The ASLAV is a variant of General Dynamics Land Systems’ LAV-II/LAV-25 wheeled armored vehicles, which are in use by the US Marines, Canadian military and other customers. GD MOWAG markets a similar vehicle as the Piranha I/II. The first batch were bought in 1992 from GDLS Canada, and a total of 257 vehicles were eventually purchased in 7 variants: Reconnaissance, Ambulance, APC, Command, Fitter/Maintenance, Support, and Armored recovery. The type has served in many theaters abroad, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
That isn’t a contract, but A$ 302.8 million (currently $256 million) has been budgeted to up-armor 113 vehicles, and improve their ability to carry that extra weight. Improved ballistic, fragmentation, and mine protection, including re-designed mine belly plates, will be accompanied by improvements to the vehicle’s suspension, driveline, and engine.
Australia isn’t alone. Canada’s LAV-III LORIT project is up-armoring its own vehicles for Afghanistan, en route to a more comprehensive upgrade project. The US Army is also discussing LAV-III Stryker improvements, which may include the addition of full V-hulls.
LAND 112, Phase 4 is scheduled to begin by April 2012, but Australia’s DoD wants to move that date up as early as possible. General Dynamics Land Systems – Australia in Pooraka, South Australia is expected to play a key role, but the government is looking for opportunities to involve other Australian firms.
The June 1/10 DoD announcement comes amidst a set of related moves, which illustrate both Australia’s interest in setting the terms for both the ASLAV’s future, and for its end of life. Australia is currently negotiating an armored fleet support contract with General Dynamics, which aims to reduce overall fleet support costs for the ASLAV and other platforms. In late May 2010, the DMO also released a vague “LAND 400” RFI that would eventually lead to a replacement for Australia’s ASLAVs, its blast-resistant Bushmasters, and its tracked M113AS4s.