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First Operational Deployment for Turkish Navy’s MAV Zaha Marine Assault Vehicles


First Operational Deployment for Turkish Navy’s MAV Zaha Marine Assault Vehicles

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The Turkish Navy marked a historic moment with the first operational deployment of the indigenous FNSS MAV Zaha Marine Assault Vehicle during the Sea Wolf-1 2024 exercise. Spanning from January 7 to 16, 2024, this strategic naval drill unfolded across the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Eastern Mediterranean, solidifying Turkey’s commitment to maritime security and the advancement of its naval capabilities. Designed to assess operational command and control effectiveness, elevate preparedness levels, and enhance decision-making abilities in challenging environments, Sea Wolf-1 2024 showcased the interoperability among various force commands and public institutions. The exercise featured an impressive array of military assets, underscoring Turkey’s commitment to maintaining a robust and versatile naval force.

At the forefront of this display was the FNSS MAV Zaha Marine Assault Vehicle, an amphibious armored vehicle designed to navigate both land and water seamlessly. The successful deployment of the MAV Zaha demonstrated its operational readiness and marked a significant milestone for Turkey’s defense industry. The exercise brought together eight frigates, three corvettes, 16 assault boats, seven submarines, and six mine-hunting ships. In addition to these, the naval drill featured a diverse range of assets, including 47 auxiliary class ships, 13 patrol ships, nine landing ships, 10 aircraft, 17 helicopters, and 22 unmanned aerial vehicles. Specialized teams, such as SAT and SAS mission teams, alongside amphibious marine infantry units and assault teams, showcased their capabilities, further validating the Turkish Navy’s operational preparedness.

FNSS Zaha Marine Assault Vehicle (MAV)
FNSS Marine Assault Vehicle (MAV). (Photo by FNSS)

The Zaha marine assault vehicle (MAV) is a new amphibious armoured vehicle developed by FNSS Savunma Sistemleri, a defence vehicle manufacturer based in Turkey. Designed to support dual operations based on their mission requirements, armoured amphibious assault vehicles need to ensure superior capabilities both at sea and on land. The Zaha MAV boasts a water-resistant hull, showcasing superior amphibious characteristics. Its fully sealed hydrodynamic design not only enhances mobility in water but also offers self-righting capability. Powered by a diesel engine mounted on the forward hull, the Zaha MAV features a fully-automatic transmission system. In amphibious mode, two rear-mounted water jets propel the vehicle, achieving a maximum speed of 7 knots. On land, the MAV can reach a maximum speed of 70 km/h, showcasing its versatility across different terrains.

The armoured personnel carrier variant, the purposely designed CAKA dual remote-controlled turret that can be armed with a 0.50 caliber M2 heavy barrel machine gun and a 40mm AGL, is tailored for diverse operational needs. The aluminum hull ensures protection against ballistic threats and mine explosions, complemented by a coaxially-mounted smoke grenade launcher and a dedicated system guarding against nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons. Manned by a crew of three – a commander, a driver, and a gunner – the Zaha MAV ensures optimal efficiency in the field. The driver takes the front seat, with the commander’s hatch following closely. Positioned in the middle, the gunner’s compartment provides a clear panoramic view, enabling efficient tracking of enemy movements. Additionally, a spacious rear compartment accommodates cargo and up to 21 dismounted troops.

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