Monday, April 11, 2016

Samsung tries to strike back at BAE...sells KAAV's to the Philippines!

Hanwha Techwin, previously Samsung Techwin, was declared as the winning bidder for the Department of National Defense’s Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) acquisition project, according to MaxDefense. MaxDefense said that the Notice of Award was already provided.

The contract price for the acquisition of eight brand-new AAVs is PhP2.423 billion. These amphibious vehicles will render service to Philippine Marine Corps of Philippine Navy when delivered. Approved budget for the said acquisition was PhP2.5 billion.

South Korean Hanwha Techwin and American BAE Systems are producing AAV7A1 vehicles. Amphibious vehicles produced by the South Korean manufacturer are designated as KAAV7A1 (KAAV).

This project was among the seven multi-year contract projects that President Aquino approved. The approval also included two frigates, two anti-submarine helicopters for Philippine Navy; two long-range patrol aircraft, six close-air support aircraft, munitions for FA-50 and three air surveillance radars for the Philippine Air Force.

Meanwhile, units of Philippine Marines have conducted AAV familiarization training event with their American counterparts April 4, during the conduct of Balikatan 2016.
This has all kinds of geo-political/industrial shenanigans written all over it.   First lets look at the Philippine side of things.  Why buy AAVs from S. Korea when they could get them for a song from the USMC?  The Marine Corps leadership is practically giving them away in a bid to rid the Corps of armor.  The impoverished Philippine govt could easily have gotten more than favorable conditions for twice, probably closer to 5 times as many for the same coin.  But they went with the S. Koreans.

Next lets look at Samsung.  For awhile they had removed the KAAV from their website.  The impression that I had was that they were no longer interested in producing the vehicle.  Its no secret that the ROK Marines are looking at a replacement so I assumed (and could be wrong) that they were moving toward the replacement.  But now suddenly they're building new AAVs for the Philippines?

I thought the reign of the AAV over.  With this new spurt of new builds perhaps I was wrong.  Using the AAV in its purest an armored personnel carrier that transports Marines to the EDGE of battle and not onto it (which by necessity means that its not to be used in COIN ops...we have a shitload of MRAPS for that duty) and as a transport for Marines from ship to shore makes it viable into the future.

All it needs is increased horsepower, suspension improvements to get its belly further from the ground, firepower upgrades and perhaps improvements in its electronics suite might make it a 100 year vehicle...for some forces.

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