Bulgarian peacekeepers headed for Afghanistan needed armored vehicles, and selected
the U.S. Army M1117 ASVs (Armored Security Vehicles). They paid $1.5 million
each. The U.S. Army pays about half that, for much larger orders (the last one
was for over 700). The ASV was, in effect, one of the first MRAPs (Mine
Resistant Ambush Protected) to get to Iraq.
Originally developed in
the 1990s for use by MPs in combat zones, only a few were bought initially. It
was found that for peacekeeping, existing armored vehicles were adequate, and
that in the narrow streets of Balkan towns, the ASV was too wide to be very
maneuverable. Then came Iraq. Suddenly, the ASV was very popular. The army got
lots more because military police like these vehicles a lot. The MPs originally
wanted 2,000 ASVs, but before Iraq, were told they would be lucky to get a
hundred. Now the MPs may end up with over a thousand.
The ASV is a 13 ton
armored car that is built to handle the kind of crap terrorists are dealing out
in Iraq. The ASVs are, unlike armored hummers, built from the ground up as an
armored trucks. ASVs are 20 feet long and 8.5 feet wide, making them a bit
larger than hummers. Usually, each ASV carries a .50 caliber machine-gun and a
40mm automatic grenade launcher. The ASV is heavy enough to survive most
roadside bombs and keep going. The ASV is bullet, and RPG proof. The turret is
the same one used on the U.S. Marine Corps LAV. When the marines went shopping
for armored trucks, however, they passed on the ASV. This is believed to be
mainly because most armored trucks have more room inside.