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The ASCOD is a new generation of tracked armored vehicles designed and developed jointly by the companies Santa Bárbara Sistemas (Pizarro) from Spain and Steyr from Austria which are now business units of General Dynamics European Land Systems. Survivability, mobility and reliability are the main features of this modular medium-weight armored vehicle.

Country users :


The ASCOD is a new generation of highly agile, tracked, medium-weight armored fighting vehicles whose main features are mobility, reliability, and protection. ASCOD stands for speed, optimal protection and immediate performance day-night regardless of weather conditions. The ASCOD can be easily transported either by train, sea, and air military transport.

History of ASCOD

The first ASCOD was developed in the ’90s between two companies, Empresa Nacional Santa Bárbara from Spain and Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug from Austria, which is now part of the business unit General Dynamics European Land Systems. At present, about 1,000 units of the different variants of the ASCOD have been manufactured or are under contract. The ASCOD is in service in Spain under the name of Pizarro and in Austria under the name of Ulan. The latest variant of the ASCOD was selected in September 2014 by the British army to replace the old CVRT family under the name AJAX. This £3.5 billion program consists of 589 vehicles in different variants; AJAX scout vehicle, ARES specialist support vehicle, APOLLO repairs and tow damaged vehicle, ATHENA mobile battlefield headquarters, ATLAS recovery vehicle, and ARGUS engineering equipment vehicle providing British troops with state-of-the-art and best-in-class protection in track vehicles.

ASCOD variants:

  • ASCOD IFV: Infantry Fighting Vehicle can be fitted with a two-man turret armed with one  30 or 40mm automatic cannon or an unmanned turret armed with 30mm automatic cannon and anti-tank guided missiles. 
  • ASCOD APC: Armoured Personnel Carrier can be fitted with a remote weapon station armed with one 12.7mm machine gun. The vehicle has a crew of three and can carry 6 infantrymen. 
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Technical Data

  • Armament

    The ASCOD GDELS new generation uses a common tracked-based platform that can be configured for different types of missions. It can be configured in APC (Armored Personnel Carrier), IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle), and many other variants. The APC variant of the ASCOD can be fitted with a dual-axis, gyro-stabilized Remote Weapon Station (RWS) mounted at the top front right of the troop's compartment which is armed with a 12,7mm machine gun. This RWS features full stabilization between the weapon’s Line of Fire (LOF) and the sighting system’s Line Of Sight (LOS) for superior targeting and high hit probability. The system enables target engagement with enhanced accuracy while maximizing crew protection from enemy fire. It allows a gunner to fire and aim from inside the vehicle thanks to LCD screens.

    The IFV variant can be fitted with a two-man turret armed with one 30 or 40mm automatic cannon and one 7.62mm caliber coaxial machine gun. The roof of the turret can be fitted with a remotely operated weapon station which can be armed with a machine gun up to 12.7mm caliber.
    ASCOD IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle tracked armoured General Dynamics European Land Systems Rafael turret APC details 001

    A Rafael RWS (Remote Weapon Station) is fitted on the ASCOD APC
    ASCOD IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle tracked armoured General Dynamics European Land Systems Ajax turret details 001
    The IFV variant of the ASCOD is fitted with a two-man turret armed with one 40mm automatic cannon

    At IDET 2017, a defense exhibition in the Czech Republic, the ASCOD tracked armored was fitted with the Israeli-made Samson Mk II RWS (Remotely Weapon Station). The Samson Mk II is a dual-axis, gyrostabilized, dual-sight (Gunner and Commander) remote-controlled weapon system armed with one 30mm cannon, one 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, and two anti-tank missile launchers Spike LR.

    ASCOD IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle tracked armoured General Dynamics European Land Systems Rafael turret details 001
    The ASCOD IFV can be also fitted with an unmanned turret armed with one 30mm automatic cannon and anti-tank guided missile launchers

  • Design and protection

    The new generation ASCOD uses a common tracked base platform that can be configured in different roles.ASCOD has an open electrical (power management) and electronic architecture (NGVA) which allows easy integration of current mission equipment and future upgrades on the platform.
    The internal layout of the vehicle means that the position of the power pack and transmission at the front and fuel tanks can be configured either on the side or at the back of the vehicle.
    The driver is seated at the front left of the hull with the power pack to his right. The hatch of the commander is located just behind the driver's position. The ASCOD can carry up to 11 people between crew and troop. The troop’s compartment is located at the rear of the hull. Troops enter and leave the vehicle via a large power-operated ramp in the rear, which has a manual door in the center.
    The ASCOD has a Gross Vehicle Weight of up to 45,000 kg with a maximum payload of up to 19,000 kg.

    The protection of the ASCOD new generation is designed to achieve a holistic solution. The basic hull structure is of all-welded steel armor construction. ASCOD provides ballistic protection by a modular system up to level 6 STANAG 4569. ASCOD achieves the highest level of protection against mine and IED blasts including a protected floor that avoids injuries in the crewmember legs and internal secondary projectiles. The latest ASCOD uses new modular armor and APS to increase protection against anti-tank missiles and RPGs (Rocket-Propelled Grenades).
    ASCOD IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle tracked armoured General Dynamics European Land Systems details 001
    Inside view of troops compartment of ASCOD APC

  • Mobility

    The ASCOD new generation is powered by MTU V-8 600kW or SCANIA V-8 810kW engine, coupled to an automatic Renk transmission with integrated reversing and steering gear, 6-speed. The ASCOD uses a torsion bar and trailing arm-type suspension with seven dual rubber-tired road wheels on either side, a drive sprocket at the front, an idler at the rear, and three track-return rollers.
    Rotary dampers are fitted at the first, second and sixth road wheel stations and a hydraulic track tensioning system operated by the driver is fitted as standard. It uses also new rubber band tracks to improve its mobility and reduce noise and vibration. The ASCOD offers maximum performance on any terrain due to the balanced combination of the power pack and running gear configuration. ASCOD can run at a maximum speed of 70 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 500 km. It can negotiate gradients up to 60%, a side slope of 40%, a fording depth of 1.5 m, and a pivoting diameter of 8.5m. ASCOD can manage a vertical obstacle up to 1 m and cross a trench of 2.5 m maximum.

  • Combat Equipment

    Standard equipment of the ASCOD GDELS new generation includes Fire Detection, Protection and Suppression system for the engine compartment, and crew compartment, NRBC (Nuclear Radiological Biological Chemical) protection system, and Environmental Control System that includes air conditioning, heating and ventilation.

    Local Situation Awareness System is fitted for 360º vision on the near field that enhances and aids driver operation. The NBC sensor suite includes detectors designed to alert the crew of a chemical attack or the existence of persistent chemical agents. In option, the vehicle can be fitted with advanced ground-based intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) equipment. The ASCOD can be equipped with a stabilized independent panoramic sighting system that provides the vehicle commander with 360° day/night long-range surveillance and target identification capabilities, independent of the turret orientation. The stabilized system enables on-the-move surveillance and target engagement. The ASCOD can be also fitted with a self-protection suite that includes laser warning receivers, missile-warning sensors, and an IR jammer.
    C2 and C4i equipment can be integrated from any of the principal suppliers.

    ASCOD variants for special purposes: recce, engineering vehicle, cargo, ambulance, etc., are fitted with necessary equipment like cranes, dozer blades, winches, mine plugs, mine rollers, stretches, etc.

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  • Armament

    - APC: One remote weapon station armed with a machine gun up to 12.7mm caliber
    - IFV: One 30 or 40 mm automatic cannon

  • Country users

    United Kingdom

  • Designer Country

    United Kingdom / Spain

  • Combat Equipment

    Fire detection system, passive night vision, fire suppression system, air conditioning, laser warning system, computerized fire control, active protection system

  • Crew

    APC: 3 + 6/8
    IFV: 3

  • Armor

    Steel and modular armor with protection up to Level 4/5 STANAG 4569

  • Weight

    Up to 42,000 kg

  • Speed

    65 km/h road speed

  • Range

    500 km

  • Dimensions

    Length: 6.98 m; Width: 3.15 m; Height: 2.09 m

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