The Colombian Army has received new batch of 20 Textron M1117 GUARDIAN 4×4 armoured vehicles, donated by the USA. This marks the first batch of a total of 145 GUARDIANs to have been declared as US Army surplus and earmarked for Colombia. In August 2013, Textron was awarded a $31.6 million contract for 28 Commando APCs with remote turrets. Deliveries were scheduled to begin in November 2013 and be completed by April 2014. On 4 April 2016, the United States Department of Defence made public that Colombia acquired 54 new M1117 APCs. The Colombian Army uses the M1117 GUARDIAN Armored Security Vehicles in the protected transport role in internal security missions against terrorist groups.
The vehicle is a purpose-built 21st-century version of Cadillac Gage’s V-100 Commando family of Armored fighting vehicles which was used by the U.S. Army Military Police during the Vietnam War. The M1117 Guardian, also denoted Armored Security Vehicle (ASV) features an automated turret mounting a 12.7mm machinegun and a 40mm grenade launcher. At about 15 tons, the M1117 is lighter than the 20 ton Stryker ICV or 25 ton M2 Bradley armored vehicle. It can reach a speed of 20 miles per hour in 7 seconds. It is only 2.375 meters wide, compared to 3.594 meters for a Bradley. Buttoned up, the crew has 360° visibility. In size and capability, it fits between the Humvee and the $5 million Stryker. The crew compartment is fully air-conditioned.
The GUARDIAN uses an advanced modular expandable armor package from IBD Deisenroth Engineering, consisting of ceramic composite applique on the exterior and spall liner on the interior. The Guardian’s armor is designed to defeat small arms fire, mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The armor is angled presenting no vertical surfaces, deflecting many rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) hits. If an RPG does hit the vehicle directly, it can still function, although crew survivability varies depending on the location at which the RPG hits. Angled armor is more resistant to attack than vertical armor due to the shape of the V-shape hulls deflecting explosive forces, as opposed to a single-plane hull which takes the entire force impact.
The typical mission profile of an ASV involves 50% travel primary roads, 30% travel on secondary roads, and 20% cross-country travel. It uses a model MD3560 Allison Transmission. Front and rear independent suspension provides smooth highway speeds of up to 70 mph (110 km/h), while it is capable of fording 5-foot (1.5 m) depths of water, climbing gradients of 60%, negotiating 30% side slope, and overcoming obstacles of five feet. Its turning radius is 27.5-foot (8.4 m), and it has 18-inch (46 cm) ground clearance. Six GUARDIANs can be carried on a single Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlift aircraft, fully loaded and ready to roll off. Also, the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is able to carry one ASV.