Chaiseri Defense, a prominent Thai defense company, has made waves in the defense industry by unveiling its 8×8 Armoured Wheeled Amphibious Vehicle (AWAV) at the Defense & Security exhibition held in Bangkok. The AWAV, a significant addition to Thailand’s military capabilities, has garnered attention for its impressive features and capabilities. The AWAV, set to be delivered from mid-2024 onwards, comes with a substantial contract value of THB448 million (approximately USD12.6 million). This financial commitment underscores the confidence that the Royal Thai Marine Corps (RTMC) and the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) have in Chaiseri Defense’s innovative product. Furthermore, Chaiseri has expressed its intentions to explore export opportunities for the AWAV, potentially introducing it to the global defense market. The showcased AWAV at the exhibition is a prototype, but the company has already commenced production, with seven vehicles being produced for the RTMC under a contract awarded in August. These AWAVs will find their new home on the RTN’s Type 071E-class landing platform dock, which was ordered from China in 2019 and delivered in April 2023. The vessel is stationed at the Sattahip Naval Base.
Key specifications of the AWAV include a length of 9.2 meters, width of 3.1 meters, height of 3 meters, and a gross weight of approximately 25.7 tonnes. It boasts a powerful 711 hp engine, which provides a top speed of 105 km/h on land and 10 km/h in water, with a combat range of 600 km. The firepower of the AWAV is complemented by Escribano Mechanical and Engineering’s (EM&E) Guardian 1.5 remote weapon station, equipped with a 12.7 mm machine gun, along with secondary armament in the form of 76 mm smoke grenade launchers. In terms of personnel, the vehicle can accommodate 11 troops in addition to a three-member crew, including a gunner, commander, and driver. Notably, the AWAV is developed based on the First Win ATV and is part of the Royal Thai Marine Corps’ 4×4 Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle procurement project. What distinguishes the AWAV is its unique design, featuring a rearward-shifted engine similar to the First Win ATV, two waterjet propulsion units at the back, and a wave shield in the front, enabling it to navigate water bodies with ease.
At the Defense & Security exhibition, Chaiseri also showcased other remarkable armored vehicles, including the 11-tonne First Win Armoured Tactical Vehicle (ATV), which utilizes coil spring suspension as opposed to the traditional solid axle with leaf springs. Additionally, they displayed the 13.5-tonne First Win Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) and the 10.5-tonne First Win Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV). The AFV is already in production, with an order of 48 units placed by the Thai police. Significantly, the ARV is on the verge of undergoing rigorous testing by the Malaysian Army. Kuala Lumpur currently operates 20 units of the AV4, a variant of the First Win family, and is seeking a similar vehicle with a lower height profile. Chaiseri Defense has had a notable track record in the global defense market. Notably, they successfully supplied 15 First Win vehicles to the United Nations, which were subsequently used by Bhutan for peacekeeping missions. This order included a range of variants, including a command vehicle, ambulance, ATVs, and First Win IIs, all of which were delivered to Bhutan in November 2021.
Furthermore, Chaiseri displayed their First Win Armoured Ambulance at the exhibition, featuring improvements compared to the earlier ambulance supplied to Bhutan. This ambulance, with an extended roof, has a weight of 11.3 tonnes and can be configured to carry up to four stretcher patients, depending on the customer’s requirements. The exhibited ambulance also featured a CS-01 hybrid UAV mounted on the roof, although it’s important to note that the aircraft is not an integral part of the vehicle’s equipment. Chaiseri Defense’s impressive display at the Defense & Security exhibition in Bangkok has highlighted their commitment to innovation and excellence in the defense industry, offering a range of armored vehicles that cater to diverse military needs. With the introduction of the AWAV and its growing portfolio of armored vehicles, Chaiseri is poised to continue making significant contributions to the defense capabilities of the Royal Thai Marine Corps and other military forces around the world.