British defense contracting giant BAE Systems has recently revealed that they have secured a new contract to provide Japan with modern amphibious assault vehicles. BAE Systems actually has a long-standing relationship with Japan, so this agreement comes as little to surprise to most. This new agreement also comes hot on the heels of China vowing to strengthen their own military capabilities.
Dean Medland, vice president of programs at BAE Systems’ Combat Vehicles business, said the following about the new contract:
We’re proud to support the Japanese military’s recapitalization by providing this enhanced amphibious capability. As the original aircraft equipment manufacturer of the AAV fleet, we have a strong history of supporting this platform.
The new contract calls for BAE Systems to provide Japan with 30 AAV7A1 Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability/Rebuild to Standard (RAM/RS) vehicles, as well as all the necessary tools and equipment for maintenance. AAV7A1 RAM/RS vehicles act as a quick and efficient way to make the transition from water to land. The vehicles are buoyant but also feature treads, so they can function in a variety of conditions both at sea and on land. Primary vehicle armaments are usually MK 19 40 mm grenade launchers, while the most common secondary armaments are M2HB .50-calibur machine guns. The version BAE Systems is building for Japan will feature a more powerful engine, an improved suspension system, and a greater mobility when compared to the regular model.
BAE Systems is expecting to being working on these new vehicles as early as this August, with final delivery to Japan set for late 2017. As China continues to expand their military, Japan will surely continue to takes defensive measures of their own. Look for Japan to collaborative with even more defense contractors in the years to come.
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