Armor: August 31, 2003


The New Zealand army is buying 105 LAVs (Light Armored Vehicles) from General Dynamics Land Systems. This wheeled armored vehicle is based on the Piranha III LAV long used by the U.S. Marines, and later adopted by the US Army as the Stryker. This vehicle was designed Mowag of Switzerland, a company now owned by General Dynamics. In some ways the New Zealand LAV is an improvement on the Stryker LAV, with many small, but important, improvements. All 105 of the New Zealand vehicles will have a turret with a 25mm automatic cannon and have room in the back for ten troops. Seven LAVs will be equipped for engineer work and three used as recovery vehicles. The 14 ton, 8x8 vehicle has a maximum road speed of 100 kilometers an hour. This purchase is, like the Stryker project in the  United States, politically controversial. Many New Zealanders insist it would be cheaper to upgrade existing M-113 tracked APCs rather than buying the LAVs.


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