Military Modernization in Southeast Asia

The Asian militaries are undergoing a transformation of their military to enable them to cope with the several types of qualms in the modern world. Several states in the continent follow diverse defense techniques in order to cope with the ecological threats, economic state of the country, as well as the security issues of the nation. Asia has a big necessity for the military modernization due to the need for harmony alongside political stability.  Most Southeast Asian states have invested in the military modernization due to the issue of internal factors as well as structural reinforcements. For instance, China, India, Russia, and Japan have enhanced their warfighting techniques and have organized their armed forces to greater heights. More so, most Asian states have heightened defense outlays and incorporated their defense components into modern computer programs. Additionally, China has become the super power in Asia; thus, other Asian powers are doing their best to be more organized than China. The idea of deploying their military in more improved strategies makes the states invent more improved war items. It makes the war technologies the best enhanced in the modern epoch. The military modernization in Southeast Asia correlates with the economic state of the continent. This has been the trend for the last decade according to the records. Several states like South Korea, Pakistan, Japan, China, and India have experienced significant defense expenditure more than Southeast Asia states.

China’s military modernization is wrought by the military strategies of the Taiwan issue as well as the aspiration to become the global power. Japan allies with other countries like the USA since their defense strategies are highly improved. This makes Japan seek for reciprocity in the allies, hence they become more demanding on base issues in Okinawa. This is in the pursuit of seeking the complete maintenance of UN Security Council bid. North Korea hubs on preclusion longer-range strike aptitude as well as South Korea. North Korea is shifting to more asymmetric techniques in order to improve its economy and at the same time its defense sector. With such measures in place, it has become hard to dismantle North Korea’s defense forces. On the other hand, South Korea is on the front line to diminish the prospect vulnerabilities to North Korea attacks. South Korea does this while to try to avoid adversarial relations with North Korea. However, both Koreas are working hard to enhance their political armed forces sovereignty from external powers.

Russia also has modernized military units, a competing power with Southeast Asia. The country has a rising defense expertise. It is working hard to modernize the units in order to accomplish Moscow’s overly motivated objectives. The US defense security, however, works in cooperation with Russia to maintain peace in some selected areas. For the military defense to be improved in Russia, the US ought to exert more pressure on Moscow to democratize. More so, most of the Southeast Asian states are currently alert in air as well as marine competence in order to scrutinize the close proximity in the air and sea space. Their military cooperation is, therefore, multilateral rather than bilateral. Southeast Asia’s ties with the USA vary from close allies, for instance, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand to countries under endorsements like Burma. Additionally, China is currently endorsing a marine presence in Southeast Asia as well as accomplishing the discretion premeditated to restore confidence to Beijing’s intentions.

The Southeast Asian states have set some incentives to acquire nuclear weapons. The strategy also includes the hunch to lighten insecurity alongside to enhance the international status. It is a concrete issue that only the US would prevent nuclear proliferation in the region. However, the US requires ample time and a lot of funds to carry out the assignment. This is because six of the declared eight nuclear weapons states are in Asia. Some of such situations are caused by unresolved political disagreements. These clashes bring about the miscalculations amid nuclear powers, which at long last lead to the nuclear exchanges. The mode of attaining the nuclear materials in Asia is through an illegal transfer alongside linked technologies like armaments.

Southeast Asia is usually considered as an area of both relative calm as well as relative insecurity. More so, the region necessitates a crucial flashpoint that could lead to a major war. The countries in Southeast Asia are united in a common geopolitical as well as economic organization. This unity is referred to as the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN). For the past two decades, the ASEAN has expanded its military abilities, which are directed towards the potential China threat. For instance, several regions such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand have acquired competence for surveillance, force projection, precision strike as well as command control. Other technologies include: low-observability (stealth), reconnaissance (C4ISR), computing, as well as stand-off-attacks. This is due to the prospect growth of the Chinese military power, a strategy that has led to modernization of restricted armed forces. The Southeast states are advancing their older fighter aircraft with more refined versions and purchasing new tanks with weaponry pieces. The Southeast Asia states have also deployed aircraft carriers, submarines, maritime patrol aircraft, air-to-air refueling aircraft, and longer-range air-to-air missiles. They have also acquired the contemporary anti-ship sail armaments and airborne early warning (AEW).

The acquisition of all the above modern military armaments has its effects on the regional security. For instance, the modern armaments represent an upgrading in the modes of fighting. Nearly, all the states in the region own the fourth-generation fighter aircrafts, such as the Russian Su-27, Su-30 and the MiG-29. These combatant aircrafts are able to fire stand-off dynamic radar-guided air-to air artillery such as the US AMRAAM or the Russian AA-12. Additionally, Southeast Asia militaries have also managed to acquire greater lethality as well as accuracy ranges. The combat zone familiarity, command control, and heightened operational speed have been reached .The efficiency of the battlefield and combat firepower has increased due to ballistic missiles and terminal-homing like the GPS and stand-off weapons like cruise. The hypothetical mode of military action is also enhanced due to the contemporary submarines, surface fighters, and amphibious attack vessels. The air-refueled battle airliners and transport airplanes have also made huge advancements in the Southeast Asia states.

The Southeast Asia militaries, precisely Singapore and Malaysia, are acquiring military equipments that ought to combine together and alter the notion and the conduct of warfare. Such warfare equipments require crucial hardware components, which are vital in executing a vast revolution in the military units. This has also made other countries like Indonesia concentrate on their military capability, principally the sea-based and air-based border coercions. The Armed Forces of Indonesiaknown as the Tentara National Indonesia(TNI) have engaged more tasks of perambulating and defending the vast Indonesian archipelago. The TNI has set out to build a green-water capacity by 2020 and is consolidating the size of its naval task force. The TNI does this by getting rid of all the archaic ships, like the corvettes, which were obtained in the 1990s. The armed forces have replaced the old naval ships with modern and capable ships. Some of the modern war vessels include: the Sigma-class corvettes from the Netherlands, the Korean-built platform landing dock (LDP) support ships and ChineseC-802 ASCMs. The military units of Indonesia also convert the archaic ships into patrol boats to ensure a complete patrol in the eastern part of archipelago. The TNI marine forces have also been increased and strengthened by the government. The TNI navy maneuvers an ample navy of naval guard aircraft such as CN-235MPAs and ex-Australian Defense Force N-22 Nomad Searchmasters.

Malaysia is also a state in the southeast of Asia. Currently, it is in the midst of a multi-year program to enlarge and renew its military forces. For instance, Kuala Lumpur has the contemporary Versatile Malaysian Armed Forces of the 21st Century (VMAF21) program. The program sets out to transform the military operations to the modern combat capabilities. They have expanded their firepower and building blue-water naval capability. Kuala Lumpur has also acquired Franco-Spanish Scorpene-class submarines for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN). These submarines have made it possible to train prospect submariners in the dearth of hardware. The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has also bought German-designed MEKO A100 offshore ships as well as British-built Lekiu-class frigates. Other modernization in the military systems includes the state coast guard, which guards the country’s nautical-mile protective waters. Currently, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) consists of seventy- two ships, as well as the military crafts.

All these activities have led to an increased level of spending in the defense systems of the diverse states. The table below depicts how four countries have invested in the modernization of their military spending.







$ 3.8b














Singapore has an educated workforce and strengths in information expertise. Presently, Singapore is working on the third-generation (3G) alteration of its military forces. The main objective of the state transforming its military forces originates from the perception of eccentric threats like violence, piracy, as well as decline in the neighboring states. These threats have led to the rise of the diverse urban warfare techniques as well as the fortification of essential mechanisms. The other consideration is that Singapore has a small and ageing population, which enables it only to access the limited defense resources. The general technological advancement in Singapore makes it possible to advance in military operations. The state has designed a doctrinal concept known as the Integrated Knowledge-based Command and Control (IKC2). The doctrine stresses on the acquirement, expansion alongside the implementation of the expertise in their weapon systems The IKC2 and the 3G both engross the use of electronics, signal dispensation, information systems safety, and sophisticated regulation systems. They are also outfitted with communications, electronic combat, sensors and unmanned automobiles. The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)is the most superior military force among the ASEAN states. Singapore is also implicated in the Asian partner international F-35 Joint Fighter (JSF) agenda.

Thailand also has huge maritime interests to protect the offshore oil as well as oil reserves. Thailand is also committed to curb terrorism, piracy, as well as illegal drug trafficking in its border waters. The Royal Thai Navy (RTN), therefore, provides littoral and blue-water nautical defense. On the other hand, the Vietnamese military forces have shown increased emphasis on the self-reliance defense over years. The military units have managed to acquire the American radars; Svetlyak-class craft patrol vessels from South Korea and Poland. In addition, Vietnam is structuring forty new aboriginal 400-ton offshore perambulation vessels as well as coastal patrol vessels.

There are several factors that led to the modernization of the military forces in Southeast Asia. Most of the states are often suspicious of each other hence struggle to advance their military and security systems. For instance, there has been a historical dispute between Singapore and Malaysia. There are also disputes between Indonesia and Malaysia, which have led to the modern clashes and territorial claims. In the year 2007, there was a dispute between Singapore and Indonesia over sand and gravel exports to the island nation. There is also the element of competition among the ASEAN communities to become the superiors in the military units ranking. The inclination has engaged many states in the region to the unending rivalry and revenge mission attacks. The idea of going to war leads to the drive to acquire sophisticated war vessels in order to emerge the winner.  All the above factors show the great revolution of the Southeast Asia states in the military service systems. With the current society, there is increased expertise in all fields. The military field is not an exception; the reason is why the modern war vessels are so sophisticated. The Southeast Asia states have become extremely cautious of their security in the region and enhanced all the necessary measures to protect their states. The government in the ASEAN states has also played a major role in overseeing the general welfare and peace in the states. This is by giving adequate funds to the states and acquisition of the necessary combat equipments. With such a support, the states have seen the modernization in their military services over the decades.

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