The most powerful fire fist of the Australian Army is 59 M1 Abrams main battle tanks imported from the US. In addition, Australia also owns 257 light armored ASLAV vehicles.
ASLAV is a version of Piranha manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada. This armored vehicle acted as a groundbreaking attack for the Australian Army. Australia also has 431 M113 APC vehicles. These armored vehicles will soon be replaced by new armored vehicles of the LAND 400 project.
The Australian Defence Force has a total of only 80,000 people but is equipped with modern combat facilities and many combat experiences.
In 1990, together with other modern world powers, the Australian Army needed to address an order for armored vehicles. More than a dozen US Marine Corps LAV-25 systems have been tested by Australian units for durability, reliability, adaptability and mobility in the local terrain. In keeping with the requirements of the Australian Army, LAV-25 was revised and launched ASLAV.
Currently ASLAV is still maintaining a positive presence in the warehouse of the Australian army with 257 units.
The Australian Army plans to spend up to $20 billion in the next decade replacing its ageing fleet of eight-wheel-drive vehicles known as Australian light armoured vehicle – ASLAV. As well as discontinuing the ASLAV, the army will also later replace the older M113 tracked armoured personnel carriers.
The Australian Light Armoured Vehicle, is a wheeled, eight wheel drive, amphibious vehicle from the Diesel Division, General Motors of Canada. The vehicle was designed to carry eight fully-equipped soldiers into combat and are armed with a 25-millimetre chain gun. Bought in the early 1990s, they have served Australia well in theatres such as Timor Leste, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The versatility of the ASLAV has been further increased by the use of non-permanent mission role installation kits. The kits allow the generation of several variants from a single ASLAV hull design. This is a unique Australian Defence Force capability, with much of the design and development work undertaken in Australia.
Based on the Lav-25 platform, the hull and the turret of the ASLAV are made in all-welded steel which provide a protection for the crew against firing of small arms and shell splinters. The layout of the ASLAV is very similar to the US Lav-25 used by the US Marine Corps, the driver at the front on the left with the power pack to his right.
The ASLAV are fitted with an electric turret in the middle and troops compartment at the rear, improved thermal optics, and integrated laser range finder. To improve protection, the ASLAV can be fitted with a ceramic appliqué armour system. The add-on armour fitted on the vehicle provides all-round protection against projectiles of up to 14.5mm. For the latest operations of Australian army in Afghanistan, the ASLAV was upgraded with wire cage armour to increase protection against RPG threats.
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. This unique Australian alternation will generate several variants from a single hull design. ASLAV reconnaissance is a three-man reconnaissance vehicle, is fitted with air-conditioning to protect the crew from interior temperatures reaching 55°C in northern Australian region.
Powerplan and performance
The ASLAV is motorized with a Detroit Diesel Model 6V-53T diesel engine developing 275 hp coupled to an Allison MT653 fully automatic transmission with 5 forward and 1 reverse gears. The vehicle can run at a maximum road speed of 100 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 660 km. The ASLAV is able to cross trenches of 2m wide and climbs a vertical obstacle of 0.5m maximum.
For amphibious operations, the trim vane is erected, bilge pumps activated and rear propellers, connected to the main shaft, are activated. Both also have two small rudders. In addition, the ASLAV is air transportable by most current carriers like the C130, C-141, C-5A but also the heavy duty helicopter CH-53. The 8×8 configuration allows the vehicle to remain mobile even if one is lost, whereas all wheels have solid-core internal secondary run-flat tire next to the hub, allowing the vehicle to run even with if all eight tires burst.
The armament of the ASLAV comprises the standard-issue 25 mm M242 Bushmaster Chain Gun with 720 rounds in store, two 7.62 mm MAG58 light Machine Guns with 1000 rounds. In addition for active concealment, the turret is given two banks of four 76mm Smoke Grenade dischargers.
ASLAV have been delivered in six variants: reconnaissance, personnel carrier, command, ambulance, surveillance, fitters and recovery. ASLAV-PC is a personnel carrier armed with a 12.7mm 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.
In the Australian Army, the ASLAV equips the Cavalry Squadrons of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. During their active life, ASLAV has been deployed in Timor Leste, Iraq and Afghanistan.
As planned, the ASLAV is to be replaced in Australian Army service by the Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle under LAND 400 Phase 2.
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