Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR November 2010 Contents 28 | Asia Pacific Defence Reporter
28 | Asia Pacific Defence Reporter
28 | Asia Pacific Defence Reporter
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Leading the way in the supply of
military trailers and tankers
rogress on the project is so slow that it demonstrates a failure
mode and the fact that by the time products of this acquisition
are fielded and are functioning as required, the retirement
of the current fleet will be well in progress. The need for an
overarching requirement is undeniable, but the extension
of that requirement into a series of interlocking phases under a single
contract and a single contractor is highly questionable. The introduction
of an Integrated Project Team, or Teams, comprising Defence and Industry
is considered more likely to result in a successful project. Defence
desperately needs to break out of the destructive situations of failed
contract performance as evidenced by HF Mod., Vigilaire and AEW&C, all
undertaken by a single (and the same) contractor.
THE ARMY’S CURRENT AFV FLEET
The present fleet is understood to comprise: 41 M1A1 Abrams MBTs and
seven M88A2 Hercules M1A1 Repair and Recovery Vehicles; 350 M113AS3/
AS4 tracked Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs); 257 8x8 wheeled ASLAV-
25 Light Armoured Vehicles; and 697 4x4 wheeled Bushmaster Infantry
Mobility Vehicles (IMVs) for a total of 1352 vehicles, a number of which
undoubtedly will be in the attrition category.
According to US files, 18 M1A1s were delivered to Australia in September
2006 and the balance of 41 delivered in March 2007.
7 M88A2 – Hercules Repair and Recovery vehicles were delivered in May
The bulk of the fleet is located in Darwin.
The following points are noteworthy about this MBT.
M1A1 is fitted with a 1st Gen FLIR, with later production M1A1 vehicles
fitted with a 2nd generation FLIR and also M1A2s through the System
Enhancement Program (SEP). The SEP also addresses other fire control
features. M1A1/A2 have a mass of 69.5t, a “stump jumper” ground
clearance of just 480mm and a modest footprint of 15.4 psi. These
figures point nicely to the fact that this tank was really designed for
desert and savannah warfare and not warfare in jungle or hilly and rocky
terrain. Operation in littoral warfare and urban warfare environments
may also be limited due to the overall size of the vehicle and size limiting
transport requirements by sea, land and air. Buying 7 Hercules vehicles
was very sensible. Notable is the fact that the Army has modified the
Abrams to run on diesel fuel rather than AVTUR to reduce fire risk.
The logic of replacing the Abrams will be difficult to argue, unless the
ADF selects a smaller, higher mobility, transportable MBT that has the
required firepower, but is capable of operating in typical topographical
conditions north of Australia.
LAND 106 M113 UPGRADE
completed in 2004, addressed development, the manufacture,
testing and evaluation of two demonstration vehicles.
was for the Design, construction and testing of a total of 14
initial production vehicles (IPV ), including four APCs, two AFVs, and
two ARVLs and their extensive evaluation completed before entering
Stage 3. One ALVIPV was scheduled for testing to commence in 2009.
is for the modification of 417 vehicles of defined variants, to
their Production standard, and numbers of them. Logistic support
requirements of the modified vehicles are also included in this Stage.
This Stage is still in being, with delivery of the initial capability of sixteen
upgraded vehicles (14 APCs, one AF and one ARVL) to the 1st Brigade in
Darwin completed in December 2007 and steady state production being
The M113 is a smallish, highly mobile, tracked, vehicle capable of
travelling on road, across country over rough terrain, and in jungle
environments. It also has a limited amphibious capability. The M113 was
introduced into Australian service in 1964 and was operated in Vietnam,
Rwanda and East Timor.
Although its replacement was touted on several occasions, the Army has
persisted with the vehicle and it has been extensively modified in Australia
to meet changing roles through extensive modification and rebuilds to
extend its LOT.
As originally built, the aluminium alloy hulled M113A1 had a mass of
Abrams M1A1 Tanks with M113AS4 Armoured Personnel Carriers
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