Left is the Deftech Av4 and in the right is the Saxon.
The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the Deftech AV4 was “Hey, I have seen that armoured car before”. Try as I might I cannot shake the feeling of déjà vu. When I surfed the web, I finally found what I was looking for. It was the British Saxon armoured car, introduced in the 60s. In Malaysia, the Saxon was in abundant during the Emergency, mostly pressed into service by the police. One pristine example is displayed at the PDRM Museum behind the Masjid Negara.
The thing that made me think of the Saxon and the AV4 was the driver cabin. Like the Saxon, the driver’s cab on the AV4 is located on the right hand side of the front end where the engine is located. Unlike the Saxon, the AV4 driver’s cab is more prominent, a tear-drop style which was probably inspired by the design on the Sibmas. The sloping armoured engine hood is certainly more aero-dynamic than the boxy Saxon. It uses an MTU turbo-diesel engine. The back cabin of the AV4 differs from the Saxon as small vision slots are provided on the sides. The AV4 maker should do away with the vision slots as other armoured car operators have shown that no one can make use of those small slots whenever on the move. A re-design of the AV4 cabin is also necessary as it is not sloped at all. Such un-sloped armour does not deflect bullets and other nasty objects very well even it is made out of thick metal slabs. Another thing Deftech need to change are the seats. Those nasty seats in the trial vehicle are a joke. Check out those seats in the Pandur 8×8. They even got seat belts!
The impression here were based on what I have seen when the AV4 was displayed at DSA 2006. The vehicle is believed to be undergoing trials at the moment. In its present form, I don’t believe it is ready yet for service, It is certainly better than the modified Ferrets still in service. The Army need to make sure that it suits its requirement and no strings should be used to influence it to purchase these armoured cars without proper trials in the field.