Australia has granted the second pass approval for the upgrade of the Australian light armoured vehicle (ASLAV) under project Land 112 phase 4 – ASLAV enhancement, according to defence minister John Faulkner.

Faulkner said the $302.8m upgrade programme would provide enhanced armoured protection to the ASLAV fleet enabling them to operate in difficult and dangerous environments.

Upgrades to the vehicle include increased protection against a wide range of threats including IEDs, pre-modification and refurbishment work, suspension and drivetrain upgrades, installation of upgrade kits, and the redesign and manufacturing of mine blast belly plates.

Work will be carried out by General Dynamics Land Systems in Pooraka, South Australia, and the deliveries of 113 upgraded vehicles will begin in April 2012.

Deployed to the Middle East area of operations since 2004, the ASLAV is currently operating in Afghanistan.

Australian troops in Afghanistan are using the vehicle to conduct search and escort missions, and to provide support to close combat operations.