Komatsu LAV

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Komatsu LAV
JGSDF Light Armored vehicle 20120108-01.JPG
A Komatsu LAV on display with 1st Airborne Brigade markings.
Type Light armored vehicle
Place of origin  Japan
Service history
In service 2002-present
Used by Japan
Wars Iraq War
Production history
Designed 1997[1]
Manufacturer Komatsu
Unit cost ¥30 Million[2]
Number built 1855 (2014)
Specifications
Weight 4500 kg
Length 4.4 m
Width 2.04 m
Height 1.85 m
Crew 4+1 (MG or ATGM gunner)

Main
armament
Can mount the Sumitomo M249 LMG or Sumitomo M2HB 12.7mm machine gun. Can also mount the Type 01 LMAT or a Kawasaki Type 87 anti-tank missile.
Secondary
armament
None.
Engine 4-cylinder diesel
160 hp
Suspension 4x4 wheeled
Operational
range
500 km
Speed 100 km/h (Speeds can exceed 70mph)

The Komatsu LAV (Japanese: 軽装甲機動車; kei-sōkō-kidōsha?), first produced in 2002, is used exclusively by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, and has seen use in the Iraq War.[3] It is built by Komatsu Ltd. Defense Systems Division in Komatsu, Ishikawa, Japan.[4] Komatsu's factory designator for the vehicle is KU50W.[5]

The exterior resembles the Panhard VBL, used by the French army, but the LAV has 4 doors and a large cabin for carrying soldiers. The LAV can also be transported by air in vehicles like the CH-47J and the C-130H.[3][6]

History[edit]

The Komatsu LAV was developed in 1997 to meet a JGSDF need for an armored wheeled vehicle that could provide armored protection since their Toyota High Mobility Vehicles and Mitsubishi Type 73 Light Trucks were not adequate to provide protection from small arms fire.[1] They were initially created with the concept of a potential Soviet invasion during the Cold War before they were relegated to anti-terrorist/invasion operations.[7]

It had made its first appearance in Kuwait when JGSDF units had deployed the Komatsu LAV prior to humanitarian operations in Samawa.[8][9] An initial 400 LAVs were brought into JGSDF service in March 2005.[8] JASDF base security units are also equipped with the LAV as a main vehicle for patrols.[10]

Variants[edit]

A Komatsu LAV on display with Japanese Iraq Reconstruction and Support Group markings during a public exhibition. Note the shield on top on the vehicle to protect standing JGSDF soldiers from gunfire at all sides.
A Komatsu LAV with a JGSDF soldier firing a Kawasaki Type 01 LMAT during a public demonstration.

No variants are known to be available, but the vehicle appears to have been built in at least three production models, namely KU50W-0002K, KU50W-0003K and KU50W-0005K.[5]

Design[edit]

The Komatsu LAV has open-split roof hatch of the vehicle provides additional protection to the gunner from all directions, if it is locked in an upright position.[2][3] The vehicles deployed in Iraq are fitted with reinforced bulletproof windshields, wire cutters and a rotational armoured cover around the gun mount for extra protection.[3][2]

According to reports, the vehicle is bulletproof against 5.56 and 7.62 bullets.[3][2] It is unknown whether other bullet calibers can easily penetrate the LAV or not.

For the LAV's engine, it is fitted with a liquid cooled 4-cycle diesel engine of 160 hp.[3] The power pack is mounted centre forward of the vehicle to distribute weight more evenly between the axles. The propulsion system provides a top speed of 100 km/h, traveling more than 200 miles without refueling.[3][11] It is fitted with all run-flat tires. The low turning radius allows the vehicle to negotiate narrow passages.

The Komatsu LAV can be armed with the Sumitomo M249 LMG or Sumitomo M2HB 12.7mm machine gun for anti-personnel duties.[6] It can also mount the Type 01 LMAT or a Kawasaki Type 87 anti-tank missile for anti-armored missions. Smoke grenade dischargers can be mounted on the rear sides of the vehicle.[6]

Operators[edit]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Tamiya's Komatsu LAV Page". Tamiya. Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d "軽装甲機動車" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Komatsu LAV (Light Armoured Vehicle), Japan". Army Technology. Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  4. ^ "Komatsu Production Page". Komatsu. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  5. ^ a b "Komatsu LAV Prototype" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  6. ^ a b c "軽装甲機動車" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  7. ^ "Protected mobility- VEHICLES SLOW TO ACCELERATE IN ASIA". Defence Review Asia. 2012-12-20. Archived from the original on 2013-06-14. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  8. ^ a b Noah Shachtman (2007-03-19). "Japan's slick armored vehicle". Archived from the original on 2013-06-14. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  9. ^ a b "軽装甲機動車" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2013-06-14. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  10. ^ "ミリパワ的おもめず航空自衛隊 基地警備部隊車両編" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  11. ^ "軽装甲機動車 略称:LAV愛称:ライトアーマー" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 

References[edit]

  • Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary, Kenkyusha Limited, Tokyo 1991, ISBN 4-7674-2015-6

External links[edit]