Chaiseri Unveils New 8×8 Amphibious Vehicle for RTMC

Chaiseri’s Armoured Wheeled Amphibious Vehicle
This is Chaiseri’s Armoured Wheeled Amphibious Vehicle 8x8 prototype, fresh from the factory floor. (Gordon Arthur)

Pride of place on Chaiseri Defense Vehicle’s stand at Defense & Security 2023 is a prototype of the new Armoured Wheeled Amphibious Vehicle (AWAV). This 8×8 vehicle has a curb weight of 23.2 tonnes and a payload capacity of 2.5 tonnes.

Chaiseri completed the AWAV prototype just in time to deliver it to Bangkok for the exhibition, but the company has already been awarded a contract to produce seven units for the Royal Thai Marine Corps (RTMC).

The contract worth $12.6 million (THB448 million) was announced by the Thai government on 3 August. In doing so, Chaiseri won out over competitor Panus Assembly with its R600, and the Defence Technology Institute (DTI) with its Black Widow Spider.

Confusingly, Chaiseri previously ascribed the same AWAV name to a 4×4 amphibious vehicle in the First Win family. However, the new 8×8 AWAV is a completely different vehicle.

The 8×8 vehicle is operated by a crew of three, and it can carry 11 passengers. In terms of ballistic protection it achieves STANAG 4569 Level 2, while its mine protection is rated as Level 3b.

Because it has only just been completed, the AWAV has not demonstrated its ability to swim yet via two rear-mounted waterjets. However, employees were confident about its amphibious capability given that they had previously designed the amphibious 4×4 AWAV.

Chaiseri said it expects to deliver the completed AWAV prototype to the RTMC before the end of 2024, at which time trials can commence by the Royal Thai Navy.

In terms of specifications, the slab-like vehicle is 9.2m long, 3.1m wide and 3.08m high. It has 380mm of ground clearance, and a 711hp engine offers a top road speed of 105km/h. In water it can travel 10km/h, or ford water that is 1.2m deep. A 600-litre fuel tank permits a combat range of 600km.

Alongside the AWAV, Chaiseri also exhibited the 11-tonne First Win Armoured Tactical Vehicle (ATV), which differs from the regular First Win in that it uses coil spring suspension instead of the usual solid axle with leaf springs.

Other 4×4 vehicles on display on Chaiseri’s stand were the 13.5-tonne First Win Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) and 10.5-tonne First Win Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV). The AFV is currently in production, with 48 ordered by Thai police.

Significantly, the ARV is about to undergo tests by the Malaysian Army. Kuala Lumpur already operates 20 units of the AV4, a variant of the First Win family, but it is seeking a similar vehicle that has a lower height profile.

Chaiseri enjoyed major success in selling 15 First Win vehicles to the United Nations, with these used by Bhutan for peacekeeping missions. That order involved the following variants: one First Win command vehicle, one ambulance, eight ATVs and seven First Win IIs. These were handed over to Bhutan in November 2021.

The final vehicle displayed by Chaiseri at Defense & Security 2023 was a First Win Armoured Ambulance, which has some improvements compared to the ambulance supplied earlier to Bhutan. The example on display was configured to carry two stretcher patients, but this could be increased to four depending upon customer requirements. The ambulance with an extended roof weighs 11.3 tonnes.

The white-painted ambulance was displayed with a CS-01 hybrid UAV mounted on the roof, but this was merely for display purposes since the aircraft is not an integral part of the vehicle’s equipment.

by Gordon Arthur