The Philippine Department of Defense ordered the KAAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles in 2016 in a contract worth $55.5 million.
In recent years, South Korea has been trying to expand its presence in the Philippine arms market. For its part, the Philippines is also actively modernizing its armed forces with weapons acquisition projects for both the Air Force, Army, and Navy. For the Philippine Marines, an amphibious assault vehicle Acquisition Project was completed in 2019, consisting of eight KAAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles ordered from Korea’s Hanwha Defense. The old Philippine vehicles such as LVTP-5 and LVTH-6 are obsolete and need to be replaced to meet the purpose of assaulting and deployment Marines at sea.
The Philippine Department of Defense ordered the KAAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles in 2016 in a contract worth $55.5 million. The last batch of 4 was delivered in September 2019. The vehicle is a license-built copies of the BAE Systems AAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicle used by the US Marine Corps and other marine forces.
KAAV-7A1 has a length of 8.16m, a width of 3.27m, a height of 3.31m, and a combat weight of about 24 tons. The armored vehicle is designed in the shape of a boat for the ability to swim in the sea no less than the Russian BTR armored vehicles, even experts say that the swimming ability of the KAAV-7A1 is stronger than the BTR.
The fully welded hull protects the crew from small arms fire, shrapnel and explosive shells. To suppress residual penetration of shaped-charge ammunitions, the state-of-the-art enhanced applique armor (EAAK) has been added to the hull. Other improvements on KAAV-7A1 which add to vehicle survivability is the installation of auto fire suppression and NBC protection system.
The KAAV-7A1 is a highly maneuverable amphibious vehicle. They travel 13km/h in the water and 72km/h on the land enabling them to achieve effective ship to shore transporting operations in a variety of adverse sea/land conditions. In addition, the vehicle has the ability to negotiate 3-meter plunging surf, difficult beaches, and rough terrain.
The KAAV-7A1 is equipped with a new upgraded weapon station that is more reliable and provides more firepower than previous models. It mounts a K4 40mm grenade launcher, as well as a K6 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. The K4 can fire either KM383 high-explosive (HE) or K212 HE dual-purpose rounds at a cyclic rate of 250 rds/min to an effective range of 1,500 m. The K6 fires at a rate of 450–600 rds/min and has a maximum effective range of 1,830 m.
According to the manufacturer, the RCWS is stabilised and provided with both daytime and thermal infrared night cameras, and an eye-safe laser rangefinder with a maximum range of 5,500 m. The fire-control system provides an automatic target tracking function, as well as automatic ballistic calculation and fire correction functions.
These new amphibious assault vehicles represent a major resurgence for the Philippine Marines, and will be launched from PN’s existing fleet of floating assets, primarily the Tarlac-class landing platform docks that were designed to be compatible with AAVs.