February 10, 2013: Colombia has ordered three of the latest model of the Canadian LAV III wheeled armored vehicles. This one has a V shaped double hull to provide maximum protection from landmine and roadside bombs. The LAV III was the basis for the American Stryker and both vehicles look very similar. That is, both weigh the same and are both 6.95 meters (22.92 feet) long, 2.72 meters (8.97 feet) high, and 2.64 meters (8.72 feet) wide. The V shape hull was first developed for the Stryker and proved very effective in Afghanistan. These LAV IIIs cost $2.2 million each.
The LAV III is a 17 ton vehicle and the Colombian version will not have the large amount of electronics inside, and the remote turret on top (with a 12.7mm machine-gun) will come from Israel not Norway. There are also two 7.62mm two machine-guns. It has a crew of three and can carry seven passengers. Colombia has several types of armored vehicles but has been getting more of those that can resist the roadside bombs and anti-vehicle mines the leftist rebels and drug gangs now favor.
Four years ago Colombia bought 39 American M1117 ASVs (Armored Security Vehicles) ICVs (Infantry Carrier Variant). The ICV is 61 cm (24 inches) longer than the stock ASV, and can carry a crew of three and eight passengers. Instead of the turret it has a cupola mounting a 12.7mm machine-gun or 40mm automatic grenade launcher. These vehicles cost about $1.17 million each.
The basic 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 1990s era 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 a lot 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. After 2003, the MPs got all they wanted. Colombia noted the ASV success in Iraq and got some of their own.
The basic 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 armored trucks. Basic ASVs are 6.1 meters (20 feet) long and 2.6 meters (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, with plenty of room for additional gear but not a lot of people. That's why the stretched ICV version was developed. Iraq has also bought the ICV version.