have 10 Super Galeb G4's from Yugoslavia, 17 Swiss Pilatus PC-7, and 10 PC-9's. But flying condition is questionable. The F-7M's are also reported to have received upgrades from Israel.

    The MiG-29's are probably the most "modern", they were purchased in 1996 for $150 million from used Russian surplus stock. In 2000 it was reported that IAI (Isreal Aircraft Industry) performed $40 million upgrade on the MiG-29's.

    4) Please see:
    http://www.hazegray.org/worldnav/asiapac/myanmar.htm
    There was also an order of 3 Jianghu Frigates that were never delivered.

    5) No. To qualify as a foeign naval base today, it'd have to be leased port for military purpose. Example: Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam. We don't really have colonial era "concessions" anymroe, even the US military pay lease on Okinawa. However if the question is PLAN ships using naval bases on Burmese territory, there's no reason why any navy couldn't use a Burmese navy port with permission.

    This "Chinese navy base" dispute started back in 1992 when someone found a 150 ft antenna on Coco Island. It was accused of being a Chinese singals intelligence gathering post. The island also has a small Burmese navy facility. Considering that most Burmese navy ships are from China, it'd not be suprirsing to find Chinese technicians and navy advisers there.

    6) M-1948 76mm, M-101 105mm, M46 130mm, Soltam 155mm. Back in 1990's they took delivery of ~30 Type 63 107mm MRL's from PRC. It's also reported that Myanmar used rice to barter for 20x 130mm artillery guns from North Korea.

    ===========

    In early 1990's, Myanmar purchased an estimated $500 million of arms from the PRC. However within a few years the Burmese military found the equipment to be inadequate versus Thailand, and started sourcing weapons from elsewhere, such as the MiG-29's from Russia (to counter Thai F-16's), and upgrades of existing weapons from Israel. In addition, they used Singapore arms dealers to purchase weapons from as far as Portugal (mortars) and Chile. If you see photos of Burmese Army holding M-16 rifles, many of those were sold through Singapore.

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    Su-34 is offline New Member
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    Thanks Adeptitus for this valuable info. I really appreciate that. In the future, if the Myanmar military have the cash, future Chinese arms for sale to Myanmar won't be as crappy as in the past, because FC-1s, J-10s, and T-96 tanks are high quality equipment made in China in recent years, as compared to crappy F-7 jets and crappy T-63s and T-69-IIs.

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    adeptitus is online now Senior Member
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    Quote Originally Posted by Su-34
    Thanks Adeptitus for this valuable info. I really appreciate that. In the future, if the Myanmar military have the cash, future Chinese arms for sale to Myanmar won't be as crappy as in the past, because FC-1s, J-10s, and T-96 tanks are high quality equipment made in China in recent years, as compared to crappy F-7 jets and crappy T-63s and T-69-IIs.
    There are a few areas of concern:

    * Myanmar's primary "foreign" security concern is Thailand, but both countries are PRC weapons export customers. You don't really want to piss off Thailand.

    * The Thai economy is like 12x the size of Myanmar's. Myanmar cannot win an arms race against Thailand.

    * Both Myanmar and Thailand blow billions on arms and is more likely to use them against their own population than each other.

    * PRC and India will compete for influence in Myanmar and, I suspect the Burmese will be looking for best offers. Economic & Military aid packages?

    In short, I don't expect military exports to Myanmar to be very "profitable". But there are other gains (political/geographic).

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    ArjunMk1 is offline Member
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    * PRC and India will compete for influence in Myanmar and, I suspect the Burmese will be looking for best offers. Economic & Military aid packages?
    Good point!!!

    Actually India and Mayanmar are co-operating in counter insurgency and counter sea piracy . Mayanmar is seeking India's help to counter the Arakanese insurgency likewise India is seeking help from Mayanmar to eliminate Indian insurgennt's bases in Mayanmar , there were joint actions by Indo-Mayanmar forces against such !!!

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    Su-34 is offline New Member
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArjunMk1
    Good point!!!

    Actually India and Mayanmar are co-operating in counter insurgency and counter sea piracy . Mayanmar is seeking India's help to counter the Arakanese insurgency likewise India is seeking help from Mayanmar to eliminate Indian insurgennt's bases in Mayanmar , there were joint actions by Indo-Mayanmar forces against such !!!
    That's why India does not want to pressure Myanmar over democracy and Aung San Suu Kyi..... Because India needs Myanmar's help to combat insurgents.

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    FuManChu's Avatar
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    Quote Originally Posted by KYli
    I don't think insulting a country or nationalist is such a good idea, we might not have myanmar members. But never the less calling Myanmar is a gay country is quick frankly not good, just my two cents.
    Indeed. There are better ways to stress the point that Burma is ruled by a military junta that oppresses the people, while also running the economy extremely badly so that there is less money for a military than there would be if they weren't so corrupt.
    "Japan is as much of a threat to China, as China is to Japan."

    --FuManChu

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    adeptitus is online now Senior Member
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    The problem of Burma goes far deeper than its current administration. This is prolly off-topic so I'll make it brief.

    After the third Anglo-Burmese War and conquest of Burma, the British placed the country under British East India Company's administration. The colonial administration evicted Burmese farmers and took their land, formed large agriculture companies and imported Indian labor. While the colony of Burma becamse the "wealthiest state" in SE Asia, the Burmese people fell into unemployement and dire poverty.

    The result of this was that the post-independence Burmese leadership became rabidly anti-capitalist, and we cannot blame them for being that way. The skilled Indian labor and ethnic Chinese merchant class were expelled or encouraged to leave. What you had left was unskilled and unemployed Burmese.

    I have a friend from HS whos family was originally from Burma, though they're ethnic Chinese. They returned to Burma for visit back in 1990's, and reported that the place is nice and laid back, but villages were full of unemployed people sitting around.

    Political and economic reforms would help, but the country is lacking in human resources. That's not an easy problem to resolve, partly due to Burmese culture itself (as opposed to Japanese or German).

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    Gollevainen's Avatar
    Gollevainen is offline Super Moderator
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    Anyone else want to bash some country???:

    Warnings will follow....

    Ooh, your custard pie, yeah, sweet and nice
    When you cut it, mama, save me a slice


    ...and you can have your slice at:
    The Quizz

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    FreeAsia2000 is offline Junior Member
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    Hey Russia is agreeing to supply Burma with unbelieveable gear !

    Russia to supply wide range of arms to Myanmar

    Press Trust of India

    Moscow, April 4, 2006|14:51 IST

    Russia has agreed to supply a wide range of arms including air defence systems and MiG-29 fighters to Myanmar in exchange of access to the rich oil and gas resources of the country, local reports said.

    General Maung Aye, the number two in the ruling military junta of Myanmar, is currently on a three-day visit to Russia, first by a top Myanmar official in 40 years, held wide ranging negotiations with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and other senior officials on Monday.

    "We are interested in deepening Russia's role in the Asia-Pacific region and Russian-Burmese ties in this context have good and promising prospects," Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS after yesterday's talks with General Aye.

    Myanmar is interested in creation of national air defence system deploying Russian Tor-M1 and Buk-M1-2 systems and is negotiating the supplies of MiG-29 fighters, reports said on Tuesday.

    It also wants to train its military personnel in Russian military colleges, Kommersant daily reported.

    It added that these issues would be discussed during Gen Aye's meeting with the top Russian defence officials.
    http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/7...0500020010.htm

    TOR-M1 ?!
    I know the Burmese recently moved their capital ...what's going on ?

    Both Russia and Burma are on the march in some way

  12. #12
    adeptitus is online now Senior Member
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    Here's another good article on Burmese military purchases from China and Israel, with actual numbers on AAM's too:
    http://www.burmalibrary.org/reg.burm.../msg00005.html

    In August 1997 it was revealed that the Israeli defence
    manufacturing company Elbit had won a contract to upgrade Myanmar's
    (then) three squadrons of Chinese-built F-7 fighters and FT-7
    trainers. The F-7 is a derivative of the Mikoyan MiG-21 'Fishbed'
    jet fighter. The FT-7 is the export version of the GAIC JJ-7, itself
    a copy of the MiG-21 'Mongol-B' trainer. Since they began to be
    delivered by China in 1991, the Myanmar Air Force has progressively
    acquired about 54 (or four squadrons) of these aircraft, the latest
    arriving at Hmawbi air base only last year. In related sales, the
    air force has also acquired about 350 PL-2A air-to-air missiles
    (AAM) from China and at least one shipment of the more sophisticated
    PL-5 AAMs.

    Since their delivery to Myanmar, these new aircraft have caused the
    air force considerable problems. Several aircraft (and pilots) have
    already been lost through accidents, raising questions about the
    reliability of the Chinese technology. There have also been reliable
    reports that the F-7s were delivered without the computer software
    to permit the AAMs to be fired in flight. Also, the air force has
    complained that the F-7s are difficult to maintain, in part
    reflecting major differences between the structure and underlying
    philosophy of the Myanmar and Chinese logistics systems. Spare parts
    have been in very short supply. In addition, the air force seems to
    have experienced difficulties in using the F-7 (designed primarily
    for air defence) in a ground attack role. These, and other problems,
    seem to have prompted the air force to turn to Israel for
    assistance.

    According to sources in the international arms market, 36 of
    Myanmar's F-7 fighters are to be retro-fitted with the Elta EL/M-
    2032 air-to-air radar, Rafael Python 3 infrared, short range AAMs,
    and Litening laser designator pods. The same equipment will also be
    installed on the two-seater FT-7 fighter trainers. In a related
    deal, Israel will also sell Myanmar at least one consignment of
    laser-guided bombs. Since the Elbit contract was won in 1997, the
    air force has acquired at least one more squadron of F-7 and FT-7
    aircraft from China, but it is not known whether the Israeli-backed
    upgrade programme will now be extended to include the additional
    aircraft. Myanmar's critical shortage of foreign exchange will be a
    major factor in the SPDC's decision.

    The army has also benefited from Myanmar's new closeness to Israel.

    As part of the regime's massive military modernisation and expansion
    programme, considerable effort has been put into upgrading the
    army's artillery capabilities. In keeping with its practice of never
    abandoning any equipment of value, the army clearly still aims, as
    far as possible, to keep older weapons operational. (Pakistan, for
    example, has recently provided Myanmar with ammunition for its
    vintage 25 pounder field guns). The older UK, US and Yugoslav guns
    in the Tatmadaw's inventory have been supplemented over the past 10
    years with a range of new towed and self-propelled artillery pieces.
    Purchased mainly from China, they include 122mm howitzers, anti-tank
    guns, 57mm Type 80 anti-aircraft guns, 37mm Type 74 anti-aircraft
    guns and 107mm Type 63 multiple rocket launchers. In a barter deal
    brokered by China last year, the SPDC has also managed to acquire
    about 16 130mm artillery pieces from North Korea. Despite all this
    new firepower, however, the army has still looked to Israel to help
    equip its new artillery battalions.

    Around 1998 Myanmar negotiated the purchase of 16 155mm Soltam towed
    howitzers, possibly through a third party like Singapore. These guns
    are believed to be second-hand pieces no longer required by the
    Israel Defence Force. Last year, ammunition for these guns
    (including high explosive and white phosphorous rounds) was ordered
    from Pakistan's government ordnance factories. Before the purchase
    of these new Chinese and North Korean weapons, Myanmar's largest
    artillery pieces were 105mm medium guns, provided by the USA almost
    40 years ago. Acquiring the Israeli weapons thus marks a major
    capability leap for Myanmar's army gunners. It is possible that
    either Israel or Pakistan has provided instructors to help the army
    learn to use and maintain these new weapons.

    Nor has the Myanmar Navy missed out on Israeli assistance. There
    have been several reports that Israel is playing a crucial role in
    the construction and fitting out of three new warships, currently
    being built in Yangon.

    Myanmar's military leaders have long wanted to acquire two or three
    frigates to replace the country's obsolete PCE-827 and Admirable-
    class corvettes, decommissioned in 1994, and its two 1960s-vintage
    Nawarat-class corvettes, which have been gradually phased out since
    1989. As military ties with China rapidly grew during the 1990s, the
    SLORC hoped to buy two or three Jiangnan- or even Jianghu-class
    frigates, but it could not afford even the special 'friendship'
    prices being asked by Beijing. As a compromise, the SPDC has now
    purchased three Chinese hulls, and is currently fitting them out as
    corvettes in Yangon's Sinmalaik shipyard.

    According to reliable reports, the three vessels will each be about
    75m long and displace about 1,200 tons. Despite a European Community
    embargo against arms sales to Myanmar, the ships' main guns are
    being imported (apparently through a third party) from Italy. Based
    on the information currently available, they are likely to be 76mm
    OTO Melara Compact guns, weapons which (perhaps coincidentally) have
    been extensively combat-tested by the Israeli Navy on its Reshef-
    class fast attack missile patrol boats. The corvettes will probably
    also be fitted with anti-submarine weapons, but it is not known
    what, if any, surface-to-surface and SAMs the ships will carry.

    Israel's main role in fitting out the three corvettes is apparently
    to provide their electronics suites. Details of the full contract
    are not known, but it is expected that each package will include at
    least a surface-search radar, a fire-control radar, a navigation
    radar and a hull-mounted sonar.

    The first of these warships will probably be commissioned and
    commence sea trials later this year.


    ================================

    As for the MiG-29 7 Tor-M1 (SA-15?) purchase, Burma had already purchased 10 surplus MiG-29's from Russia with Israeli upgrades previously. With a limtied buget and source for fighter aircraft, the MiG-29 is probably the most cost-effective modern fighter for them right now.

    I suspect the Burmese AF was unhappy with J-7's from China, because these were early export variants with old radar and missiles. The article mentioned "350 PL-2A" plus one shipment of PL-5's. I suspect the PL-5 is prolly PL-5B, which is improved PL-2/AA-2. This means the aircraft did not have all-aspect attack capability, until the Israeli upgrades.

    Burma is also lacking in modern SAM systems, which the Tor-M1 will remedy. Here's a good article on the system:
    http://www.defense-update.com/products/t/tor.htm

    This system doesn't have the range of the S-300, but it'd do for point-defense of critical locations (i.e. Capital city?).

  13. #13
    Bamar is offline New Member
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    They are getting stronger! I think they will slowly replace Chinese arms with Russian & Indian ones. They will try to be more self reliant.

    Army - 50 T-72S MBTs, Ordered 1000 BTR-3U APCs from Ukraine. Purchased unknown qualtity of Nora SP Howitzers from Slovakia. Chinese tanks are old models. Myanmar army is one of the best in the region when it comes to Jungle fighting - from many years of fighting rebels.

    Navy - Currently builing stealth frigates using Italian guns, Israel technology & chinese missiles. They might get some missile boats/corvettes from Russia/India. Ships purchased from china are not in very good conditions. Navy will be upgraded to give more protection to costal oil and gas revenues.

    Air Force - More Mig-29s should ordered along with pilot training in Russia and India. I think they are negotiating for more Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters. I think they are getting annoyed with the poor quality of Chinease F-7s and A-5s. Chinese did not provide Myanmar with proper fighter pilot training, important equipment in the Migs including AAM firing software etc. That was why Myanmar went to Israel for upgrade. Besides F-7 won't be able to compete with Thai F-16s.

    Myanmar currently has outdated air defence equipment. Chinese weapons supplied to Myanmar are older versions but I think the new Russian medium and short range SAMs (as stated in above messages) should take them to the next level. If current Mig-29s are upgraded to SMT-2 standard with BVR missiles, Myanmar would be able to match Thai Air Force (which was not the case in 2001).
    Last edited by Bamar; 04-19-2006 at 03:03 PM.

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    Andrew is offline New Member
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    Re: How Strong Is Myanmar's Military?

    Some may find these two articles interesting. The author takes a broader, geopolitical viewpoint.

    With kind regards
    Andrew

    Myanmar woos China, Russia

    From Myanmar to Russia with love

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