Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR OCT 2015 Contents 37
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 14 | OCT 2015
There is far more to CRV mobility
than meets the eye, as DTR
ABOVE: Current generation wheeled AFVs feature multi-wheel
steering to better navigate the confines of urban and restricted
terrain. Image: Nexter
RIGHT: No matter how mobile
generally, combat vehicles
of all types are prone to
experiencing difficulty on
soft ground even when not
travelling cross-country, as
this Polish Army Rosomak
discovered during operations
in Afghanistan. Image: Polish
THE AUSTRALIAN ARMY’S ASLAV can trace its origins to a
vehicle called Puma. This was a 4x4 vehicle designed and built
by the Swiss company Mowag way back in 1962. It was highly
mobile, small, light, fast and amphibious. It protected the crew by
avoiding enemy fire not by resisting it. It could move quickly from
place to place and go almost anywhere.
In many respects, the ASLAV is a larger version of Puma. It is
an 8x8 rather than a 4x4 but it is light, reasonably fast and (was)
amphibious. It is well suited to the reconnaissance tasks for which
it was designed; keeping an eye on the enemy without allowing
them to fire at you. It can be sent down the road and be 1,000km
away the next day. In certain circumstances, it is still a very useful
The Australian Army now finds itself operating in urban
and semi-urban (complex) environments; fighting in cities and
towns rather than fields and plains. Armoured vehicles patrol
among civilians and are attacked without warning. Protection
rather than mobility has rightly become the highest priority for
Many observers were surprised when the First Pass approval
for Land 400 Phase 2 was described as an “ASLAV replacement”.
The requirements for the Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle
(CRV) however, described a vehicle very different from ASLAV.
In relative terms, ASLAV has high mobility, medium lethality
and low protection. CRV will be the opposite; it will have high
protection, medium lethality and low mobility.
As a result of higher protection requirements, CRV will be
much heavier than ASLAV. Its combat weight will be somewhere
between 35 and 40 tonnes compared with less than 15 tonnes for
ASLAV. Understandably, there is an expectation that the mobility
of CRV will be severely compromised compared with ASLAV.
This is, in fact, a misconception.
Mobility – the ugly
duckling for Land 400?
In some respects, CRV will have higher mobility than ASLAV.
In other respects, it will have comparable mobility or the
differences will not affect capability. In only a few respects, will
the mobility of CRV be less than ASLAV and even these will
depend on which vehicle is selected.
BEYOND THE BROCHURE FIGURES
Let’s consider each of these three categories in turn, beginning
with the areas in which the CRV will have greater mobility than
CRV will have greater endurance. ASLAV can drive along a
level highway for about 500km without refuelling. Maybe 550km
with a tail wind. This has become the international standard for
8x8 vehicles. Even though CRV will be larger and heavier than
ASLAV, it should have greater range than this. Some CRV will
be able to drive more than 1,000km without refuelling. That is
the distance between Darwin and Tenant Creek, or Sydney and
CRV will also have higher ground clearance. This has
numerous advantages. The most important is mine blast
protection. Other advantages include the ability to cross rough
and rocky terrain. Higher ground clearance also allows for greater
sinkage in sand, bulldust, mud and snow before the underside of
the vehicle starts dragging on the ground.
CRV will also climb a higher vertical step. Vertical steps
are not common on battlefields but they are a common test of
armoured vehicle mobility. For wheeled vehicles, the vertical step
corresponds to about half the wheel diameter. This is because the
vehicle needs to push against the step and lift itself over it. It can
do this up to the point that the centre of the axle is above the top
of the step. Because CRV will be larger and have larger diameter
wheels, it will climb a higher vertical step than ASLAV.
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