Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR APR 2015 Contents 25
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 08 | APR 2015
It should be said also that operational re-
strictions and rules of engagement placed
upon Australian ground forces in both cas-
es, but particularly Iraq, did not encourage
Australian combat forces to engage and
close with the enemy.
Indeed, it has been said that the main aim
of the ASLAV and Bushmaster-equipped Al
Muthanna Task Group (AMTG) deployed
as part of Operation Catalyst to Iraq was
to protect itself and to not take casualties
rather than engage with and destroy enemy
forces. Officially, the role of the AMTG was
to undertake security overwatch, security
patrols, develop Iraqi Security Force capa-
bilities and support reconstruction and re-
By most accounts, and this is not meant
as a criticism, Australian armoured forces
did not place themselves in positions or
conduct missions in which the probability
of being engaged with heav y weapons or
take part in protracted close combat was
high. It is noteworthy that AMTG ASLAVs
had their bar armour – fitted as an in-
ner-layer defence against RPG attack – re-
moved very soon after entering theatre.
Contrast the Australian Army’s use of
AFVs in Iraq with the experience of US
armoured and mechanised forces, where
AFVs of various descriptions were em-
ployed to the fullest as integral elements of
the combined arms fight.
Now in 2015 and with no Australian
armoured vehicles lost to kinetic weapons
since the Vietnam War, it is commendable
that planners have nonetheless taken into
account lessons learnt about the value of
armoured protection for both legacy AFV
fleets and the Land 400 CRV requirement.
At the end of the day all the points men-
tioned above may prove to be somewhat
moot in that the vehicle which finds itself
fulfilling the CRV slot will be part of an
overall package proposed by the success-
ful tenderer, and it will be the package that
will carry the day. Together with Australi-
CREWS IN THE 25MM
ASLAV-25 FACED NO
INCOMING FIRE FROM
OTHER LIKE AFVS,
an industry capability and through-
life support plans, price, risk and
schedule considerations, the vehicle
itself will be just one element of the
winning bid, albeit the central one.
With capital equipment acqui-
sition programs it is rarely just
about to what extent the proposed
solution meets the stated techni-
cal, functional and performance
requirements. Land 400 is unlike-
ly to be an exception. In this con-
text, the choice of turret could well
be a case of Army getting what
comes on the vehicle as part of the
winning bid rather than precisely
what it wants.
– Ian Bostock
*This view is understood to be that of the end
user stakeholders and not necessarily that of the
Defence Materiel Organisation or Department of
As additional background, the Commonwealth’s
public position on the preference for a manned or
unmanned turret is clear if addendum responses
to industry questions are anything to go by – it
does not have one: “...requirements for lethality
are as detailed in the Key Requirements Matrix,
articulated in terms of function and performance.
It is up to the tenderer to propose a solution to
meet these requirements. Proposed solutions will
be assessed during tender evaluation.”
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F90 rifle trials on track
EVALUATION OF THE new Thales Aus-
tralia F90 assault rifle is “progressing very
well” according to an Australian Depart-
ment of Defence spokesperson.
Following the award of a low rate initial
production (LRIP) contract in September
2014, whereupon weapons started coming
out of Thales Australia’s Lithgow facility in
December 2014, the F90 has since achieved
Provisional Design Acceptance.
The LRIP activity will de-risk Land 125
Phase 3C by enabling the company to prove
production processes and establish spares
and training systems while delivering an
advanced weapon system to the Australian
Army earlier than scheduled. The F90 is
designated as the Enhanced F88 (EF88) by
the Australian Defence Force.
The initial F90 weapons have been re-
ceived and are undergoing post-production
testing prior to being released to the Army,
a Defence spokesperson told DTR.
The Army’s Al Muthanna Task Group sent to Iraq
certainly had the wherewithal to take the fight to
the enemy, but rarely did. Has this operational
experience shaped the perceived preference for
a manned turret for the CRV? Image: ADF
The Land 125 Phase 3C project team is
currently evaluating and selecting the pre-
ferred range of weapon ancillary options,
including day and night sights, foregrips
Second Pass Approval for Land 125 Phase
3C, which will facilitate a full rate produc-
tion order for the F90, is anticipated in the
second half of 2015.
– Ian Bostock
Also see “Thales receives LRIP contract for F90
assault rifle’ in the October 2014 issue of DTR.
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