Australia awards contract to BAE Systems to convert M113AS4 armored in autonomous vehicle
According to information released by the Australian Minister for Defence Industry, Hon Melissa Price on August 7, 2020, Australia has awarded $7.7 million contract with BAE Systems Australia to convert 16 M113AS4 Armoured Personnel Carriers into Optionally Crewed Combat Vehicles (OCCVs), increasing the OCCV fleet available to 20 vehicles and support experimentation over two years. Conversions will be conducted in South Australia by BAE and in regional Victoria by Defence’s Joint Logistic Unit (Victoria).
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An autonomous version of Australian army M113AS4 tracked APC Armored Personnel Carrier. (Picture source Australian MoD)
Australian Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the development of robotic and autonomous systems are central to meeting Australia’s future operational challenges, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and combat operations.
In November 2019, the Australian Army has demonstrated a pair of autonomous armored vehicles M113AS4 that it will use to study how robots will impact the battlefield of the future. At the Majura Training Site in the Australian Capital Territory, two specially modified M113AS4 tracked armored vehicles carried out battlefield simulations while the Chief of the Army looked on.
The two M113AS4 were converted by BAE Systems featuring manual control, teleoperation, autonomous waypoint navigation, and follow the leader capabilities.
The M113AS4 is the standard Armored Personnel Carrier in service with the Infantry Mechanized units of the Australian Army. It will be replaced by the Boxer, an 8x8 armored vehicle. Australian MoD (Ministry of Defense) has signed contracts with Rheinmetall Defence Australia to deliver and support 211 Boxer 8x8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) for the Australian Army.
The M113AS4 is an Australian-made upgrade of the old M113AS1 and M113AS3 which are based on the American M113A1 tracked armored personnel carrier (APC), one of the most popular light tracked APC in the world. The project of the Australian M113 upgrade was led by BAE Systems.