An ASLAV PC with 0.50 inch machine gun mounted on the commander's cupola. The stowage racks on the hull side are empty. The heightened rear hull can be clearly seen in this view.
As previously related, the ASLAV family comprises a number of variants, configured to perform different tasks. The second hull type of the ASLAV family is the Type 2, which has no turret but a higher rear superstructure, and is the basis for the Personnel Carrier, Command, Surveillance, Ambulance and Logistic variants. The third hull type is the Type 3 which although similar to the Type 2 is strengthened to allow the mounting of the Fitters and Recovery configurations. The Type 2 and Type 3 hulls are fitted with Mission Role Installation Kits (MRIK) which are non-permanent, so that several variants can be configured from the same hull type. These Australian developed kits can be installed and changed at the unit level.
Based generally on the Canadian Bison, this hull has no turret but rather a raised superstructure immediately behind the Crew Commander's cupola, which extends to the rear of the vehicle. The Commander's cupola is located immediately behind the driver's station, and is topped by a rotating ring mount. An hydraulically operated ramp-door is located in the rear hull of the vehicle, and two vision blocks are situated in the top portion of the ramp when in the raised/closed position. The vehicle has a single large forward hinged roof hatch on the roof towards the rear of the vehicle with two smaller hatches forward on the troop compartment roof. A variety of racks are mounted on the sides of the rear compartment to carry water cans, camouflage nets and poles and other stores. Two four-barrel 76mm Wegmann smoke grenade dischargers are carried on the upper hull front.
This vehicle has a crew of two and carries seven scout troopers. The armament is a 12.7mm machine gun at the Crew Commander's station. The weapons station is being developed to allow operation from behind armoured protection and it will be equipped with a day/night gun sight. The vehicle mass is 13 tons. Troop seating faces inwards along the hull sides, and a single troop seat facing the rear is in the centre of the vehicle behind the engine bulkhead. Stowage space for equipment is provided behind and underneath the troop seats. There is no provision for the troops to use their weapons from behind armour protection.
These were the most numerous ASLAV variant to be deployed with 2nd Cavalry Regiment in their recent operations in East Timor.
The MRIK which converts the Type 2 hull to the Command variant comprises an enhanced radio installation and radio masts, mapboards, stowage compartments, appropriate seating and an canvas annex which is erected when the vehicle is in a semi-permanent location. It has a crew of five. Armament is a MAG 58 7.62mm Machine Gun.
The surveillance vehicle currently carries the Army's RASIT ground surveillance radar and other observation equipment which was available on the M113A1 vehicles of 2nd Cavalry Regiment. A new suite of surveillance radar and other detectors is planned to be acquired in the future. The vehicle has a crew of four.
The ambulance MRIK comprises medical equipment and litter stations. It has a crew of three and can carry up to six patients or three stretcher cases. It is capable of fitting an Mobile Intensive Resuscitation Facility (MIRF). This vehicle is a well equipped medical facility which can serve the needs of a widely dispersed reconnaissance regiment.
The ASLAV -A with all hatches open. This is a new vehicle. The positioning of the red cross ambulance markings on the hull sides and the large roof hatch are easily identifiable.
Two Type two hull vehicles were converted to carry bulk combat supplies. These were designated as "concept demonstrators" to allow evaluation of a wheeled armoured resupply vehicle to undertake the tasks of the M548A1 Tracked Load Carrier previously used. A rear hull ramp-type structure was fixed in position and the vehicle interior adapted to carry bulk liquid containers for fuel. They can be identified from the rear, as there are no vision blocks and a single hinged door, recessed into the former ramp configuration. Two filling points at the rear of the hull allow filling of the containers. Otherwise the vehicle appears as a standard Type 2 hull.
The hull type is similar to the Type 2, with some structural modifications to mount the winch or crane, and to provide anchor points and winch cable entry. The upper heightened hull is not as long as that of the Type 2 vehicle, as there is a circular opening to allow the crane or winch kit to be installed. Only two smaller roof hatches are provided. The hull rear has two side opening doors rather than the ramp of the Type 2 variants, and each door has a vision block mounted towards the top. Armament of both variants is a MAG 58 7.62mm machine gun. Again, two banks of four barrel Wegmann smoke grenade dischargers are fitted, but in the case of the Type 3 hull they are located on each side of the hull immediately in front of the raised section. These maintenance support vehicles are crewed by personnel of the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME).
The Fitters MRIK provides a HIAB 650 Special hydraulic crane with a lift capacity of some 4000kg and which slews approximately 260º. Two hydraulically operated outriggers are located between the second and third roadwheel stations, and these provide support during lifting operations. On the right of the hull top, adjacent the crane, is located a stowage box carrying additional stabilisers and stabiliser plates, which can be attached to the rear towing lugs to provide further support during heavy lifting. The Fitters vehicle carries an oxy-acetylene kit, toolboxes, a multi-purpose lifting device for the crane as well as spare parts, enabling power pack and other major assemblies to be changed or repaired in the field.
The crane of the Fitters variant extended over the left side of the vehicle. The shorter hull top can be seen, as can the rear doors.
The recovery version mounts a Rotzler Treibmatic winch of 8300 kg capacity is fitted to the centre floor of the vehicle. A fairlead assembly is mounted on the hull rear to the left of the towing pintle to guide the winch rope. Two heavy duty, manually operated, earth spades are mounted on each side of the rear hull doors. These are similar in concept to those mounted on the M113A1 ARVL. A centre spade (sometimes known as a dozer blade but not used for dozing purposes) is carried on the hull roof and can be fitted between the earth spades to increase the resistance of vehicle when winching in soft soil. A vehicular towbar is carried on the left hull side, and there is internal stowage for shackles and other recovery equipment.
During Exercise Phoenix in September/October 1998, the Army's 1st Brigade trialled a number of new concepts and vehicles. Among those vehicles tested, and of direct relevance to the ASLAV story, were two units which would significantly enhance the capability of the reconnaissance regiment.
This was a complete DDGM LAV variant, mounting the Royal Ordnance breech loading 120mm mortar. It was painted in a pseudo Australian three colour camouflage but was mounted on a standard Canadian LAV hull. It provided an impressive display of its firepower.
An ASLAV hull was mated with a Delco turret mounting two TOW (Tube launched, Optically tracked, Wire guided) missile launchers. The configuration is similar to that of the turret on the Bradley Combat Vehicle. Again the capability of the TOW was demonstrated, giving a valuable insight into the usefulness of this well proven weapons system.
Whether or not these two variants will come into Australian Army service is still to be seen.
The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Shane Abdoo, well known for his modelling skills and his Australian AFV stencil sets. Shane has provided the author with several valuable photos of the trials vehicles during Exercise Phoenix, and graciously allowed their publication with the article.
|An ASLAV PC with 0.50 inch machine gun mounted on the commander's cupola. The stowage racks on the hull side are empty. The heightened rear hull can be clearly seen in this view. (aslavpc1.jpg)|
|An ASLAV PC from the rear, with ramp down. This vehicle is fully stowed, and also carries a spare wheel on the hull top. (aslavpc2.jpg)|
|The 0.50 inch machine gun mounted on the ASLAV PC. The spare wheel can be seen strapped to the torque tube of the hinge of the rear hatch. (aslavpc3.jpg)|
|The interior of a brand new ASLAV PC, with some of the seats still wrapped in plastic. The useful stowage area beneath the seats can be seen. Once in service, the interiors do not look like this for very long. (aslavpc4.jpg)|
|An ASLAV-C from the right front. Note the different configuration of stowage racks on the hull sides. (aslavc1.jpg)|
|The same ASLAV-C from the rear. The details of the Type 2 raised rear ramp can be seen, including the two vision blocks. (aslavc2.jpg)|
|An ASLAV-C showing the hull roof. The lack of stowage on this vehicle allows the details of the hatches of the Type 2 variant to be seen. (aslavc3.jpg)|
|The ASLAV -A with all hatches open. This again is a new vehicle. The positioning of the red cross ambulance markings on the hull sides and the large roof hatch are easily identifiable. (aslava1.jpg)|
|The same ambulance from the rear with the large roof hatch being held open by a soldier. The single combat door set into the ramp, complete with red cross marking, is shown in this view. (aslava2.jpg)|
|The interior of the ambulance variant, with the right side configured for a stretcher case and the left for sitting patients. (aslav3.jpg)|
|The same ASLAV-A after seeing some service with 2nd Cavalry Regiment. The red cross markings have been subdued, and the crew have decorated the trim vane on the front lower hull. Photo courtesy Shane Abdoo. (aslava4)|
|One of the concept demonstrator ASLAV-CSVs. Not readily distinguishable from the front, the nose up attitude of the vehicle when laden gives a clue to its configuration. (aslavcsv1.jpg)|
|A rear view of the same ASLAV-CSV. Although difficult to see, the bulk liquid filling points are located on either side of what used to be the ramp, right at the top. (aslavcsv2.jpg)|
|Another rear view of the ASLAV-CSV showing the revised rear hull arrangement. The third wheel station has some problems. The radio callsign is on a yellow plate hanging from the left rear jerrycan. (aslavcsv3.jpg)|
|The Type 3 ASLAV configured as a Fitters variant. The crane can just be seen stowed along the roof. (aslavf1.jpg)|
|This view of the Fitters variant enables the stowed crane to be seen, The jiob is extendable, and one of the side outriggers can be seen between the second and third wheel stations. (aslavf2.jpg)|
|The crane of the Fitters variant extended over the left side of the vehicle. The shorter hull top can be seen, as can the rear doors. (aslavf3.jpg)|
|The ASLAV-R version of the Type 3 hull. The stowage of the vehicular tow bar on the left side is just visible. (aslavr1.jpg)|
|The business end of the Recovery variant. The earth spades either side of the hull are in the stowed position, and the door arrangement of the Type 3 hull rear is easily seen. (aslavr2.jpg)|
|The ASLAV-R in position for a recovery operation. The spades are lowered and the winch cable is just protruding from the fairlead assembly to the left of the pintle hook. Only partial stowage is carried on this vehicle. (aslavr3.jpg)|
|The TOW Turret fitted to an ASLAV hull. The launcher boxes fold down when not in use. Photo courtesy Shane Abdoo. (aslavtow.jpg)|
|The 120mm Armoured Mortar System, named "Armor-Dillo". The many detailed differences of the ASLAV can be seen when comparing this Canadian hull to the Australian version. Photo courtesy Shane Abdoo. (lavmor1.jpg)|
|The 120mm Armoured Mortar System on the firing point during demonstrations in the Northern Territory. Note the lack of propellers on this vehicle. Photo courtesy Shane Abdoo. (lavmor2.jpg)|
Article Text and Photographs Copyright © 2000 by Paul D.
Page Created 25 June, 2000
Last Updated 05 June, 2001
Back to Anzac Steel Main Page
Back to Anzac Steel Armoured Vehicle Index