Commando Force

The original Armored Security Vehicle (ASV) has a history that traces back to the Cadillac Gage LAV-100 Commando, the first production examples of which were built in 1963. The amphibious LAV-100 Commando was used extensively in Vietnam and was followed into production in 1971 by the LAV-150 which was sold to more than 20 countries. The LAV-300, a (6×6), was introduced in 1978 and numerous examples of the 15 variants available remain in service around the world. Assorted other light armoured vehicles including the Scout (4×4), LAV-200 (4×4), LAV-150S (4×4), and V-600 (6×6) have been produced by the now Textron Marine & Land Systems (TMLS), a company that has origins tracing back to 1935 (Bell Aircraft Corporation) and Cadillac Gage (1941). Textron (founded in 1923 as the Special Yams Company) acquired Bell in 1960, and with the acquisition of Cadillac Gage in 1986 as a wholly owned subsidiary, Textron Marine Systems was created. In 1994 Cadillac Gage was merged with Textron Marine to form the now Textron Marine & Land Systems (TMLS).

Army Contract

Following a US Army competition, in December 1995 Textron Marine & Land Systems (TMLS) was awarded a contract worth $3.2 million to build four prototype Armored Security Vehicles (ASVs). The two final two competitors for the ASV requirement were TMLS and AV Technology, the losing AV Technology bid based on a variant of the Dragoon family of light armoured vehicles. The winning TMLS bid was for the TMLS Cadillac Gage ASV 150. The ASV 150, now designated Ml 117 Guardian by the US Army, was based around the then current production LAV 150, the LAV-150ST (S — stretched; T — turbocharged).

The original M1117 Guardian ASV prototypes were completed in early 1997, and a production contract award valued at $50 million for the supply of 94 ASVs over five years followed in 1999. Contract options, if exercised, would have increased the total buy to 250 ASVs. The first production ASVs were delivered in 2000, and by July 2004 the US Army had placed orders for just 132 ASVs, around 80 of which had been delivered. At this point in time there was the very real possibility that the ASV programme would be terminated with no further orders.

However, as the security situation in Iraq began to deteriorate, it became clear that other deployed vehicles in theatre were under-armoured for the prevalent and increasing IED attacks. Alongside other up-armouring efforts, the US Army identified that the better- protected ASV was better suited for Iraq and began urgent efforts to release contracts and ramp up production as quickly as possible.

The US Army then increased its orders, initially to a total of 182. However, by late 2005 the Army’s M1117 requirement had increased to over 2,476 vehicles, more than 1,000 of these as MP and convoy protection platforms in Iraq.

The ASV quickly proved its worth in a variety of roles above and beyond its original Military Police/law enforcement mission. In July 2004 the US Project and Contracting Organization (PCO), acting on behalf of the Iraqi Minister of the Interior, awarded TMLS a contract worth $50 million for the supply of 60 ASVs (56 armoured personnel carrier, 4 command & control, 2 maintenance) for the then recently formed Iraqi Civil Intervention Force.

These vehicles, which were delivered between November 2004 and July 2005, differed from the standard US Army Ml 117 ASV in a number of areas. In addition to numerous role-specific minor modifications, Iraqi ASVs featured a stretched (by 24-inches) wheelbase, a slightly taller hull, and had roof-mounted armament in place of the standard ASV turret.

US Army ASV production continued, and by mid-2009 the 2,000th vehicle had left TMLS’ production line after continued production of 48-50 vehicles per month since 2006. At the time of writing (early November 2012) it was anticipated that the last new-build ASV for the US Army would roll of the TMLS’ New Orleans production line in late November 2012. Total US Army ASV orders (excluding FMS sales) currently stand at 3,414 vehicles, 465 of these in Ml 200 Armored Knight configuration. The Armored Knight is an ASV variant used by the US Army Field Artillery Combat Observation Lasing Teams (COLT) in both Heavy and Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCT).

Reset Programme

Following extensive use in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US Army began looking at a Reset programme for time-served ASVs in 2008. In collaboration with the Red River Army Depot an initial five vehicles were Reset under a pilot programme in 2008, these followed by a further 12 in 2010. In October 2011 TMLS announced that it had been awarded a competitive US Army $19.18 million contract to Reset a total of 392 ASVs, the initial contract year ending in June 2013. Two option years allow for a further 225 (1st year) and 167 (2nd year) vehicles to be Reset. M1200 Armored Knight vehicles are subject to a separate Reset award.

Under a US Army Reset contract vehicles are returned to their original production configuration and returned to service in a zero miles/zero hours configuration, and with a full new vehicle warranty. The US Army also awards Recap (Recapitalization) contracts, under which a vehicle is Recap’d to the latest build standard; an original AO to the current A4 using the Oshkosh HEMTT truck as an example.

In addition to the current ASV Reset award, it is understood the US Army is interested in upgrading around 600 more of its ASVs through Reset/Recap. It is understood the desire with this effort is to fit, as part of the Reset/Recap, the upgraded suspension and belly armour of vehicles currently being supplied to the Afghan National Army (ANA).

Export Orders

The first export order for the ASV was the previously mentioned sale of 62 vehicles to Iraq. To date Iraq has received a total of 324 ASVs, the original 62 plus a second award for 182 vehicles in Ml 117 configuration, and most recently an FMS sale for 80 further vehicles in a mix of command and control and APC configurations.

Further export sales of the ASV and its derivatives have been made to Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia and Afghanistan.

Bulgaria placed a $10.2 million contract early in 2008 for seven vehicles to US Army M1117 ASV build standard (with the possibility of up to 30 follow-on vehicles), while in December 2009 TMLS received as US Army FMS award valued at $45.6 million to supply Colombia with an initial 39 stretched ASVs (37 APC, 2 command & control). FMS cases are in work to order a further 28 vehicles, and 12 of the original 39 vehicles will be upgraded and receive the standard Ml 117 ASV turret.

After an initial Test and Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), in mid-2011 the US Army awarded TMLS a contract to supply the ANA with up to 440 Mobile Strike Force Vehicles (MSFVs). The MSFV is a further development of the ASV Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) that has been optimised for the Afghan terrain.

The initial ANA (Afghan National Army) requirement covered nine APC variants, later reduced to three in order to reduce complexity for the ANA. These three include variants fitted with the standard ASV 12.7 mm heavy machine gun (HMG)/40 mm automatic grenade launcher (AGL) turret, a variant fitted with a Gunner Protection Kit (GPK), and an ambulance variant. All ANA variants feature the stretched wheelbase, however, during the trials phase of the programme standard wheelbase variants were also evaluated.

Current ANA MSFV orders total 499, consisting of 18 test vehicles, 41 LRIP, and 240 production vehicles. Including support equipment, spare parts, field service representatives, training and training aids, total contract value exceeds $530 million. Deliveries to the ANA are scheduled to conclude in October 2013.

As previously covered in MMI, Textron Systems Canada Inc., a Textron Inc. company, announced in June 2012 that it had been selected by the Canadian government for the Canadian Forces Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) program.

The TAPV contract calls for the manufacture of 500 vehicles, with an option for up to 100 more, and has a value of C$603.4 million. An additional five-year in-service support contract has a value of C$105.4 million. The first full-rate production vehicle is scheduled to be delivered to the Canadian Army in July 2014, with final delivery scheduled for March 2016.

Armour Protection

While there are numerous internal layout and design differences between the original ASV, current generation ASV variants and the latest TAPV, the all-welded steel armoured hull of all variants retains similar lines. The powerpack is rear-mounted, there are two centrally located side doors for the crew, the driver and commander sitting to the front of the vehicle, and with generous amounts of opaque armour for good situational awareness.

The applique armour system of the baseline ASV consisted of IBD’s Modular Expandable Armour System (MEXAS), this utilising a ceramic composite applique-mounted on the exterior of the all-welded steel hull, with a spall liner on the interior surfaces.

The ASV’s protection package, which has been considerably upgraded following experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, is understood to have initially provided all-round protection against armour-piercing small arms fire and overhead protection from artillery projectile fragments.

Standard US Army vehicles are fitted with a one-man turret armed with a 12.7 mm HMG and a 40 mm MK19 AGL. This turret is the latest version of that originally designed for installation on US Marine Corps AAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicles.

Automotively all ASV variants are powered by a Cummins six-cylinder diesel engine, the original M1117 ASV, later longer wheelbase variants and ANA deliveries powered by an 8.3-litre 6CTA developing 280 hp at 2,200 rpm, whereas the latest TAPV variant is powered by a Tier 3 rated QSL 365 developing 365 hp, this also being fitted with an uprated 400 A alternator.

In all ASV variants a six-speed fully automatic transmission is fitted, and in all except the original Ml 117 ASV (which has a single-speed transfer box) this is coupled to a two-speed transfer box. The original M1117 ASV, later longer wheelbase variants and ANA deliveries are fitted with an Allison MD3560/3560SP transmission, while the latest TAPV variant is fitted with an Allison 3200SP transmission.

Suspension on all models is of the fully independent coil-spring type, with 1400R 20 Michelin XZL tyres fitted on the Ml 117 ASV, 1600R 20 on all other models. A central tyre inflation system (CTIS) and runflat inserts are standard fit.

When compared to a US-specification Ml 117 ASV, the latest 17,237 kg (GVW) TAPV features a new slightly longer and wider allwelded steel hull that provides more volume and payload (up to 2,495 kg), and is fitted with larger one-piece side doors. The TAPV also features enhanced interior and exterior applique armour. Opaque armour and windows are improved, and to offer MRAP levels of blast protection the wheel wells have been redesigned to vent blast away from the vehicle underside.

To enhance off-road mobility, ground clearance has been increased by 44 per cent, Michelin 1600R 20 XZL tyres with run-flat inserts are standard fit.

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