AV8, Again

PETALING JAYA: It appears that despite signing the deal with FNSS for the chassis of the AV8, Deftech may be in danger of not making the deadline to produce a prototype by year end.
Why? The normal malady affecting our defence deal of course.The pulling and tugging.

If we thought that the design has been frozen (FNSS chassis, Denel 30 mm turret, Mercedes engines and communications/electronic Sapura Thales) apparently its not.
Denel, truth be told, is in danger of losing the turret deal. It appears that the Army and consequently, Deftech, is dithering over the turret for some of the AV8 variants, specifically, the Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
As for the reason is hilarious and at the same time defamatory (and could be totally untrue), I will refrain from putting it down here. Lets just say its not about the price issue.

In hot pursuit for the deal are FNSS and Italian Oto Melara. Both are offering their very own 30 mm turrets for the AV8. Oto Melara, through its Marketing and Sales regional manager Luca Lonoce, at a press conference on Apr 21, 2011, confirmed that it is in talk to sell its 30mm Hitfist turret, similar to the one fitted on the Rosomak (the Polish made AMV). Oto Melara is also offering the same turret fitted with ATGM launchers. The company is also offering the land-based version of the 76/62 SR gun to be integrated on the AV8, although it is “wishful thinking” according to Lonoce’s boss, Ulderigo Rossi.

Video of the 76/62mm SR Gun

The PC was held to announce Oto Melara collaboration with local company, Genting Etika Sdn Bhd to become the authorised service centre for Malaysia and the region. As for the SGPV/LCS project, Oto Melara is offering the 76mm gun with the Strales system (RF guidance and DART ammunition) a much cheaper option for CIWS application, according to Lonoce. As for the AV8 deal, according to Rossi, Genting Etika is in the lead to be its partner for the project.

FNSS, according to the buzz, is also hoping to persuade the Army to choose the Sharpshooter turret, already in use with the Adnans. It was the Sharpshooter turret that was fitted on the Pars when it was tested back in 2006.

There are other turret makers (the usual suspects) on the prowl for the same contract, I am told but Oto Melara and FNSS seemed to be leading the pack with Denel getting left behind fast. What next you may ask? Another engine to replace Mercedes and another company to replace Sapura Thales? Stranger things had happened before…..

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 1631 Articles
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28 Comments

  1. Wwell, the reason for choosing any item must be well grounded and well thought out.The criteria should be efficient, kill power and protection.The turret should be eltric controlled and using hand carnk in an mergency. It should preferably be a two man turret so that the commander can sit in the turet controlling the action.One version should use a 105 gun version of the turret for fire support and also for anti tank action.All turrents should be equiped with anti tank missiles,
    This is not the first time our armed forces are facing such delays. They better resolve the issues quick or else the image of the armed forces would be dented again in the eyes of the public

  2. I suspect only about 12 variants will be anti-tank. There is no cash for more and certainly no need to equip every turret/vehicle with AT missiles – no army does this.

    It will be interesting to find out if the Armour Directorate has a requirement for a fire support version armed with a 105mm to replace the 90’s on the Sibmas. With regards to the wrangling over who supplies the turret, why am I not surprised??

  3. You do know that the Sharpshooter will not be accepted by the Army because it is sucking big time on the Adnans. It is a real piece of junk.

    I don’t understand WTF we need an IFV version for. It has entirely to do with the confused mission the Armour lot have. They remain a glorified WWII recce organization.

    Simon

  4. I guess Oto Melara and Denel are the obvious choice, in term of logistics simplicity.

    Both have the ATGMs, 30mm cannon and 105mm AT guns turret versions that can be offered. Getting all three turrets from one supplier will allow purchase in bulk and easing future maintenance.

    To be honest, I prefer the Denel over Oto Melara because the later version of turret are expensive. The image of INGWE ATGMs and Rooikat 105mm turrets kind of impress me.

    Sure Oto Melara turrets are highly reputable to be reliable and accurate, but cost must be put into account.

    If only the FNSS has all three version of turrets. We could have just went straight to them for everything and everything will much simpler and cheaper for us.

  5. The entire AV8 program should be cancelled and a new program started! For starters, the cost of developing the Pars 8×8 for Malaysia is too expensive. Now a delay, coupled with final configuration problems! The Malaysian army is in dire need of replacing its 186 SIBMAS, 459 Condor and other LAVs. To embark on an inflated project for just 257 vehicles that will be late in delivery is foolish! The Ministry of Defence should back up and try again. Either a readily available 8×8 already on the market, such as the Patria AMV, Piranha, Pandur, etc. should be procured right away, direct from the manufacturs established production lines(modification can take place later); or the MoD should invest in a dedicated long-term project to field a large number (500+) of an advanced family of 6×6 and 8×8 vehicles in cooperation with others (Iveco’s VBTP-MR and SuperAV, Hyundai Rotem’s KW1 and KW2, etc.); or best of all the MoD should purchase a smaller number of 8x8s for immediate use, in order to buy time for a long-term project. I am not convinced that the AV8 program is the best vehicle to meet Malaysia’s needs. I think that more than likely the AV8 program like so many others, is just another example of cronyism, favorites and patronage.

  6. IMHO, we have the sentiment of perasan bagus. We are still a developing country, with developing country income but with first world country taste and wants, thus we try to spend like we are a developed country (of which quite a number of them are on the verge of bankruptcy) thus thats where the deficit comes, off course with the azali problem of corruption.

    If you cant afford a mercedes c class, a mitsubishi will do at least thats my thinking

    Reply
    The problem with us is that we are always paying for a Mercedes but always end up getting a Mitsubishi instead

  7. Someone should do a search at the ROC and find who the directors of Genting Etika are.

    Would be interesting to find out what the army wants, Denel, OM or the Sharpshooter.

    Reply
    The buzz is OM but nothing has been finalised.

  8. Yes i agree .Why must we buy new ones? Cant we refurbish all the old armoured vehicles we have.If the armour is not thick enough then uparmour them and put on reactive armour too. Our local companies all have experise to refurbish and make these old vehicles as good as new. If they say we cant, then our industrilization and engineering faculties are all failures.Thats a cheaper and better option. The engines can now also all be changed to more modern diesel ones too that can produce more torque and upgared the fire control system.The power to be should watch the channel 555 program-the greatest tank battles to learn and check what modern armoured vehicles and tank should have. An interesting segment shows how the American bradleys at poit balnk range used their puny 35mm guns to kill tanks while at longer ranges uses its two integrated anti-tank missiles until they ran out of missiles.

  9. YM Lee, I do get the point you’re trying to make but refurbishing 40 or 30 year old vehicles may not be the right move. Assuming our local companies can ”up-armour” them, who’s to say the engines and transmission will take the extra weight? And they are also mobility issues with 4×4 vehicles.

    P.S. MMC upgraded a prototype V-150 in 1994 with a diesel and auto transmission, before that it did the same for our Ferrets.

    Reply
    MMC Defence has merged with Deftech following Syed Mohktar purchase of DRB Hicom during Pak Lah time. I doubt Deftech will want to do refurbirshing of old APCs when they have AV8, Pendekar, Adnans and Handalan.

  10. Ym Lee, Engineering is more than just plus and minus as you seen in a auto tune. Protection is not just anti penetration, structural rigidity and inertia resistance are equally important. And NO, cannot self produce a modern multi-wheel battlefield certified platform is not a shame. Normal AWD is not comparable to the specifically design power train that can survive destructive impact. Condor with its commercial grade truck chassis will lose its mobility if it is being target at its wheels. A lost balance sitting duck is not much better than a penetrated vehicle. The question now is, whether to go for track version with more combat effectiveness or wheels version for more mobility. Personally I do understand and agreed with MA’s choice.

  11. I agree, the Sibmas and Condor frame is just too old and not suitable for any upgrade anymore. Afterall the body frame do have a life span. 30-40 years of service has worn them out. Furthermore, sometimes upgrading could be a lot most costlier and complex than buying new ones.

    The question is getting the best replacement vehicles at the right price and with the right gear. I am not against making the AV8 APCs in country, but the price is just mind boggling considering we also have other requirements to be made; SPHs, body armors, UAVs and the list goes on….

  12. Errr. I would hardly consider history channel to be a reliable or even accurate source of information.
    Anyway, back to the AV8, why in god’s name do we need ATGMs on the turrets? The Bradley twin TOW launcher was implemented to deal with the horde of Soviet tanks expected to debouch through the Fulda Gap based on very specific and thoroughly discredited attrition modelling algorithms.
    SACLOS missiles like TOW/Ingwe/Toophan/Bakhtiar Shikan are very inefficient and clunky compared to more modern ‘loft attack’ solutions like Javelin and Spike. The SACLOS missiles are large, hard to load and require constant control from launch to impact.
    In 2011, they are a rather poor investment at best.
    We still have not answered what role the Armor Regiments play and consequently what is actually suitable for these roles. It is all handwavium and me tooism.
    We know in reality, despite protestations to the contrary that armor provides a mech or at least motor extension to infantry units as well as fire support.
    Ergo, the first two variants should be a high-capacity troop APC, with a Overhead Weapons System like the Kongsberg Protecta or Saab Lemur and a Fire support variant capable for direct fire HE.
    90mm Cockerills are a little on the crappy side. Higher pressure 90mm is an option as is the 105mm stuff, including the Cockerill DF/IDF capable turret. An interesting alternative is the Bachka-U turret with the 2A70 100mm gun launcher and 2A72 autocannon.

    The 2-man turret is neither fish nor fowl and going away.

    Reply
    The RWS is an option for the APC variant, I am told but since the Oto Melara people has officially said they are in talks with the 30mm turret (and they also have a 30mm turret with ATGM launcher) my take is that the APC-variamt will have a pintle mounted 50 calibre or 7.62mm gun and not a RWS. Since OM got a RWS called the HitRole, they would have offered it for the AV8 programme. For that matter if the FS role was an option, OM will certainly have offered its 120mm turret for it.

  13. There are no non-SACLOS missiles that are fitted to the turrets of AFV’s, as the army has specified a need for a turret mounted missile there really is no choice but a non-SACLOS is there?? I’m assuming the Ingwe is still wire-guided.

    Legacy SACLOS missiles by virtue of being wire guided and having the need to be steered all the way to target are not as useful as non-SACLOS missiles like the Javelin but to describe them as ‘inefficient’ is a gross exaggeration.
    Other armies that did not face the prospect of massed Soviet armour pouring through the Fulda Gap have also turret mounted missiles.
    The question we should be asking is whether due to terrain constraints and thick foliage, the full range of a medium range missile, whether mounted to a turret or from a pedestal mount like the Bakhtar Shikan, can be utilised to advantage.

    Reply
    The Army has been very evasive on the exact requirements for the AV8 either by design or the lack of a requirement. But it has been reported before that they will be 12 variants of the AV8 to be produced. During DSA, Denel had put up the 30mm turret that was supposed to be fitted on the vehicle and the representatives were not shy of telling reporters that a similar turret with two ATGM launchers was also available, with Ingwe missiles.
    Fire and Forget ATGM have only been introduced recently as such most nations still rely on SACLOS missiles.

    India, for example, has only recently call for RFP for FF ATGM. Only Rafael responded as only the Spike met the requirement while the Javelin was offered earlier by the US FMS.
    Now both are competing for the requirement.
    Yes Simon maybe exaggerating SACLOS deficiencies but since new technologies are available why should we bother with the old technologies.
    A Protector RWS turret with a Javelin launcher is available and should be the one fitted to almost all of the Av8 variants apart from the Medevac version of course.

  14. MeesterT, Firepower is more than caliber, rate of fire, types of target, ammunition volume, system integration, accessibility etc are all important factors. For our budget, operation profile (APC/Responsive fire suppression), 30mm is the way to go. FYI, 9M133 and RPG-29. On other hand top attack variant does face difficulty sometimes hitting the right target.

  15. at PLUS Highway, i think the longest straight stretch is about 1.5km, other than that most will have a bengkok corner somewhere. I may be wrong but the heavy ATGM were bought taking into consideration potential invader may make use of our good highway system to drove direct to KL with heavy armoured IFV or tanks leading the pack. So not necessarily they will go march to the hutan, as such the SACLOS ATGM may have its use afterall although may not be as efficient. But if we can get a non wire guided much better…

    Reply
    I speculated on the use of the PLUS highway as a conduit for an attack on Malaysia when reviewing Tom Huxley book Defending Singapore several years back. Huxley wrote back asking for compensation for infringing his copyright, Since we only borrowed a couple of lines from his book we ignore the letter and he never wrote back. Yes an armoured drive through the PLUS highway (ala Thunder Run back in 2003 in Iraq) will be a big distraction to defenders (for both sides I might add) but it must done together with flank attacks on both sides of the coast (together with a threatened amphibious assault on both coasts) to be a real distraction other wise it will be easily blunted but stranger things had happened before…..

    On the SACLOS issue as regard to Malaysia at least beggars cannot be choosers…

  16. Marhalim, interesting…… Didn’t know that Huxley was that kind of a person. The decent thing would have been to send a warning letter not one asking for compensation!! You wrote about PLUS in the Malay Mail?

    Logic will dictate that our national road network will be a key part of any plan to attack Malaysia. I’m of the opinion that the increased urbanisation of the country these past few decades has meant that our terrain is more conducive than ever for the successful employment of MBT’s and IFV’s. you mentioned that the army decided that anything exceeding 50 tonnes cannot be operated effectively in our terrain. Yet, if the Leo 2 can’t be operated down south, I doubt if the Sings would have bought it because as we all know, their arms buys, as part of their forward defence doctrine, are driven largely at us and to a lesser extent Indonesia.

    With regards to SACLOS or non-SACLOS, given a choice I would rather have Javelin or Spike any day over Eryx. the Brits paid 20,000 pounds for each Javelin. Given the choice, I’d rather have 50 Eryx or Shikans rather than 20 Javelins! If there’s anything to be learnt from the Hezbollah experience in 2006, apart from knowing and exploiting the terrain, is that one tends to run out of missiles very fast.

    With regards to a 105mm gun on the AV8, I can’t really see the value of it, apart from taking out bunkers and blowing holes in walls. The AV8 is not intended to come into contact with heavy armour, and what armour it does come into contact with should be easily defeated by 25 or 30mm sabot.

    Reply
    Yes the Singapore attack scenario was published in the Malay Mail although I am not sure whether the Leo 2s were procured for that kind of operations.

    It isn’t the rapid urbanisation, Azlan, its the terrain. Even the Japs planned their attack back in 1941 on the West coast as the roads were already up to scratch back then.
    As for the Javelin yes its expensive but since the AV8 already cot us a bomb it deserved to be fitted with the best ATGM technology available. The SACLOS missiles should be used on any 4X4 vehicles we used as gun trucks.

  17. Marhalim, agreed about the terrain which is the most important element. But with increased urbanisation, there are more roads,towns,housing estates, etc, all areas where AFV’s can operate. Which will also mean that a large part of a future conflict will also be fought in urban areas, which begs the question of how much urban training do our infanty battalions get?

  18. What should be the role of the Armored Regiment? Excluding the Tank Regiment, I say their role should be recce, direct fire support, anti-armor and convoy/ route security.

    I also think that Pars AV-8 is too expensive and too big.

    Reply
    By the number they are buying it would seemed that it will fit into one brigade or several brigades if they broke it up into battalion size unit. but to place them into infantry brigades, which we have many meant that the reconnaissance cannot be very far ahead of the infantry units otherwise they will find themselves doing the attacking and defending themselves! To be honest I am not purview to their exact deployment plans but for ISR role, it will be much better for the Infantry brigades to be using battle field UAVs instead of the AV8s….

  19. Ree,

    It indeed is big but that is now the yardstick. Anything smaller will not have the same mobility and armoured protection levels. Despite their size, all 6×6’s and 8×8’s are still cramped inside.

  20. Hi Marhalim,

    UAVs are good, but ultimately you will still need boots on the ground to confirm what the UAV sees and find what the UAV miss. On ISR, there is a distinction between surveillance, which is a passive form of info gathering, and recce, which is more active and may involve fighting.

    The armoured regiment should be a self contained combined arms team, having its own dis mounted infantry, mortars, anti-tank weapons and perhaps even UAVs as well.

    Organizationally, the regiment should be rather similar to a mech infantry battalion, but with fewer dismounted infantry and more firepower. Being wheel based, in times of war it could deploy quickly on roads to recce and screen ahead of the infantry brigades. Being self contained, the regiment would be able to operate at a good distance from the infantry brigades and be able to sustain independent operations, at least for a short while.

    Other than recce, the regiment would also be escorting convoys and patrolling and checkpointing roads esp during LIC/OOTW.

    So that is my short answer to what a (non tank) Armoured Regiment role should be doing.

    Reply
    Yes the combined brigade is the way for the future of the Army

  21. Azlan,

    Bigger does not mean better mobility or better armor. The baseline armor of PARS/AV-8 is level 2 STANAG 4569. Same as the much smaller MOWAG Eagle IV (just an example, I am not recommending Eagle IV to replace PARS).

    Cramped or not is dependant on what and how many people you put inside a vehicle.

    Reply
    Cramped is also relative. Anyone who has been on the Condor and Adnan can attest to that. The biggest cabin we have so far is the Sibmas but its no fun going around in a vehicle which carry 90mm rounds in open racks

  22. Regarding Malaysia’s armor needs… How about the fielding of a “common base platform” such as the ASCOD or CV90? The CV90, for example, can be fitted with a RUAG 120mm turret (light tank), an artillery turret (like Germany’s Armored Gun Module (AGM)) (SP artillery), as is with 40mm or 30mm turret(IFV), modified for use as APC, ambulance and so on. And they both weigh far less than 50 tons. As for the wheels, see my previous post.

    Reply
    The CV90 was among the entries for the MBT requirement but as every one knows it was not a “real” MBT. So nothing come out of it. I had also argued for the same vehicle in my earlier posts but its no go apparently. I prefer wheels actually mostly due to our lack of funds. With tracked vehicles, we need tank transporters each costing up to RM1 million each or more.

  23. So, basically we are having a problem deciding whether we need an armored pimped out school bus, or a pimped out stretched light tank?

    Reply
    And what to do with it…

  24. Allow me to propose an idea regarding the possible turret for our AV8 programme. I am put under the impression that the army need a turret that can fits a standard 30 mm gun. If that is true, then I suggest that we should reject all existing offers and move on to a new calibre of weapon.

    The minimum caliber being considered for most new IFV/AFV developments is 30mm. Thus we can understand why the army or the government chose the same path. The 30 mm gun is mostly influenced by US requirement to change from 20 and 25 mm to 30 mm. Many country adopt similar approach, but Uncle Sam may lead us astray.

    Some argued that the smaller 30 x 173 mm caliber (for example in comparison to the Bofors 40 mm gun mounted on the CV9040) offers some advantages because of a much lower ammunition size and weight, and the large number of rounds ready to fire, e.g. the CV9040 offers only 24 shots per magazine (although it carries 200 round in total). But it should be noted that by using larger ammunition, fewer rounds are needed to achieve the same destructive level of smaller ammunition.

    We have to understand that turrets of IFV/AFVs have two principal uses: one is to engage their equivalents, for which they need guns powerful enough to penetrate their armour when using AP ammunition, while the other is to engage softer targets such as unarmoured/lightly vehicles, buildings and other cover, and troops, using HE/ABM with time fuse. Larger HE rounds ensure greater effectiveness to destroy walls, thin bunker etc while using ABM rounds, the abilities to cover more ground and do more damage to hiding troops can be effectively achieve by using larger gun.

    We can see that the weight of existing IFV/AFVs have been steadily increasing, mainly to add protection, such as in upgrade programmes of M2 Bradley, the Warrior, the CV90, the Marder etc. We have to realized that many modern IFVs include minimum requirement for ballistic protection against 30 mm over frontal arc (at range of 300-1000m). Even more, there are several developments of applique armours that can provides all around protection against 30 mm rounds such as the MEXAS.

    Even in current combat scenario, the existing 30 mm gun ability to destroy enemy’s IFV/APV is questionable. Using a 30 mm gun with APFSDS, we cannot destroy most of the current IFV frontal arc unless we move close enough to the target. Another way is to sneak around the rear and flank of the enemy’s IFV and shoot them from distance.

    This strategy depends heavily in our ability to outmaneuver the enemy (this ability becomes more restricted in urban areas and jungles) and putting to much hope that our AV8s do not get kill first in the process. If we have to depend on ATGM to destroy enemy’s IFV, we cannot sustain the war for a long period, especially if the enemy have large number of armoured vehicles. With the introduction of active protection system in the future, further dependence on gun to solely destroy IFV/AFV could increase dramatically.

    Thus, with the emergence of well-protected IFV/AFV against 30 mm rounds nowadays, it is obvious that in order for our AV8 to remain relevant in the next 15-20 years and gain an upper hand in today combat situation, we should consider more powerful AP ammunition to achieve reliable penetration. The use of a larger, say for example a 35 or 40mm gun should ensure higher kill probability over all-known targets at a greater range, giving our army a significant advantage.

    Due to these factors, Russia has long shows favouritism towards higher firepower than their western adversaries. It can be clearly seen in many of their military assets from assault rifles, armoured vehicles, tanks and so on. In BMP-3 case, they rejected the idea of using 30 mm cannon with 2 ATGMs, instead, they opted for a 100 mm gun capable of launching 8 (or more) ATGM along with 30-40 ordinary tank rounds as primary armament.

    Even though the 30 mm gun are extensively use around the world such as SAF’s Bionix II, there are few countries that started to show great interests in larger caliber of weapon for their IFV/AFV programmes. Such examples can be found in Sweden’s CV90, Korean K21 as well as possibly in Indian Abhay with Bofors 40 mm caliber, the Franco-British 40mm Case Telescopic Armament System in FRES SV, ASCOD II SV and Warrior upgrade programmes, Denmark’s and Netherlands CV90 with Oerlikon KDE 35 mm caliber.

    As for our AV8, I think Oerlikon 35 mm round should be selected over Bofors 40 mm round since it provide advantages in the form of being smaller and lighter, allowing significant increase of rounds that can be carried in combat configuration, while providing improved penetration capability than standard 30 mm rounds (30×173 mm). Other type of rounds like GD Super 40 (40×180 mm) and CTAI CTAS (40×255 mm) are still not in active service.

    As for the gun, Bushmaster III would be preferable, since it is derived from the combat proven Bushmaster II and has the potential to be upgraded to a caliber of 50 mm, which involves changing the barrel and a few key parts, to use the so called Super 50 cartridge. It gives us the capability to upgrade the gun with minimum cost, thus ensuring that our AV8s can regain upper hand in the future combat.

    For the turret itself, I recommend we select the GM IFV-35. My initial study shows that the IFV-35 is roughly comparable with the OT Hitfist-30, has extra weight of 1000 kg compare to Hitfist, has optional ability to fire 2 ATGMs with integrated fire control and theoretically should be able to fit nicely in our AV8 (GM shown the feasibility of IFV-35 to be fitted onto LAV, which is roughly comparable if not inferior to our AV8 design).

    I hope that the government would consider to use at least 35 mm gun if not larger caliber seriously. We should learn from our Korean IFVs (known as MIFV), fitted with just 0.5 caliber machine gun as primary armament, only to realize that the weapon is ineffective to combat other IFV/APVs and decided to installed a few 40 mm grenade launchers for operation in Bosnia, and even tested 30 mm Mauser cannon. Even though the purchase was directly made to support operation in Bosnia, still 0.5 caliber is outdated for IFV operation even by that time standard. Thus, in the AV8 programme, if we should opt a larger, at least 35 mm gun, we can avoid premature weapon upgrade.

    Aye!

    Reply
    In the most likely combat scenario, the enemy IFVs will be accompanied by MBTs while our AV8, even if upgunned, will be without one.

  25. Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan,
    Mengapalah berkelahi over small matter? If RWS from Oto-Melara is used, the the ATGM must be fitted with Spike ATGM from Israel. Then we got a problem. We can’t buy from Israel. Then buy what?
    I also don’t know. Leave it to the army to decide.
    Thank you.

  26. Hence, the reason why LCT-30 is selected, most probably AV-8 will be integrated with Ingwe ATGM. Malaysians love Israeli’s technology, but due to certain political reason we don’t buy the tech directly from them, thus the need to source it from closed Israeli’s allies.

    Reply
    There will be two version, one with the ATGM launcher and one without it.
    Actually its not about getting an Israeli turret, they could also choose to buy the same turret used by the Bradley which is manufactured by United Defense, the company that own FNSS. FNSS has an Israeli designed RWS however.

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