The Deftech defence company of Malaysia started producing a new generation of armoured vehicles in cooperation with FNSS from Turkey.
FNSS helped DefTech to develop an entire family of armoured vehicles including armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, tank destroyers, signal intelligence vehicles, armoured recovery vehicles and armoured ambulances among others.
The first scale model of the armoured vehicle was presented at the Defence Services Asia 2012 held in Kuala Lampur. From there on the Malaysian defence company presented the first prototype in 2013. By 2014 DefTech started small scale production for the Malaysian Army and also began marketing it abroad to regional countries. DefTech also sent some vehicles to Saudi Arabia for evaluation purposes.
In December 2014 the AV8 was officially inducted with the Malaysian Army at a ceremony held at Pekan. The Malaysian firm successfully delivered 12 examples of the AV8 to the Malaysian Army representing a significant milestone for the project.
The fully amphibious AV8 Gempita (Thunder) is 8×8 platform manufactured at DefTech’s factory in Pahang. It has a combat weight of 28 to 30 tonnes.
In terms of design the driver and commander seats are located in front of the vehicle. There is a turret located in the middle and a troop compartment behind it. Three large day periscopes provide the driver and commander with enhanced visibility.
A total of 11 combat troops can be accommodated in to rear of the cabin with seats facing each other. The seats themselves are shock-absorbing and are fitted with 5-point safety belts for improved safety. There is an access passage to the troop compartment at the right side of the hull. The troops can ingress/exit via a large hydraulic ramp mounted at the rear of the AV8s hull.
Main features of the vehicle include thermal and CCD cameras in the front and rear to provide driver/commander with high situational awareness. There is dual left and right hand steering option as well as anti-lock braking system, air conditioning, NBC protection, automatic fire suppressing system, INS/GPS, weapons stations and a battlefield management system.
DefTech has been contracted by the Malaysian Army to build 257 AV8s in 12 variants. Some variants include anti-tank guided missiles and self-loading mortars.
The non-combat variants including armoured surveillance vehicle with battlefield radar and mast mounted sensors, command vehicles, armoured ambulances, armoured recovery vehicles, maintenance vehicles, engineering vehicles, NBC reconnaissance vehicles and signal intelligence vehicles.
Combat variants are AFV30, IFV25, 12.7 mm RWS, LCT30 ATGM and 120mm mortar.
All in all the AV8 represents a highly capable and modular family of modern armoured vehicles catering to every requirement of a well-equipped Army. The AV8 can be deployed in war, peacekeeping missions, low intensity conflicts such as counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism and urban missions.