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.
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.
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.
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