Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR DEC-JAN 2018 Contents 37
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 38 | DEC/JAN 2018
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If a Timor-like emergency happened today what would the configuration of a
deployed Boxer CRV or AMV35 look like?
CRV as Peacekeeper
MUCH HAS BEEN written and probably more assumed about
gross vehicle mass (GVM) in respect to the two Land 400
Phase 2 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) candidates: the
Rheinmetall Boxer CRV and the BAE Systems AMV35.
A common misconception is that GVM = actual weight. That
an AMV35 always weighs 32 tonnes and a Boxer CRV always
weighs 38.5 tonnes. In fact, these vehicles are only at top weight
when they are at full specification.
A more useful concept is that GVM = capacity. When
a manufacturer is asked to quote the price or weight of an
armoured vehicle, it always specifies the specification with it.
Especially the protection level. Priority one of Land 400.
For the Land 400 Phase 2 Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA),
the two bidders opted to present their respective vehicles in
two different configurations: the Boxer CRV* in a high mass,
high compliance specification; the AMV35* in a medium mass,
medium compliance specification.
This meant the Boxer CRV arrived at the RMA party in full
fancy dress, complete with a turret-mounted anti-tank guided
missile (ATGM) launcher, a mocked-up active protection system
(APS), – in this case Rheinmetall’s Active Defence System – a
remote weapon station, Joint Technical Specification level ballistic
protection and around 30 tonnes combat weight. Grow th margin
is approximately 2 tonnes.
So in peacetime configuration the gap in GVM between Boxer
CRV and AMV35 closes markedly.
This consideration has a bearing on operations other than high-
end combat, such as peacekeeping, where threats from improved
explosive devices, anti-tank mines, rocket-propelled grenades and
ATGM are generally absent.
Recalling the success of the Australian Army’s ASLAV 8x8
armoured cavalry vehicles during their deployment to East Timor
from 1999 to the early 2000s, the CRV will be Army’s ‘go-to’
armoured capability for such operations. The CRV’s blend of
protection, firepower, good operational and tactical mobility and
command, control, communications, computing and intelligence
capabilities will be more than adequate for peacekeeping,
enabling the M1 Abrams main battle tanks and Phase 3 Infantry
Fighting Vehicles to remain at home.
The lower threat level of peacekeeping operations will also
allow the CRV to safely leave Australian shores with its standard
peacetime/training Level 4 protection kit but minus ATGM and
For peacekeeping operations, therefore, the Boxer CRV and
AMV35 would operate at not dissimilar combat weights and in
largely parallel configurations. Apples to apples perhaps. DTR
* Direct Fire High Survivability Lift (turreted) variant
protection (understood to meet the Commonwealth’s highest
protection requirement), full-length underbelly mine shield
to protect against explosively formed projectiles, a 360 degree
panoramic commander’s sight and a situational awareness system
with automatic target recognition and tracking.
AMV35 on the other hand, arrived modestly attired without an
ATGM, APS, panoramic sight, situational awareness system and
with STANAG 4569 Level 4 ballistic protection.
So the evaluation of the Boxer CRV and AMV35 was never
going to be a straightforward, apples to apples comparison. Both
are certainly fruity (or heavy) 8x8 combat vehicles by world
standards but one was offered at a higher capability than the
other. So they are the same in one sense but different in another.
The two different configurations in which Boxer CRV and
AMV35 were put forward also reflect the distinct bid strategies
of each tenderer. Rheinmetall, in perhaps typical German style,
responded to the Phase 2 request for tender with a solution that
was as compliant with the requirements as it could manage. This
inevitably meant the high specification-high compliance Boxer
CRV would have a notably higher GVM and a higher price tag
than the AMV35. There is always a cost to capability.
In contrast, BAE Systems seems to have sought to widen as
much as possible the price and GVM gap between AMV35 and
Boxer CRV by presenting its vehicle in a modest configuration
that met many but not all of the requirements, in particular
those for active and passive protection and an integrated ATGM
capability. This strategy is intended to offset the higher protection
levels and capability configuration of the Boxer CRV with the
lower unit cost and capability of the AMV35. Less protection and
lower capability has resulted in a lower GVM and price.
PEACETIME AND PEACEKEEPING
There is also a distinction between the configurations in which
the vehicles would be deployed on combat operations in a
high-threat environment (e.g against a peer enemy) and the
configuration in which they would spend at least 90 per cent of
their service lives.
For instance, despite the configuration in which it has been
offered in the Phase 2 tender response, the Boxer CRV is not
expected to spend its life running around at its GVM of 38.5
tonnes nor the AMV35 at its GVM of 32 tonnes. For training
purposes/exercises, the Boxer CRV will almost certainly be
without top level appliqué armour, mine shield, APS and even the
ATGM launcher. Based on DTR estimates, this would result in a
typical peacetime combat weight for Boxer CRV of approximately
33 tonnes. This assumes Level 4 kinetic protection is retained
At around 33 tonnes, Boxer CRV retains a growth margin of 5.5
tonnes without requiring a powertrain or suspension upgrade.
As it has no Level 6 armour package to shed, nor an underbelly
mine shield, APS or ATGM, the AMV35 will likely remain in the
configuration at which we have seen it at the RMA: with Level 4
BOXER CRV IN PEACEKEEPING CONFIGURATION
COMBAT WEIGHT PROTECTION MAX ROAD SPEED MAX ROAD RANGE ARMAMENT
33 tonnes (approx)
(38.5 tonnes GVM)
STANAG 4569 Level 4
30mm cannon with
200 ready-use rounds;
No ATGM, APS, RWS or mine shield
AMV35 IN PEACEKEEPING CONFIGURATION
MAX ROAD SPEED MAX ROAD RANGE
30 tonnes (approx)
(32 tonnes GVM)
STANAG 4569 Level 4
35mm cannon with
70 ready-use rounds;
No ATGM, APS or RWS
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