Pakistan aims to develop a light armoured vehicle
February 29, 2024
Photo credit: Nurol Makina (NMS 4x4), YugoImport-SDPR (MILOSH), Otokar (Cobra II) and NIMR Automotive (AJBAN 450)

Pakistan aims to develop a light armoured vehicle

As per the Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production’s (MoDP) 2015-2016 yearbook, the Military Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (MVRDE) will develop a light armoured vehicle by the name of “Light Armed Vehicle Assault” (LAVA). The MVRDE will also develop a medical recovery vehicle.

The MVRDE has developed a wide range of logistics and auxiliary support systems, such as armoured vehicles launched bridges, K-Loaders, mine dispensing systems, simulators (for the al-Khalid main battle tank) and auxiliary power units, among others.

Notes & Comments:

At Pakistan’s biennial defence exhibition IDEAS, which took place in Karachi in November, the private auto-manufacturer Metal Engineering Works partnered with its Spanish counterpart UROVESA to offer the VAMTAC ‘High Mobility Tactical Vehicle’ to Pakistan. The MoDP’s disclosure would support Quwa’s view in December of Pakistan seeking a light armoured utility vehicle.

Generally, light armoured utility vehicles are multi-purpose logistics platforms. With ballistic protection, they can function as armoured personnel carriers. They can also serve as platforms for very short-range air defence (VSHORAD) systems, short-range radars, command vehicles, and anti-armour and anti-infantry fire support vehicles. They can also be configured as general transport and medical evacuation vehicles. In fact, the MVRDE LAVA and medical recovery vehicle programs could be borne from the same platform.

Analogous platforms include the Paramount Group Marauder, Otokar Cobra/Cobra II, Nurol Makina NMS 4×4, BMC Vuran 4×4, UROVESA VAMTAC and NIMR Automotive AJBAN 450, among others.

The general layout of these 4×4 vehicles is that they have a gross weight of roughly 9,000 to 12,000 kg and are powered by 300 to 350 hp engines. They also feature independent suspension and central tire inflation systems. These vehicles have a range of 650-700 km and can ferry nine to ten persons internally.

Armament options generally include externally mounted remote-controlled weapon stations for 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm guns, 40 mm cannons, or pedestal-mounted man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS). One might also be able to configure a 4×4 into a self-propelled 120 mm mortar carrier (e.g. Elbit Systems SPEAR Mk2 mounted on the Plasan Sandcat 4×4).

The LAVA will not supplant Pakistan’s light utility vehicle (e.g. pick-up trucks) fleet, certainly not entirely. It would be a costlier platform to acquire and maintain. However, the LAVA would be a natural upgrade path from the Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) Mohafiz, a lighter vehicle which is deployed in Pakistan to fulfill many of the roles the LAVA would assume should it come to fruition.

Pakistan assigning the MRDVE with the task of developing the LAVA indicates that Pakistan will not pursue an overseas design off-the-shelf (with licensed manufacturing). However, there is nothing to preclude the MVRDE from securing overseas technical support to develop the LAVA. Pakistan has a strong relationship with the Turkish defence industry, the MVRDE may consider approaching Otokar, BMC and Nurol Makina for assistance. Alternate sources include Denel Group and Paramount Group in South Africa.

Besides supporting the MRDVE in developing a hull and sourcing an engine, overseas vendors may find an opportunity in providing solutions for the chassis. For example, the Irish company Timoney Technology has been marketing its expertise in suspension and other areas to nascent vehicle designers. In fact, the Serbian vendor YugoImport-SDPR chose the Timoney T700 modular driveline system for its new 4×4 MILOSH light armoured vehicle. At IDEX 2017 in Abu Dhabi in February, Timoney stated that its product range would reduce “timelines and development costs through the initial stages of new vehicle programmes by as much as 75% compared to traditional methods.”