Home / Robert Farley / “Frankenforces” and the Future of the Arms Trade in East Asia

“Frankenforces” and the Future of the Arms Trade in East Asia


Interrupting election coverage for this all-important update on the structure of the East Asian arms trade:

An arms relationship represents both an economic and a political commitment. What’s at stake in making such a commitment? While Sino-U.S. competition likely won’t descend into the kind of alliance structure that predominated during the Cold War, some navies could nevertheless find themselves on the “wrong side” of political competition in the Western Pacific, which could leave them vulnerable. Committing to one supplier creates a relationship of dependency, with the client needing to stay in the good graces of the patron in order to maintain access to spares, munitions, and modernization kits. The smaller navies of Southeast Asia need to decide how best to develop force structures in a future which may see competition between the United States and China.

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  • I

    Oh well. At least I have magic powers, so I will be able to deal with this “cold war” like situation.

  • shah8
  • cpinva

    or, those small countries could develop a home-grown defense industry, and not necessarily focusing exclusively on surface ships. i seem to recall a small, but extremely determined south pacific, lacking in masses of raw materials, that was able to develop what was, for its time, the single most powerful navy in the world.

    a small country, focusing solely on self-defense, could conceivably develop a robust enough industrial base, to meet its needs. if their economy will support the purchase of ships, parts, etc., it will probably support the development of a home-grown industry. thus, making them far less to being stuck on one or the other side.

  • cpinva

    rats! an edit function really is needed here!

    that should read:

    but extremely determined south pacific country

    • rea

      What South Pacific country do you have in mind?

      Japan? But that isn’t really South Pacific.

      • Dave

        Isn’t really? No shit, Sherlock. Isn’t and has never been ‘small’, either, in terms of population, cf. the UK, France, Germany…

  • Rhino

    Interestingly, this is exactly why I don’t want my country to purchase the f35. Because when the rest of the world finally has to come shut you guys down, our airforce will be useless to the effort.

    • Some Guy

      Pffff, good luck getting past our Star Wars lasers and the 500′ tall MechaOprah.

  • Bitter Scribe

    What the hell, the American companies probably would just outsource to China anyway.

  • Jaime

    Hasn’t this been A Thing amongst air forces for rather a while now? Malaysia operates MiG-29s and FA-18s; Pakistan has their gloriously mixed bag of Mirages, F-16s, and assorted Chinese MiG models plus the home-grown types just coming on-line. Seems to me to be an inevitable byproduct of a multi-polar world.

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