The Zaha marine assault vehicle (MAV) is a new amphibious armoured vehicle developed by FNSS Savunma Sistemleri, a defence vehicle manufacturer based in Turkey.
The vehicle is intended to assist the Turkish Naval Forces during amphibious operations. It facilitates the rapid movement of naval troops to mission locations and allows them to tackle enemy threats efficiently.
When deployed on land, the Zaha marine assault vehicle will assume the duties of an armoured combat vehicle by offering enhanced ballistic and mine protection features to the forces.
A scaled model of the MAV was showcased for the first time at the IndoDefence 2018 exhibition held in Jakarta, Indonesia, in November 2018. It was later officially launched by the manufacturer at the International Defence Industry Fair 2019 (IDEF 2019) held in Büyükçekmece, Turkey, in May 2019.
Zaha marine assault vehicle development
In 2017, FNSS signed an agreement with the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) of Turkey for the development of new amphibious armoured vehicles for the Turkish Navy.
The development was initiated by FNSS under the project, Zırhlı Amfibi Hücum Araçları (ZAHA).
FNSS is responsible for the delivery of 27 vehicles to the Turkish Naval Forces Command under the agreement. It will deliver 23 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), two command and control vehicles, and two recovery vehicles.
FNSS completed the evaluation of the prototype design and the vehicle eventually entered the critical design review (CDR) phase in the first half of 2019.
The base platform of the amphibious vehicle can be used for the development of multiple variants including an armoured personnel carrier (APC), a command post vehicle, mine clearance vehicle, and a recovery vehicle.
Zaha MAV design and features
The new-generation amphibious vehicle features a water-resistant hull and demonstrates superior amphibious characteristics. Its completely sealed hydrodynamic hull offers self-righting capability and improves mobility in water as well as on land.
The MAV’s design configuration enables the operators to launch the vehicle from landing platform docks (LPD) during amphibious assault missions. Turkey is expected to use its LPD Anadolu to deploy the MAVs.
Zaha MAV can be manned by a crew of three members including a commander, a driver, and a gunner. The driver is positioned in the front, while the commander’s hatch follows the driver’s hatch.
Located in the middle of the vehicle, Gunner’s compartment offers a clear view of the surroundings and allows the gunner to track down enemy movements.
A large compartment at the rear end can carry cargo and 21 dismounted troops. It is fitted with a hydraulic ramp that allows troop ingress and egress.
Armament and protection features of the amphibious vehicle
A remote-controlled turret is mounted on the roof of the vehicle. It can be armed with a 12.7mm machine gun and a 40mm automatic grenade launcher (AGL).
The APC variant is equipped with a remote-controlled turret carrying a 0.50 calibre M2 heavy barrel machine gun and a 40mm AGL. It also features a thermal sighting system, which facilitates day and night operations.
The aluminium hull offers protection to the on-board crew against ballistic threats and mine explosions. It also features a coaxially-mounted smoke grenade launcher, and a dedicated system that offers protection against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons.
The protection features of the MAV are further improved with the application of applique armour plates and cathodic protection.
Other systems installed aboard the vehicle include an air conditioning system, an explosion detection and suppression system, and countermeasure systems.
Engine and performance
The Zaha marine assault vehicle is equipped with a diesel engine power pack mounted on the forward hull. The engine drives a fully-automatic transmission system. In amphibious mode, the vehicle is propelled by two rear-mounted water jets.
The maximum amphibious speed of the vehicle is 7kt, while the maximum road speed is 70km/h.