The Zaha marine assault vehicle (MAV) is a new amphibious armoured vehicle developed by FNSS Savunma Sistemleri under contract to Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) to meet the requirements of the Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC). In 2017, FNSS signed an agreement with the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) of Turkey for the development of new amphibious armoured vehicles for the Turkish Navy. The development was initiated by FNSS under the project, Zırhlı Amfibi Hücum Araçları (ZAHA). Within the project, FNSS will deliver a total of 27 vehicles, including 23 personnel carriers, two command and control vehicles and two recovery vehicles. In addition to enabling the safe landing of units during amphibious operations, the armored amphibious assault vehicles also serve as armored personnel carriers after reaching the shore.
The base platform of the amphibious vehicle will have a crew of 3 (commander, driver, and gunner) and can carry 21 dismounts who can rapidly be deployed via the rear power-operated ramp. The Zaha features a fully sealed hydrodynamic hull design with a self-righting capability and is powered while afloat by two water jets mounted either side at the rear, giving a maximum speed of up to 7 kts. These are run from a power take-off from the front-mounted powerpack, which consists of a diesel engine coupled to a fully automatic transmission giving a maximum land speed of up to 70 km/h. The vehicle design configuration enables the operators to launch the vehicle from landing platform docks (LPD) during amphibious assault missions. Turkey is expected to use its LPD Anadolu to deploy the MAVs.
The amphibious personnel carrier variant is fitted with a FNSS-developed remote-controlled turret armed with a stabilised .50 calibre M2 HB machine gun and a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher (AGL). The turret has a day/thermal sighting system to enable targets to be engaged under almost all weather conditions. The aluminium hull offers protection to the on-board crew against ballistic threats and mine explosions. It also features a coaxially-mounted smoke grenade launcher, and a dedicated system that offers protection against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons. The protection features of the MAV are further improved with the application of applique armour plates and cathodic protection. Other systems installed aboard the vehicle include an air conditioning system, an explosion detection and suppression system, countermeasure systems and the ability to lay smoke by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust outlet in the side of the hull.