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FNSS Launches Marine Assault Vehicle (MAV) at IDEF’ 19

With ZAHA, FNSS takes armored amphibious assault vehicles into the 21st century. Venturing outside the classical approach within defence projects, FNSS developed the Marine Assault Vehicle (MAV) to meet the amphibious armored vehicle requirements of the Turkish Navy

Issue 93 - July 2019

With a 30-year heritage in the defence industry, the world-renowned land systems company FNSS displayed its wide range of solutions and unveiled its latest platforms at IDEF ‘2019. At the fair, the company exhibited the KAPLAN 10 Anti-Tank Vehicle (ATV), the KAPLAN MT PULAT, the Marine Assault Vehicle (MAV), the PARS III 8x8 Combat Engineering Vehicle, the AV-8 CBRN vehicle, the Shadow Rider Concept, the Anti-Tank Remotely Controlled Turret (ARCT) and the Armored Remote Weapon System (ARWS) solutions for the first time this year.

IDEF’ 19 also witnessed the unveiling of the much-anticipated Marine Assault Vehicle (MAV) or ZAHA (Zırhlı Amfibi Hücum Aracı in Turkish). FNSS revealed the first full-featured prototype of the Marine Assault Vehicle at IDEF ‘19 on the 1st of May with the participation of Vice President of Defence Industries Mustafa Murat ŞEKER and General Manager and CEO of FNSS K. Nail KURT. The sector had been awaiting this vehicle with great anticipation due to its special place in the military inventory, derived from the highly challenging and specialized mission requirements. Because of its unique nature, only a handful of nations have such vehicles in their inventories, and within NATO only one company (Bae Systems) other than FNSS produces comparable vehicles (AAV7A1 family) in the same class.

FNSS’s 21st Century Armor Protected Amphibious Fighting Vehicle Concept  

FNSS initiated the development of the MAV in March 2017, as part of the ZAHA project carried out by the Presidency of Defence Industries to meet the amphibious armored vehicle requirements of the Turkish Naval Forces Command with a primary role to support the combat capabilities of marine forces. Under the agreement, FNSS will deliver a total of 27 vehicles to the Turkish Naval Forces Command, including 23 personnel carriers, two command & control (C2) vehicles and two recovery vehicles.

FNSS completed the evaluation of the prototype design and the project reached the Critical Design Review (CDR) phase in the first half of 2019. The CDR phase will be conducted on the prototype vehicle which was exhibited by FNSS at IDEF’ 19.

The Marine Assault Vehicle features a water-resistant hull which demonstrates superior amphibious characteristics. The completely sealed unique hull design offers self-righting capability and improves mobility in water. It doesn’t utilize a double or V-hull as that would drastically affect the performance of the vehicle at sea. The MAV weighs 30 metric tons and is equipped with a 600hp front-mounted diesel engine power pack. The engine has a fully automatic transmission system. The vehicle is propelled by two powerful rear-mounted water jets in amphibious mode, which can handle up to a sea-state of 4. The maximum amphibious speed of the vehicle is 7kt, while the maximum road speed is 70km/h.

Compared to Similar Systems, MAV contains Superior Design Aspects

The MAV is designed to operate with Turkey’s Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ship that is now in production. The vehicle has a maximum ship-to-shore swim distance of 15 nautical miles and can be launched from Landing Helicopter Docks (LHD) to enable the safe landing of marine units during the amphibious assault phase of an operation. The vehicle covers the distance between the vessel and shore in the shortest time possible, allowing marine units to land under armor protection with minimum delay. The vehicle can also serve as an armored combat vehicle after reaching the shore and effectively operate alongside other armored vehicles. 

The Zaha MAV is manned by a crew of three members including a commander, a driver, and a gunner. The driver sits in the front and the commander is positioned behind the driver. The gunner’s compartment is located in the middle of the vehicle and offers the gunner a clear view of the surroundings to track down enemy movements. The MAV can carry up to 21 (18 dismounted infantry + 3 crewmembers) troops as well as cargo in a large compartment at the rear of the vehicle. The vehicle is also fitted with a hydraulic ramp at the back.

The MAV is equipped with a remote-controlled turret carrying a 12.7mm M2 heavy barrel machine gun and a 40mm automatic grenade launcher (AGL). Designed and developed by FNSS, the turret features a thermal sighting system, which allows day and night operations. Compared to similar examples, the MAV is expected to be superior in both ballistic and mine/blast protection. The vehicle is built from 5000 series military-grade aluminum armor, which is alloyed with magnesium. The aluminum is used to form the structure of the hull and offers protection against ballistic threats and explosions. The vehicle features a reinforced hull bottom armor and the thickness of the bottom plate is adjusted to maximize energy absorption. The protection level of the MAV can be further improved with add-on applique armor plates. The vehicle is also fitted with a coaxially mounted smoke grenade launcher and a dedicated CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, and Nuclear) protection system.

General Manager and CEO of FNSS K. Nail Kurt: “Until the MAV made its appearance, there was no such vehicle on the market”

Designed to support dual operations based on mission requirements, armored amphibious assault vehicles need to exhibit superior performance both at sea and on land.

Speaking at the launch event, the Vice President of Defence Industries Mustafa Murat Şeker said: “This event has a special meaning to me. Four or five years ago, when I was Head of the Naval Platforms Department, I had the honor of signing the contracts of our large LHD vessel that we have just seen on the screen. At that time, we were wondering whether we should buy a MAV off the shelf or build it ourselves, then we showed determination and decided to do it. Seeing the embodiment of this determination made me even more proud.”

Emphasizing that the MAV is a very special vehicle, General Manager and CEO of FNSS K. Nail Kurt said: “the MAV has to make sure that marines reach the shore in the shortest time possible, both to ensure rapid movement and to minimize their exposure to threats while at sea. Once ashore, it should be able to operate effectively as an armored combat vehicle, while also safeguarding the troops inside with superior ballistic and mine protection. To put it briefly, until the MAV made its appearance, there was no such vehicle on the market. We are developing the MAV in response to the requirements of the Turkish Naval Forces, which carried out one of the most important amphibious operations in the last 50 years with great success. We are confident that friendly and allied nations with high amphibious operational requirements, particularly island countries like Indonesia, will also look to take advantage of the MAV’s superior characteristics; and we look forward to working with them in the future.”