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Although Myanmar's army, known as Tatmadaw and comprising some 400,000 soldiers, is one of the largest in Southeast Asia from a technical point of view and still exerts significant civilian power in the nation, even under the military's 2008 drafting, its capability continues to fall well short of that of some of its neighbours.
However, in recent years, in acknowledgement of this fact, there has also been a clear effort by the Min Aung Hlaing militia to further evolve and modernise the body to what he recently called the "standard army", with a multitude of moves, involving the acquisition of new arms, the establishment of relations with alien soldiers and the attempts to enhance areas such as recruiting and outreach.
Whilst the shifting civil-military momentum generated by the Myanmar's first civilian-led administration in half a century-and current events such as the aftermath of Rohingya's regime in the U.S. have undoubtedly brought further insecurity into a highly complicated, on-going and unrestricted transition there is little evidence that the entire course of this transition has undergone fundamental change.
Myanmar's Luftwaffe was not immune to the wider changes under way in Myanmar's modernization. Myanmar Navy celebrated its 70 years of existence on December 15 with a high-profile ceremonial at the Mandalay School. Min Aung Hlaing's inauguration of ten aircrafts as a symbol of the country's increasing performance was the headline celebration.
According to a report in tabloid press, the mixture of planes for the event consisted of six Yak-130 combat planes, two Fokker-70 planes from the Netherlands and two French-Italian ATR 42-430 planes. Ming Hlaing's comments at the commemoration addressed similar issues raised in recent years, such as the roles of the army in establishing the country's autonomy and maintaining the country's subsequent integrity and supremacy despite the state' s own and outside threat, even if the Luftwaffe was not well-designed.
It also threw out the evolution of Luftwaffe capability as part of a broader transition of the army into the so-called "standard army" and pointed to the importance of Luftwaffe in the face of the increasing importance of asymmetrical warmongering and the roles of aerial interventions in it. In addition to the part of Min Aung Hlaing, there were other celebrations as part of the jubilee, said Myanmar's Department of Defence.
These include a fly-by of airplanes and choppers, prizes for drivers, the opening of a memorial exhibit for the jubilee and other activities such as the liberation of 70 poultry and the spraying of airplanes with perfumed air fresheners as a boon. There is still much uncertainty about the course of Myanmar's modern ization, whether in relation to the inner dynamism of the army, the interaction between the army and other countries, or the comparative prioritisation of certain types of militar yipment.
However, the Luftwaffe's jubilee was a memory of the ongoing changes and the associated chances and challanges.