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Myanmar’s Military Modernisation: Impressive, but Challenges Ahead

Eddie Lim and Shang-su Wu
RUSI Defence Systems, 2 March 2017
Defence Management, Land Forces, Maritime Forces
Since the military junta took power in 1988, Myanmar has expanded its military capabilities by introducing both new and used assets. However, several challenges remain if the junta is to maintain its current capabilities.

Prior to 1988, the previous administrations in Yangon, both civilian and military, did not pay much attention to military modernisation. This resulted in the armed forces (Tatmadaw) being equipped with a variety of platforms and weaponry from a spectrum of providers from the 1950s and 1960s, including Yugoslavia, the UK and the US.

Some of these assets were Second World War surplus equipment, and most of them were tailored towards counterinsurgency (COIN) operations. Therefore, in 1988, the junta began an aggressive plan to transform the Tatmadaw towards conventional warfare.

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