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First operational deployment of new Turkish FNSS MAV Zaha Amphibious Armored Vehicle.

| Defense News Army 2024

The Turkish Navy has successfully conducted its first operational deployment of the new Turkish-made MAV Zaha Marine Assault Vehicle during the Sea Wolf-1 2024 exercise. Held from January 7 to 16, 2024, this extensive naval drill took place across three strategic locations: the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Eastern Mediterranean.
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The FNSS MAV Zaha was used for the first time during the edition 2024 of the Turkish Navy military exercise Sea Wolf-1. (Picture source Turkish TV video report)

Rear Admiral Kaan Turkkan, Chief of Staff of the Turkish Naval Forces Command, outlined the objectives of Sea Wolf-1 2024. The exercise was designed to assess the operational command and control effectiveness of naval affiliated commands, elevate the preparedness levels of participating elements, and enhance the judgment, foresight, and decision-making abilities of both headquarters staff and participating units in challenging environments. Testing interoperability among various force commands and public institutions was also a key focus.

This large-scale naval exercise involved a formidable array of military assets, including eight frigates, three corvettes, 16 assault boats, seven submarines, and six mine-hunting ships. Additionally, the drill featured 47 auxiliary class ships, 13 patrol ships, nine landing ships, 10 aircraft, 17 helicopters, and 22 unmanned aerial vehicles. Specialized teams, such as five SAT mission teams and five SAS mission teams, along with amphibious marine infantry units and amphibious assault teams, were part of the exercise. The Land Forces Command contributed attack helicopters, while the Air Forces Command provided attack aircraft, airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, and target towing aircraft. The Turkish Navy's two search and rescue ships and six coast guard boats from the Turkish Coast Guard Command also played vital roles.

The MAV Zaha's deployment in this exercise marks a significant milestone for the Turkish Naval Forces, showcasing the advanced capabilities of this indigenously developed amphibious assault vehicle. The Zaha is equipped with the latest in ballistic and mine protection, and it excels in both land and water operations. Its inclusion in Sea Wolf-1 2024 underscores Turkey's commitment to enhancing its naval capabilities with cutting-edge, domestically produced military hardware.

The Sea Wolf-1 2024 exercise, with the participation of approximately 17,000 personnel and a wide range of military equipment, demonstrates Turkey's growing strength and self-reliance in the defense sector. It also reflects the country's strategic focus on safeguarding its interests in the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and Eastern Mediterranean regions.

The MAV Zaha, an advanced amphibious armored vehicle, has been delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces. The first batch of these Marine Assault Vehicles (MAVs) was officially handed over on March 25, 2023. Developed by FNSS Savunma Sistemleri, a prominent defense vehicle manufacturer in Turkey, the Zaha MAV is part of a contract to supply the Turkish Naval Forces with 27 vehicles. This contract includes 23 armored personnel carriers, two command and control vehicles, and two recovery vehicles.

The Zaha MAV stands out for its superior capabilities both on land and in water, offering enhanced performance compared to its predecessors. It features higher levels of ballistic and mine protection and is equipped with advanced mission equipment. One of its notable features is the CAKA Remote Controlled Turret, which enhances its firepower with a heavy machine gun and automatic grenade launcher.

This vehicle is specially designed to operate effectively in harsh sea conditions and is capable of self-righting in case of capsizing, a unique feature among amphibious vehicles. The MAV’s design allows for the transport of a significant number of personnel, alongside its advanced protection and performance capabilities. It is expected to operate from the Turkish Navy's landing helicopter dock (LHD) TCG Anadolu, providing a significant boost to the Turkish Naval Forces' amphibious assault capabilities.

In terms of technical specifications, the Zaha MAV can achieve a maximum speed of 70 km/h on land and 7 knots in water. It is designed to accommodate a crew of three, including a commander, driver, and gunner, and can carry an additional 21 dismounted troops. The vehicle's hydrodynamic hull enhances its mobility in water, and its design allows it to be launched from landing platform docks (LPDs) during amphibious assault missions.

The introduction of the Zaha MAV into the Turkish Naval Forces not only marks a significant enhancement in their amphibious assault capabilities but also reflects Turkey's growing competence in indigenous defense technologies.

First operational deployment of new Turkish FNSS MAV Zaha Amphibious Armored Vehicle 925 002
The MAV Zaha is the latest generation of tracked amphibious armored vehicles fully designed and manufactured in Turkey by the company FNSS. (Picture source FNSS)

Defense News January 2024

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