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Komatsu LAV
Komatsu LAV - 1
A Komatsu LAV on display in October 2007, at the JGSDF Ordnance School in Tsuchiura, Kanto, Japan.
Type Light armored vehicle
Place of origin Flag of Japan.svg Japan
Service history
In service 2002-present
Used by Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
Wars Iraq War
Production history
Designed 1997[1]
Manufacturer Komatsu
Specifications
Weight 4500 kg
Length 4.4 m
Width 2.04 m
Height 1.85 m
Crew 4+1 (MG or ATGM gunner)

Primary
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 Ground Self Defense Forces, and has seen use in the Iraq War.[2] It is built by Komatsu Ltd. Defense Systems Division in Komatsu, Ishikawa, Japan.[3] Komatsu's factory designator for the vehicle is KU50W.[4]

The outside 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.[5][6]

HistoryEdit

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]

It had made its first appearance in Kuwait when Japan Ground Self-Defense Force units had deployed the Komatsu LAV prior to humanitarian operations in Samawa.[7]

VariantsEdit

Komatsu LAV - 2

A Komatsu LAV, with no weapons mounted, displayed at the JGSDF Ordnance School in Tsuchiura, Kanto, Japan.

JGSDF Light Armored vehicle 20070107-02

Komatsu LAV during annual Narashino exercises with smoke grenade dischargers.

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.[4]

DesignEdit

The Komatsu LAV has open-split roof hatch of the vehicle provides additional protection to the gunner from all directions.[6] 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.[6]

For the LAV's engine, it's fitted with a liquid cooled 4-cycle diesel engine of 160hp.[6] 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 100km/h, traveling more than 200 miles without refueling.[6][8] It is fitted with all run-flat tyres. 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.[5] 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.[5]

OperatorsEdit

  • Flag of Japan.svg Japan: At least 1746 in use by the JSDF as of 2012.

See alsoEdit


ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Tamiya's Komatsu LAV Page". Tamiya. Retrieved on 2012-10-25.
  2. "Komatsu LAV (Light Armoured Vehicle), Japan". Army Technology. Retrieved on 2012-10-25.
  3. "Komatsu Production Page". Komatsu. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved on 2012-10-25.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Komatsu LAV Prototype" (in Japanese). Retrieved on 2012-10-25.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "軽装甲機動車" (in Japanese). Retrieved on 2012-10-25.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "Komatsu LAV (Light Armoured Vehicle), Japan". Army Technology.
  7. Five for Fighting 3/19/07.
  8. "軽装甲機動車 略称:LAV愛称:ライトアーマー" (in Japanese). Retrieved on 2012-10-25.
  • Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary, Kenkyusha Limited, Tokyo 1991, ISBN 4-7674-2015-6
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