MAV is also known by the nickname ZAHA. In theory, the vehicle would work alongside the TCG Anadolu in an amphibious assault role.
With the commissioning of the largest surface warship, the TCG Anadolu, the Turkish Navy has received the first batch of the latest Marine Assault Vehicles (MAV). It was developed by FNSS to meet the requirements of the Turkish Navy, and was officially launched in May 2019 at the International Defense Exhibition held in Istanbul, Turkey.
MAV is also known by the nickname ZAHA. In theory, the vehicle would work alongside the TCG Anadolu in an amphibious assault role. During the amphibious assault phase of an operation, these vehicles are launched from Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) and rapidly cover the distance between the vessel and shore, allowing forces to land under protection and with minimum delay. Once on land, these vehicles can continue taking part in operations side-by-side with other armored vehicles.
Functionally, the ZAHA is similar to the US AAV7, with similar dimensions and specifications to the US combat vehicle. The Turkish Navy has ordered 23 amphibious APCs. Interestingly Turkey never operated such class of vehicles before. The vehicle is being offered for export customers. PT Pindad signed an agreement on the production of ZAHA in Indonesia.
Similar to the American AAV7, the Zaha is built on a tracked chassis and a water-resistant hull with the driver position located at the front left side of the hull and a commander’s hatch just behind. The vehicle has a crew of three and can carry up to 21 infantrymen. Soldiers enter and exit through a hydraulic ramp at the rear of the hull. In case of failure, a manual door is integrated into the hydraulic ramp.
Zaha provides protection against small arms fire and shrapnel. To increase the level of protection, a modular armor has been developed. The vehicle offers some degree of protection against landmines and improvised explosive devices.
For self-defense, the APC version is fitted with the CAKA remotely operated weapon station mounted on the top of the hull which can be armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. The turret features a thermal sighting system to conduct firing operations day and night. Two banks of four smoke grenade dischargers are mounted on the roof of the hull at the back of the turret.
At the heart of the Zaha is a 500hp diesel engine placed at the front, coupled with an automatic transmission. The vehicle can reach a maximum road speed of up to 70 km/h, a range of 500 km. The torsion bar suspension on each side consists of six road wheels, three track return rollers, one idler at the rear, and the drive sprocket at the rear. As an amphibious vehicle, Zaha moves on the water with two water jets located in the back, with a maximum speed of 13 km/h.
Zaha has all the features and capabilities of both a military land vehicle and a military marine vessel by balancing the land and sea requirements. Zaha is a breakthrough of the Turkish military industry. And along with TCG Anadolu, Zaha will be the new steel punch of this country’s Navy.