For a country consisting of over 17,000 islands the capability to project land forces across the water is a critical concern for Indonesia’s military. Yet, its amphibious assault capabilities have been largely limited to Soviet era BTR-50s.
The Republic of Korea donated some LPTP-7s to Indonesia’s Korps Marinir in 2009 (hoping to spur a larger order). Instead an order was place to Russia to supply its BT-3F. The last ordered in 2020 may now be at risk due to demands of the war in Ukraine.
Possibility anticipating the further needs of its military for suitable amphibious vehicles Indonesia’s state-owned industry PT-Pindad has formed a collaboration with Turkish FNSS. They will produce FNSS’s Zaha Marine Assault Vehicle (MAV) in country. This is in line with the Government’s objective of increasing the county’s defense manufacturing capabilities whenever possible.
Zaha MAV is a full-tracked equipped with a 500 hp diesel engine mounted forward mated to an automatic transmission. Water propulsion is through two rear located water-jets providing a speed of 13 kmph (7 nmph). The unique hull design and jet propulsion offer exceptional handling even in high surf including being self-righting. Zaha’s rear troop compartment can carry up to 18 soldiers who exit using a rear powered ramp. It can be armed with a remote weapon station with a .50 machinegun and 40mm automatic grenade launcher.
The MAV is available in troop carry, command, and offers a platform for other variants. The vehicle can be embarked on amphibious landing ships and launched even while underway then proceeding to the beach.
FNSS is under contract to deliver twenty-seven MAVs to the Turkish Navy in 2022. The two companies have previously successfully cooperated on joint production of the Kaplan MT Modern Medium Weight Tank (MMWT).
by Stephen W. Miller