The Australian light armoured vehicle (ASLAV)
The Australian light armoured vehicle (ASLAV) is manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems Australia for the Royal Australian Army. It is derived from the LAV-25 light armoured vehicle.
ASLAV is an eight-wheeled amphibious armoured vehicle designed for reconnaissance and surveillance missions. Australia has deployed ASLAVs in theatres in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The ASLAV programme
The ASLAV 8×8 wheeled light armoured vehicles are procured under the LAND 112 programme. The vehicles are designed to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance activities over large distances with minimal logistic support. The project has progressed in four phases.
In 1990, 15 light armoured vehicles were acquired from the US Marine Corps for evaluation in Australian conditions. In 1992, 111 vehicles were acquired under phase 2. The 2nd Cavalry Regiment was fully equipped with the ASLAV by 1997. The purchase of 144 improved vehicles was approved in phase 3.
Phase 2 fleet was upgraded to the more evolved phase 3 standard. The upgraded vehicle is fitted with modern electric turret drives, advanced thermal sights, an integrated laser rangefinder, a second-generation drive train and new suspension parts. The new remote weapon stations were incorporated to achieve behind armour commander’s weapon station capability. The vehicles were assembled by General Motors Defence Australia.
In June 2010, the Australian Government provided second pass approval to upgrade ASLAV under the LAND 112 phase 4 project, scheduled to begin in April 2012.
Based on the LAV-25 platform, the ASLAV is of eight-wheeled configuration, equipped with either four or eight-wheel drive. The versatility is increased by the addition of non-permanent mission role installation kits (MRIKs). This unique Australian alternation will generate several variants from a single hull design.
ASLAV is fitted with air-conditioning to protect the crew from interior temperatures reaching 55°C (131°F) in northern Australian region. The modernised vehicles carry a laser rangefinder, a new-generation thermal imager, 28V DC electric drive for the turret and improved suspension for the hull.
ASLAVs have been delivered in six variants: reconnaissance, personnel carrier, command, ambulance, surveillance, fitters and recovery. ASLAV-25 reconnaissance is a three-man reconnaissance vehicle armed with an M242 dual-feed 25mm Bushmaster cannon and two 7.62mm MAG58 machine guns. ASLAV-PC is a personnel carrier armed with a .50-calibre machine gun and capable of carrying seven troops. ASLAV-C is a command vehicle equipped with modern communication equipment and radio masts, mapboard and stowage compartments.
ASLAV-S is a surveillance vehicle equipped with a thermal imager, a laser range finder and a day television camera. ASLAV-A, an ambulance variant, carries medical equipment and litter stations. It can accommodate three lying patients or six sitting.
Orders and deliveries
In December 1992, the Commonwealth Government signed the ASLAV phase 2 contract with GDLS Canada for 113 ASLAV wheeled armoured fighting vehicles. Following the success of phase 2, the phase 3 contract for a further 144 ASLAVs was signed in September 2001. A total of 257 vehicles have been received in seven variants.
The primary armament of the ASLAV is a M242 25mm chain gun with thermal imaging sight. An M240 7.62mm machine gun mounted coaxially to the main gun serves as a secondary weapon. There is also a MAG58 7.62mm pintle-mounted machine gun fitted on the vehicle. Ancillary armament includes two 76mm smoke grenade launchers (clusters of four launchers each).
The all-welded steel hull protects the crew from small arm fires and shell splinters. The add-on armour fitted on the vehicle provides all-round protection against projectiles of up to 14.5mm. The add-on armour over the frontal arc protects the vehicle from 30mm projectiles.
ASLAV is powered by 275hp Detroit Diesel 6V53T Silver diesel engine coupled with Allison MT653 (five speeds forward, one reverse) transmission.
The ASLAV is a fully amphibious vehicle capable of travelling at a top road speed of 100km/h and maximum swim speed of 10km/h. It has a maximum road range of 660km. The vehicle is equipped with two propellers and four rudders for waterborne operations. A solid-core secondary tyre fitted to all wheels enhances battlefield mobility of the vehicle. This will allow the vehicle to run even with eight flat tyres. The vehicle can be transported by C-130, C-141, C-5A and CH-53 aircraft.