Under Phase 1 of the ASLAV programme, the Australian Army purchased 15 LAV (8 × 8) vehicles from the US Marines.
These vehicles were built by the Diesel Division, General Motors of Canada (which is today known as General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada) and comprised 14 LAV-25 and one maintenance/recovery vehicle.
Australia also evaluated four Bison (8 × 8) APCs, which are currently in service with the Canadian Army.
The original 15 vehicles were used by the 2nd Cavalry Regiment to develop operating and support procedures for wheeled armoured vehicles.
Under Phase 2, late in 1992, Australia signed an AUD120 million (USD85 million) contract with the Canadian Commercial Corporation for 97 LAV (8 × 8) vehicles to be built in Canada. The first of these was completed in 1994. Final fitting was carried out in Australia by the now BAE Systems Australia and all vehicles have now been delivered.
In June 1995, Australia contracted for an additional 14 ASLAV-25 vehicles bringing the total to 47.
The six variants use three different hull types and by the use of non-permanent, Mission Role Installation Kits (MRIK), four of the variants are created from a single hull design.
Although similar to the US Marine Corps' vehicles/Canadian Forces' vehicles, the Australian models do differ in a number of details.
The ASLAV-25 is generally similar to the Canadian LAV-25 late build standard and armed with 25 mm ATK Gun Systems Company M242 Chain Gun, 7.62 mm MAG 58 coaxial and 7.62 mm MAG 58 anti-aircraft machine gun.
ASLAV-PC is generally similar to the Canadian Bison and has a crew of two, commander and driver with the former manning the .50 (12.7 mm) M2 machine gun which can be aimed and fired under complete armour protection and is provided with a day/night sight. A total of seven troops can be carried.
The ASLAV-C uses the same hull as the ASLAV-PC and is converted to the command role with an MRIK. This has an enhanced radio installation and radio masts, mapboards, stowage compartments, appropriate seating and an annex. It has a crew of five.
The ASLAV-S is based on the same hull as the ASLAV-PC and is converted by an MRIK. The vehicle carries the RASIT ground surveillance radar and other observation equipment and has a crew of four.
The ASLAV-A ambulance is based on the same hull as the ASLAV-PC using an MRIK, which comprises medical equipment and litter stations. It has a crew of three and can carry up to six patients. It is capable of fitting a Mobile Intensive Resuscitation Facility (MIRF).
The ASLAV-F and ASLAV-R function as either fitters or recovery vehicles, depending on which of the two non-permanent installation kits is installed, with hull type being similar to ASLAV-PC with some structural modifications to mount the winch or crane and to provide anchor points and winch cable entry.
The ASLAV-F will have two non-permanent installation kits, one for a winch for recovery and the other with a crane and stowage for use as a fitter's vehicle.
All versions are fitted with a climate control system to bring internal temperatures down to ambient levels and all vehicles are fitted with Michelin XML tyres that are wider. For improved battlefield survival, the ASLAV fleet can be fitted with a ceramic appliqué armour system.
The only operational user is the 2nd Cavalry Regiment with the remainder being allocated to the School of Armour, Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Training Centre and logistics.
Additional details of the LAV (8 × 8) family of vehicles are given in a separate entry under Canada.
Thales Australia has developed a new lightweight weapon station called the Commander's Weapon Station (CWS) for installation on light armoured vehicles.
CWS has powered elevation and traverse and is armed with a .50 (12.7 mm) M2 machine gun, which can be aimed and fired from under armour. A day night sighting system is fitted as standard.
In mid-2000, a contract was placed valued at AUD350 million for a further 150 ASLAV vehicles under the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) project Land 112.
Under the terms of this contract a total of 150 vehicles were supplied to equip four reconnaissance squadrons in the following configurations:
81 ASLAV-25 (two-person 25 mm turret)
15 ASLAV-S surveillance
14 ASLAV-C command
11 ASLAV-PC personnel carrier
11 ASLAV-F fitters
11 ASLAV-R recovery
7 ASLAV-A ambulance
Under the terms of this contract, Tenix Defence Systems of Australia built the 25 mm turret fabrication and then sent this to Canada for fitting out.
Under a contract awarded to Racal Australia (now Thales Australia) in August 2000, the Australian Defence Forces has received 51 Ground Surveillance Radars from 2002. This is called the Australian Manportable Surveillance and Target Acquisition Radar (AMSTAR) and is an improved version of the MSTAR used by the UK. Some of these have been installed on the ASLAV-R version. To provide an interim capability, four ASLAV vehicles were fitted with the sensor packs of the Canadian Coyote reconnaissance vehicle.
Late in 2003, the Australian Department of Defence awarded General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada a USD9.8 million modification to a previously awarded contract to upgrade its existing fleet of 113 ASLAVs, which were delivered to Australia between 1995 and 1997. These are being upgraded to match the capabilities of the new batch of 144 ASLAVs, which have been manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada for the Australian Army.
The contract was signed through the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a Crown Agency of the Canadian Government, in August 2000 and is now valued at USD284 million. The ASLAV upgrade includes new electric turret drive, enhanced thermal sight with laser range-finder and improved fire-control system for the 25 mm M242 cannon. In addition, a GPS system has been integrated and the suspension system enhanced.
Most of the vehicles to be upgraded were fielded with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Australia's Northern Territory. These vehicles were withdrawn from service and the work to complete the standardisation of the fleet will be conducted by General Dynamics Land Systems - Australia at the production facility near Adelaide, South Australia. Deliveries commenced in October 2004 and were completed in 2006.
ASLAV with Protector Remote Weapon Station
Some ASLAV-PCs have been fitted with the Norwegian Kongsberg Protector Remote Weapon Station as a replacement for the unpowered gun ring system originally fitted.
By mid-2005 a total of 19 Protectors had been supplied, the first batch consisting of 10 and the second consisting of nine. These have been deployed to Iraq.
The weapon stations are almost identical to those installed on the US Army's Stryker (8 × 8) vehicles and are armed with a .50 (12.7 mm) M2 MG but are fitted with a laser range-finder.
Since then additional orders have been placed which has brought the total up of 60 units, of which 59 are installed on ASLAV vehicles.
These are similar to the Protector originally delivered to the US Army but also have a laser rangefinder.
These are expected to be upgraded to provide higher speeds in elevation and traverse, stabilisation unit, digital handgrip and a improved fire-control system.
ASLAV with extra armour
The Australian Army's ASLAVs deployed in Iraq have enhanced survivability features.
First Canadian Armatec Kevlar spall liners have been fitted to replace the original spall curtains, which were originally installed in the Australian M113A1 series APCs. These spall liners have been customised to suit the internal layout of the ASLAV-25 and ASLAV-PC models.
They have also been fitted with a new lightweight bar-armour system to provide increased protection against rocket-propelled grenade attack.