DSA 2012 Special

PETALING JAYA: I have written on various occasions on the AV8 and it is obvious that I am not so keen about the programme. The main reason for my reticence is mainly on the cost of the programme: RM7.65 billion for 257 vehicles and not on the procurement itself. Especially considering our limited defence budget.

Yes, some had commented that I was comparing oranges and apples when I stated that the RM29 million cost per vehicle as excessive. These people could be correct of course, the Strykers and Boxers of the world could be more expensive that our own AV8. It must be said however the operators of the Strykers and Boxers operate with annual budgets in excess of RM300 billion annually whereas our soldiers get less than RM30 billion for five years for procurement funding!

Anyways, here are some update on the programme, which is already behind schedule by some 12 months. Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in an interview with Asian Defence Journal ahead of DSA 2012 said:

“The AV8 programme is on track and now in the final phase of the vehicle design review. We have
decided for the on-board systems and weapons to be used in the AV8 system. The sealed pattern
of the vehicle is expected to be produced in September 2012 for the Infantry Fighting Vehicle
(IFV) 25mm (one man turret) variant and in May 2013 for the Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV)
30mm (two men turret
)”

Yes, its correct, the Army will operate two types of the AV8, an IFV and AFV – fitted with two different turrets, guns and all the associated stuff! I checked by my records and it appears that the IFV was always designed to be equipped with the one man turret (most likely the Sharpshooter turret as fitted on the Adnan AFV).

I did not place too much emphasis on this point much earlier as I was under the impression cooler heads would prevailed and a remote weapon station (like the Kongsberg Protector) would be chosen for the IFV. Ironically when I wrote about the great last minute battle to dethrone the Denel turret for the AFV, I also said that the Sharpshooter turret was in the mix while the RWS had been finalised for IFV.

AV8 with Sharpshooter turret

Not the first time, I was dead wrong, the Sharpshooter turret was chosen for the IFV instead of the RWS. The Denel LCT 30 two-man turret was selected for the AFVs.It was the Army that decided the two variants would have different turrets, I am told, as the IFVs are supposed to be part of a mechanised regiment while the AFVs are to be part of the Armour Regiment.

LCT30
The Denel LCT30 turret for the AV8, the Malaysian 8X8 ACV. It is fitted with a 30mm gun and a co-axial gun. The huge spent 30mm cartridge will be ejected from an opening next to the gun barrel. One Ingwe box missile launchers can also be fitted to each side of the turret.

I guess that it is the best way to solve the logistical and training issues for the two variants of the AV8s. Of course it would be simpler if they have a single turret only through-out the AV8 fleet with the RWS as the other option.

Yes a one-man turret will not consumed too much space of an IFV but if extra room is really needed a remote weapon station would be much better than a 25mm gun turret. If extra firepower is needed the same RWS could be fitted with a Javelin launcher which can kill an MBT unlike a 25mm or 30mm gun.

For comparison, the Stryker has two turrets only, one a RWS turret and the Mobile Gun System turret. The rest used pintle-mounted machine-guns or AGL while the Boxers are only equipped with RWS.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 1162 Articles
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17 Comments

  1. The ‘term’ commonality is something we perhaps have yet to grasp. While I would understand the logic of wanting a 30mm gun – there were reports some years ago that the army was interested in a stretch version of the Adanan to be fitted with a 30mm gun – the decision to have both a 30mm and a 25mm turret for the AV8 is IMO ludicrous, as it only increases our logistics footprint.

    If indeed there is a anti-tank version of the AV8 with the Ingwe, this would lead to 2 medium range missiles in service – the Ingwe and the Bahthar Shikan. Wouldn’t an AA version of the AV8 with a stabilised mount for 4 MANPADS be more useful than an anti-tank version? And perhaps the recce/observation version of the AV8, for which the Sagem Vingtaqs II has already been ordered, will be fitted with an OWS? And I wonder how many variants will be fitted with the Thales VSys-net BMS?

  2. I generelly agree with most of your statements, but I do not with your proposal that a RWS with a missile can replace a full-size autocannon. The autocannon is not for fighting tanks, it is mainly to provide heavy fire support where infantry small arms are useless (e.g. enemy bunkers/fortified positions/APC’s). While a missile can of course also do that, it is very expensive and can only be taken into battle in very limited numbers. One or two missiles per vehicle is not enough for sustained fire support. And a .50cal machine gun on a RWS is also often not enough against such targets. Thus, in my eyes, even though there are many wrongs in the AV-8 story, the decision for an autocannon is a right one.

    Reply
    I have no problem with the auto-cannon but two turrets? Just pick onelah (I prefer the two man turret).

  3. At 257 units we better buy from China. Maybe we should work on developing parts to suit our need since we have different terrain from them. I am sure China have some advance electronic by now.

  4. I am in total agreement with Marhalim and Azlan on this one. It is crazy to have too many variants, especially turrets! It’s almost like there is actually an effort underway to purposely get things wrong across the entire military. Every procurement is a lesson in what NOT to do. I’ll comment more the AV8 and variants later…

  5. @Haredim

    Nice video very rare sight seeing that amount of firepower on the field. I like the Ukrainian 30mm turret because of its new ZTM-1 cannon that packs a whole lot of punching power.

    The Sharpshooter turret is a temporary solution it would be better to just phase them out its 25mm peanut gun is undersized weak. Its time to move on. Turkish Aselsan company also has the new 30mm CLAWs turret that would have been fine but it wasn’t available at that time. But the thought of dealing with Denel is just too good to be true now. If MY can have access to its FCS with tech transfer of LCT30 then its a better deal to work with South Africa.

  6. IMO AV8 different armaments in the end will allow DEFTECH to “create” multiple sub-contractors @ subsidiaries of their own to get these items installed,maintained and repaired…..maybe commonality is not a term DEFTECH favors, only ROJAK

  7. Could it be the case that internal doctrine require that a certain number (eg. X) of the AV8s be armed with auto-cannons but the Army does not have adequate funds for all X vehicles to be fitted witb 30mm guns so they have to make do with 25mm (I assume cheaper) guns as well? Equipping these X vehicles with25 mm guns also not ideal since greater firepower is preferred? But I agree on the logistic nightmare problem. But the 25mm gun would be the same as that fitted on ACV 300 right?

    Reply
    If they did not have enough money it would have been cheaper to go for the 25mm cannon. With DU ammo, a 25mm cannon can do wonders although I dont think we have access to it. Yes same turret as the Adnan. Someone told me since the Army had experience with the Condors and Sibmas they should not have problems with using two turrets! That’s one way of looking at it…

  8. Student,

    A possibility is that the reason the IFVs will be fitted with a 25mm is because of the bit of extra space that will be available due a smaller gun and smaller ammo compared to the 30mm. I doubt if there’s is a big difference between the price of a 25mm Bushmaster and the 30mm gun. And not to forget the Condors and Stormers have a 20mm armed variant. Whilst the AV8 is meant to replace the Condor, I doubt if the army has any plans to replace the Stormers anytime soon, so that means we’ll still have to stock 20mm ammo for the 12 Stormers that are armed with 20mm Oerlikons. As far as doctrine goes – has the Armour and Infantry Directorate actually drawned up a doctrine for the employment of armoured vehicles in an urban or semi urban terrain? Anyone at Army HQ actually studied urban operations counducted with armour, such as in Beirut, Grozny and Baghdad?

  9. 12 variants of the AV8 to be produced
    ☑ 30mm two-man turret
    ☑ 25mm one-man turret
    ☑ 7.52mm remote control weapon system(RCWS)
    ☑ 120mm mortar
    ☑ anti tank guided missile(ATGW)two-man turret
    ☑ surveillance
    ☑ signal
    ☑ command
    ☑ fitter
    ☑ recovery
    ☑ ambulance
    ☑ armoured engineer nuclear, biological, and chemical reconnaissance vehicle(AENBCRV)

    Reply
    The RWS will be fitted on variants without turrets excluding the ambulance vehicle

  10. Regarding AV8 variants:

    It is absolutely ridiculous to have so many variants on the same vehicle. Considering the numbers that will be procured (257 by all accounts), it will be a logistical and operational nightmare; most variants will be few in number. I mean, how many NBC variants does the army need? And how effective will a few ATGM vehicles be?. By comparison, the US Army operates 3000+ Strykers, with another 500+ on order, with only 10 variants total. Of course, we are not the US Army and should not seek to emulate it, but we should draw lessons from it. Singapore’s Terrex only comes in 6-8 variants, depending on how you analyze it. In addition, consider the vehicles being replaced: 186 SIBMAS and 459 Condor. Neither has so many variants.

    The entire programme is lacking proper direction and focus. Information is poor and what little we do know all seems to point as nimitz points out to ROJAK interest and priorities. Of course, if I had my way this programme would be cancelled and better 8×8 would replace it…

    But just for the sake of discussion my recommendations are for 8 AV8 variants:

    – AFV/ICV/IFV (whatever you want to call it) armed with a 30mm.

    – APC armed with an RWS.

    – RSTA vehicle (recon, surveillance, target acquistion) armed with an RWS and fitted with advanced comms, intel and sensors.

    – C4I vehicle armed with an RWS and fitted with advanced comms, intel and sensors.

    – Ambulance/Medical vehicle.

    – Engineer vehicle armed with an RWS and fitted with maintenance, repair and recovery equipment.

    – Cargo/Fuel vehicle armed with an RWS and fitted with a quick loading/unloading system for both cargo and fuel.

    – Amphibious assault version armed with a 30mm two man turret.

    I would leave the ATGMs and mortars to the Adnans (at least for now). If we are planning on procuring another 250+ AV8s, then I would add an ATGM vehicle and a mortar carrier…

    Of course, this is all just for discussion… The real power lies in others’ hands… And they always seem to mess it up!

  11. Azlan makes a good point on doctrine. After all, what’s the purpose of having anything if it will not be put to the best use. Will the AV8 be another white elephant? Nice to look at on parade but not of much use or value?

    Also, good point on the absurdity of 2 ATGMs. A mobile air defence vehicle would be a much better choice.

  12. Some information on Vingtaqs II and the RWS Protector (M151):

    http://www.vinghog.no/vinghog/products/vehicle-systems/vingtaqs-ii/

    http://www.vinghog.no/vinghog/products/rws/

    http://www.kongsberg.com/en/kps/products/remoteweaponstation/protectorm151/

    Note that Vingtaqs II has already been integrated on the CV90 (one of my favorites) and the Protector M151 is in use on a wide variety of vehicles (Archer artillery system, Patria AMVs, Piranhas, Stykers, even an upgraded variant of the M1A2 Abrams). Good systems.

    Reply
    It appears that the RWS has not been selected although it supposed to be fitted to all the other variants without a turret. I am told the Turks had offered a RWS which had Israeli origins and therefore they looking for another version from a crowded market. The Protector has the most in service by virtue of being chosen by the US military and with the most optional extras. What ever RWS they choose the gun will be the FN MAG as does the co-axial on the turrets.

  13. i barely agree with any of you except regarding the 2 type of turret….

    they should instead propose all 30mm turret and i agree with daviddcm, a sustained fire support are more important.

    that being said could it be the 25,, turret have commonality with the adnan, which if these AV8 25mm fight alongside the Adnan, the organic workshop have a common turret to fix and service?

    Reply
    You could be right, they may yet pair the Adnans with the IFV AV8s, at least they will have the same turrets and ammunition!

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