Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR JUNE 2017 Contents 35
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 32 | JUNE 2017
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Following on from the March 2017 issue in which DTR reviewed the merits
of main armament calibres of the two Land 400 Combat Reconnaissance
Vehicle candidates, we provide further insights and analysis of BAE Systems
Australia’s decision to put their money on 35mm.
CRV Lethality: Inside
BAE Systems’ decision
to go with 35mm
DTR recently took a trip to South Australia to spend time
with the BAE Systems Australia Land 400 team and get to know
the AMV35 8x8. While the day’s highlight was our driving
experience in the saltbush north of Adelaide (see the April 2017
issue of DTR), we learned more about the rationale behind BAE
Systems’ decision to equip its Land 400 Combat Reconnaissance
Vehicle (CRV) contender with a 35mm cannon whilst all other
tenderers opted for 30mm main armaments.
BAE Systems Australia announced their Land 400 teaming
arrangement with Finland’s Patria Land Systems back at the
Land Forces exhibition in September 2014. Whilst their selection
of the 8x8 Patria Armoured Modular Vehicle (AMV) was made
clear at that time, not so which turret the vehicle would carry.
Available turrets included the Oto Melara HITFIST-30P in service
on Poland’s Rosomak AMVs, Denel’s LCT-30 from the AMV-
based Badger infantry combat vehicle (ICV) program in South
Africa, the Kongsberg MCT-30 unmanned turret that was being
prototyped at that time on Croatian AMVs, and BAE Systems’
in-house Hägglunds turret drawn from its CV90 infantry fighting
vehicle (IFV) family.
When the company finally unveiled the AMV35 in its entirety
in September 2015 the decision to integrate a Hägglunds E
series turret didn’t surprise. As DTR had noted in May that year,
selection of a Hägglunds turret significantly increased BAE
Systems’ workshare, de-risked turret integration and through-life
support and potentially de-cluttered contractual arrangements
with the Commonwealth.
The decision to run with a 35mm calibre main armament,
on the other hand, was an unexpected one for many observers.
While BAE Systems Hägglunds CV90 IFVs serving with Finland,
Norway and Switzerland are fitted with the Mk 44 Bushmaster
30mm cannon, the E35 turret equipped the CV90 IFVs of
Holland, Denmark and more latterly Estonia. Turret systems in
both weapon calibres were readily available to the bid team as
mature and off-the-shelf designs, with good sales histories and
sound combat reputations.
So why did BAE Systems opt for a 35mm cannon? Our initial
analysis about this was summarised in the September 2015 issue
of DTR, including a list of pros and cons of 30mm vs 35mm.
The pleasing news for DTR is that – based on our recent
opportunity to gently probe the bid team during the AMV35
driving day in the South Australian bush – our analysis was
broadly on the money.
RANGE AS AN ELEMENT OF PROTECTION
There is no doubt that the Bushmaster III 35mm cannon is
the chief discriminator in the AMV35 proposal when viewed
alongside Rheinmetall’s Boxer CRV equipped with a 30mm
cannon in the two-man Lance turret.
DTR gained the impression that BAE Systems’ solution was
put together with a view to not only exploiting the various
lethality areas in which the 35mm calibre is superior to 30mm
but also to how it folds into the survivability equation. This
relates to the request for tender’s guidance that protection is the
Commonwealth’s highest priority Consolidated Operational
Need (CON). Although, given the Commonwealth’s sensitivity
to casualties amongst deployed combat forces, DTR suspects that
upholding protection as the highest priority CON is perhaps more
about armour protection against kinetic and blast threats than
having greater main armament stand-off range.
The BAE Systems Land 400 bid team certainly views the
AMV35’s ability to engage targets at greater range as one element
of the vehicle’s layered approach to protection. Their argument
is that the 35mm cannon’s typical maximum effective range of
4,000m – compared to 3,000m for the 30mm – delivers a range
overmatch that would allow the AMV35 to defeat like enemy
armour before they could enter their own engagement range.
This is a significant lethality advantage in its own right. It does,
of course, predicate favourable open terrain and enemy vehicles
equipped with a main armament of 30mm calibre or less, which
at the present time is a fair assumption. It is interesting to note
that 30mm remains the preferred calibre choice for most new
Western and Russian AFV programs: South Africa’s Badger ICV,
Malaysia’s AV8, US Army Stryker up-gun, German Puma IFV,
Lithuania Boxer IFV, Brazilian Guarani 6x6, Saudi LAV 700, K-17
Bumerang armoured personnel carrier and T-15 Armata IFV.
The Bushmaster III 35mm weapon system has to date not been
taken up by new users other than the three existing CV9035 IFV
Whilst the majority of legacy medium reconnaissance vehicles,
OPPOSITE PAGE: The 35mm main armament on the AMV35 is the
vehicle’s primary discriminator against the Boxer CRV. Image: BAE
RIGHT: The business end of the AMV35’s combat capability: its
Bushmaster III 35mm cannon. The weapon is over-fitted with a
muzzle programmer that is able to program rounds before they
exit the barrel. Image: DTR
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