Sunday, May 1, 2022

Chile's Marines Finally Get Some Armor with Purchase from New Zealand

Chile's marines are finally getting some modern armored fighting vehicles with the purchase of NZLAV 8x8 vehicles from New Zealand's surplus inventory. The $19.8 million deal is for 22 NZLAVs, which are New Zealand's version of the LAV III and were built by General Dynamics Land Systems in Canada. The vehicles are armed with the 25mm M242 Bushmaster automatic cannon and a pair of 7.62 mm machine guns plus grenade launchers. It is used mainly for reconnaissance missions, and has been reinforced for mine protection, according to InfoDefensa. The LAV III model was the basis for the U.S. Stryker armored vehicle. Deliveries are set for this year and next. The acquisition gives Chile's marines a replacement for their FV-101 Scorpion light tanks. The NZLAV will likely form part of the expeditionary amphibious brigade, which often operates as an embarked battalion and is the centerpiece of Chile's modest amphibious force. Negotiations started about two years ago, when Chile expressed interest in buying the Coyote LAV from Canada, which is equipped with an advance set of sensors. Although that deal fell apart, a Canadian trade organization helped Chile make the deal with New Zealand.