Burmese Army Equipped with New Arms
covering burma and southeast asia
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Burmese Army Equipped with New Arms

By LAWI WENG Friday, August 7, 2009


The 400,000-strong Burmese army is now almost fully armed with locally manufactured MA-series weapons, according to several sources within the armed forces and rebel groups.

The sources told The Irrawaddy that the Burmese army—known as the “Tatmadaw”—had equipped all frontline battalions with MA1, MA2, MA3 or MA4 automatic assault rifles.

According to a weapons Web site, securityarms.com, the MA series was manufactured with the help of arms contractor Israeli Military Industries, and was designed similar to the Israeli Galil rifle.

The weapons are expected to be used in conflicts with ethnic rebel groups, in particular the Karen National Union, as the Tatmadaw seeks to extinguish the country’s 60-year-plus insurgency. The Burmese armed forces have one of the world’s most notorious records for atrocities and human rights abuses, such as killing civilians, raping women and conscripting children.

Since the 1950s, the Tatmadaw has traditionally employed German-made G-3 weapons. However, the G-3 assault rifle was considered too heavy for use in jungle warfare and, as the Burmese generals had endured decades of conflict with ethnic groups in Burma’s mountainous border regions, they began manufacture of the MA series in 2002, presumably after signing a license agreement with Israel Military Industries.

The MA1 and MA2 assault rifles are shorter and lighter than the G3, but not as powerful, said the sources.

The MA3 is an assault carbine, basically an MA1 with a side-folding stock, and the MA4 is a grenadier weapon, essentially an MA1 equipped with a single-shot grenade launcher.

Sources told The Irrawaddy that the weapons were manufactured at several factories in Burma, but the main factory is reportedly called Ka Pa Sa No 1, and is situated near Rangoon’s Inya Lake.

Sai Sheng Murng, the deputy spokesman of the rebel Shan State Army-South (SSA), said, “The MA1 and MA2 assault rifles are not heavy, so they are good for carrying to the frontlines. But they are not powerful like the G-3.”

“The MA1s and MA2s are similar to our M16s. In fact, we can use their ammunition in our M16 rifles, but they cannot use our ammunition in their rifles,” he said.

The Burmese army is one of the most battle-hardened forces in Asia, having fought almost continuously against ethnic insurgents and communist guerillas for more than six decades.

However, following the brutal suppression of student-led demonstrations in 1988, the United States and later the European Union imposed an arms embargo on the Burmese regime.

At the time, Burmese democracy activists and international sympathizers lobbied the West German government to prevent sales of G-3 weapons from the Fritz Werner arms manufacturing company going to the Burmese junta.

The German arms manufacturers registered themselves in Burma in the 1990s as Myanmar Fritz Werner Industries Co Ltd, an electrical and electronics company.

However, the photograph of a Japanese journalist, Kenji Nagai, being shot during protests in 2007 by a Burmese soldier holding what would appear to be a G-3 rifle, raised doubts as to whether local production of the German assault rifle was ongoing.

Despite the Western arms embargo, the Burmese military regime has no shortage of arms suppliers—Israel, Russia, Ukraine and China are reportedly the main players.

Meanwhile, recent reports have indicated that Burma has purchased nuclear material from North Korea and harbors ambitions of creating a nuclear arsenal.

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plan Wrote:
As you ask others not to read my post you are actually encouraging them to see why they should not.
Words to the wise: If you want others to ignore heretics, point out their "heresy" beyond reproach.
Besides not the spirit of free exchange of ideas Irrwaady is promoting.
Peace brother peace.
EVen if you wiki APPEASEMENT. It sounds better than what is happening to the people.
Appeasement is made terrible because of Chamberlain concession to Hitler.
As of now your labeling me makes me look good.
Peace brother peace.
Remember by 6º of differences I can link you or anyone to how I want you to appear as.
Move on and do what you do best for the burmese people.

Garrett Wrote:
pLan B/Nyeinc et al,
Your attempts at subterfuge are annoying, but they are not surprising.
Regardless of how many times you dip yourself into the whitewash, a leopard can't change its spots, just as wolves wearing the skins of sheep will smell like dead sheep.

Appeasement and apathy must be CONQUERED, not RECONCILED with. Just as courage must CONQUER fear.

I again ask readers to ignore pro-regime
rhetoric and research the political, humanitarian, health care and ethnic issues facing Burma on their own.
The truth IS out there even though you will likely NOT see it reported on the cable news outlets.
Just Google with search-phrases like:
political persecution in Burma
ethnic nationality persecution in Burma
Burma army atrocities
Burma army rape of ehtnic minority women
infectious disease in Burma
child mortality rate in Burma
forced labor in Burma
government corruption in Burma
U.N. inaction on Burma

These issues have been neglected for decades by the media.

pLan B Wrote:

Not a very good example of reconciliation here. Especially when your reverence for DASSK is a well-respected and known attribute.

Peace, brother, peace.

I speak only for myself here. As always my objective is well you know--don't want to be accused of hogging and such.

Garrett Wrote:
planB/Nyeinc, et al,

"Peace brother peace?" There is no peace in appeasement.

There will be no freedom in Burma if it is not freedom for all Burmese citizens, and no democracy in Burma if it is not for all Burmese citizens.

Peace in Burma comes after two weeks of agonizing malarial fever with no medicine.

Peace comes after a malnourished child goes another week with little or no food.

Peace comes after tuberculosis makes it impossible to draw another breath.

Peace comes when dysentery spreads through a village like wildfire taking the young and old alike.

Peace comes when the forced porters reach their destination, and are paid with a garrote.

Peace comes when the young women who have been gang-raped by the SPDC forces commit suicide.

The reign of SPDC terror will only end when the people of Burma stand up and peacefully protest for democracy, freedom for all citizens, and an end to the persecution and enslavement of their fellow Burmese citizens.

NO peace by appeasement!

pLan B Wrote:

Peace brother peace.


Garrett Wrote:
planB, Nyeinc, Okkar et al,

It is clear that you are quite well versed in "false stats", and that they are in-fact, your bread and butter.

I know the truth, and that is how I know you are either obscuring the truth, or you are ignorant of the truth.

I get my information either first hand, or from those who have lived their entire lives at the business end of the guns bought by successive regimes.

I HAVE visited the country, I HAVE looked things up VERY carefully, and the only health care systems I am aware of in Eastern and Southern Burma are the ones which cross the border from Thailand, and the ones which are administered by the various ethnic nationality governments.

I would hardly call the SPDC administered beatings, rapes, bayonet stab wounds, bullet wounds, and limbs traumatically blown off by SPDC landmines a health care system.

The SPDC "relegated HC duty" must be the starvation of ethnic minority citizens which does prevent many people from dying of diseases.

pLan B Wrote:
"They can't afford medicine to save hundreds of thousands of lives--they can afford new weapons."
Please don't toe the ignorant line and false stats perpetuated by Turell and completely discount certain segments of healthcare in Burma to make himself "Burma's Expert."
There is a fate awaiting him depicting well on the mural of Yeh lair Paya in Burma.
Albeit the SPDC must, can and should do better, as you have said.
However if you will visit the country you will realize it is easier said then done. Dig deeper and you will find that the SPDC has relegated HC duty to a lot of local organizations.
I know you mean well for the most vulnerable. You owe it to yourself to look things up more thoroughly.
You have already arrived at your own conclusion about all those "I love DASSK anonymous" profiting themselves.
That say a lot about your independence. Keep it up.

KKK Wrote:
What is Than Shwe's Tatmadaw doing in Burma?
- raping Burmese people
- killing Burmese people
- robbing Burmese people's property
- stealing Burmese people's property
- selling Burmese people's property
- enslaving Burmese people to neighboring countries

quik Wrote:
I guess with new arms it gives them confidence to threaten the Wa and Kokang regions right at this minute with troop build ups and a show of force. Many people are fleeing across the border as we speak. New weapons with no support for the people is criminal.

Free Man Wrote:
Maybe "one of the most battle-hardened forces.". But if you carefully look into it, many of them, including child soldiers, are forcibly recruited and not well-trained. They might drop their guns in a panic as soon as they hear gunshots. Their morale is low. The sad thing is that the Tatmadaw, according to Burmese military analyst Aung Kyaw Zaw, is no longer a patriotic army. In fact, they are, probably not all, murderers, robbers, rapists, extortionists, and bandits in uniform. Many of them would be taken to the ICC if Burma was a party to the Rome Statute or if the UNSC had a political will to do justice to the people of Burma in the name of humanity. It is my sincere wish that officers and soldiers who are wise and farsighted would emerge within the army and steer the country onto the right track.

Garrett Wrote:
They can't afford medicine to save hundreds of thousands of lives each year, and they can't afford to feed their own troops who are ordered to commandeer rice and livestock from those who are starving in the local villages near their bases, but they can afford new weapons.
They spend almost nothing to educate millions of Burmese children, but they can afford new weapons.

While the SPDC are in no hurry to end their siege of revenge and punishment in Eastern Burma which they savor like vintage wine, it is doubtful they intend the ethnic nationalities whom their new weapons are now aimed at to be considered a renewable resource.

And since India, Thailand, and China pose little threat, and the Burma Army would quickly fold if they were to face a UN coalition, the reason they need new weapons is likely to enforce the extortion and enslavement of millions of urban citizens, so far a vast untapped resource.
Politics and ethnicities aside, slavery means high profit margins.

Lawee Rot Wrote:
Your article reminded me of a movie called "Lord of War," played by Nicholas Cage. As long as the regime has money, there will be no shortage of arms suppliers and even sophisticated nuclear weapons for them. The equipment that we've seen with Burmese soldiers are just the tip of the iceberg. Shame on you self interested foreign investors! Is your money really helping the people of Burma? How many schools and hospitals did you build? None. How many MA1, MA2 and MA3 did you buy? 400,000. Very good, keep up the good work, foreign investment. Everybody knows that the Burma army's main intention is to finish all the ethnic nationalities, its armies and all the opposition groups. After that, who knows, they might invade Thailand again, because they did it before when they slaughtered the Mon 250 years ago.

mgkaung Wrote:
I have been reading news articles written by our very own patriotic journalists for many years but the junta keep calling them full of lies, but very, very sad to say this, since I myself am one of those old Uni students who xperienced the hard timesin Burma, also the G3, I still can see the difference between G3 and MA2. However, the photograph of a Japanese journalist, Kenji Nagai, being shot during protests in 2007 by a Burmese soldier holding what would appear to be a G-3 rifle, raised doubts as to whether local production of the German assault rifle was ongoing, which is totally wrong. The weapon used during the monks' and our brothers' upraising was the MA2. I wonder how Mr Lawi Weng thinks that was a G3. Please brother, I really appreciate your hard work but you should do some very simple research before you write something which is going to be seen on the web by many, many people.
Plese provide us the reliable news and don't help the junta to call you a liar.

Kindreligion Wrote:
The 400,000-weak Burmese army is basically killing the Burmese people and also corrupt, of low discipline and the tool for U Ne Win, U Than Shwe, etc.

plan B Wrote:
"The Burmese army is one of the most battle-hardened forces in Asia, having fought almost continuously against ethnic insurgents and communist guerillas for more than six decades."
A word to the wise. Not mentioning the loyalty issue, if any of 400,000 should become the next group of insurgents the next government will not stand much of a chance to promote democracy.
"Meanwhile, recent reports have indicated that Burma has purchased nuclear material from North Korea and harbors ambitions of creating a nuclear arsenal."
A cheap innuendo. Read your brethren article:

Yangontha Wrote:
No arms means no Tatmadaw; New arms means new Tatmadaw, means a new boss is on the way to take Than Shwe's posiiton—nothing new in the junta's history, since 1962. The worst thing is a poor child soldier must have a new arm to carry the new arms to prolong their military mechanism. What a sad series!

Saw Dennis Wrote:
The Burmese army or rather the SPDC armed forces are no stronger than 200,000 on the ground, including the air force, navy, police, fire brigade personnel, etc. Recruiting is carried out by the SPDC at a hectic pace, but desertion at the rate of 1,600 a month, many dead and wounded in the field are a serious depletion of strength. What the officers at the lower levels do is keep up the numbers on paper and pocket the pay of the phantom soldiers. In that way, they make extra income on the side and keep the junta leaders happy. The SPDC spreads falsehood so as to have the opposition believe that it is invincible, but the free media should be careful not to use false information given out by the SPDC as facts.

m Wrote:
Now war is over why the army wants new weapons.

People are very hungry. But the government does nothing for them.

SAWLU Wrote:
The Tatmadaw can't beat the KNLA.

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