July 7, 2009:
Colombia has bought 39 American M1117 ASVs (Armored Security Vehicles). These can mount either 12.7mm machine-guns or Mk19 40mm automatic grenade launchers in their turrets. The vehicles cost about a million dollars each.
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 Balkan 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, and 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 get all they want.
The ASV is a 15 ton 4x4 armored car that is built to handle the kind of combat damage encountered 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. 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. The ASV carries a crew of three.