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Light Armoured Vehicles on their way

Light Armoured Vehicles on their way

The first batch of seven Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVIIIs) is en route to New Zealand, and should arrive in Auckland on August 10, Minister of Defence Mark Burton announced today.

The LAVIIIs will give the NZDF infantry a high level of mobility and protection, offering the NZDF greater flexibility and capability when deploying.

Mark Burton said that the new LAVIIIs were a fundamental part of taking a 1960’s equipped Army into the 21st Century.

“It’s time our equipment matched the quality of our personnel. The LAVIII is widely considered to be the best mix of armoured protection and mobility available. Used by such defence forces as Canada, the USA, Ireland, Denmark, and Sweden, the LAVIII is fast becoming the M113 of its generation.

“The LAVIII offers our personnel improved standards of protection, as well as modular design and technology. This means that such features as communications, add-on armour and other protective systems can be upgraded over the vehicle’s 25-year life span.”

The first delivery of LAVIIIs was originally scheduled to arrive in February, but was delayed to install latest generation turrets, similar to those being supplied to the Australian Army. The NZDF is now scheduled to take possession of the LAVIIIs in late September, when an initial six-month training period will begin.

“We expect the first company group of fourteen LAVIIIs to be deployment ready by December 2004, with the first full battalion group of up to fifty-one LAVIIIs ready for overseas deployment by December 2005. Once the full complement has been introduced into service, we expect that fifty will be sent to Linton, forty to Burnham, ten to the Army Training Group in Waiouru, and five to the Trade Training School in Trentham.”

Deliveries will continue on a bi-monthly basis, and the NZDF expects to take possession of the final LAVIIIs in November 2004.

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