The ASCOD (Austrian Spanish Cooperation Development) Family of Vehicles is a versatile and powerful land platform for current and future operation theatres which is operated by various NATO members countries. The modular design architecture offers adaptability and scalability and is remarkably cost-efficient for maintenance. The modular design means the platform can be tailored to a customer’s specific needs and requirements. With different payload capacities and growth potential and its alternative power pack and running gear.
An improved version of the ASCOD, called ASCOD 2, was developed by General Dynamics and was presented in 2004. The ASCOD 2 uses the more powerful MTU 8V 199T21 engine, which provides an output of 600 kilowatts (800 hp), together with a Renk HSWL 256 B transmission and Diehl 1028 tracks. It has an increased gross vehicle weight of 38 tons, with a growth potential to 42 tons. The ASCOD 2 has been presented as an IFV (with the SP-30 turret of the original ASCOD), as APC with raised roof and armed with an M2 machine gun (in a BAE Lemur remote weapon station) and as specialized APC for urban combat (designated ASCOD PSO).
These ASCOD vehicles have been developed using General Dynamics European Land Systems’ new “Common Base Platform Design” (CBP) with modular capability and open vehicle architecture with three power-pack solutions between 530, 600 and 800kW, either steel tracks or rubber bands and multiple configurations up to the crew of three plus 8 dismounts. The advanced CBP design ensures all ASCOD variants are on one common platform for a reduced logistics footprint. This also facilitates cross-national vehicle manufacturing and operational interoperability between different military users in response to the political vision to foster defence cooperation across Europe.
During Eurosatory 2018, General Dynamics European Land Systems presented a new variant of the ASCOD 2. The ASCOD medium main battle tank (MMBT), with a gross vehicle weight of 42 tonnes, is fitted with the Italian Leonardo Defence Systems HITFACT 120mm turret. This is also armed with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, a 7.62mm pintle-mounted gun and a 12.7mm remote weapon station on the roof. The 120mm smoothbore gun is coupled to a computerised fire control system, with the commander and gunner having stabilised day/thermal sights incorporating a laser rangefinder.
HITFACT® MkII turret, armed with 120mm/45 caliber gun and fitted for 105mm/52, provides accurate, responsive tactical capability to armed forces, worldwide. The three-man, power-operated turret can be installed on light to medium weight tanks and wheeled or tracked tank destroyers. The light-weight turret design and low-recoil characteristics of the gun ensure tactical mobility and high firepower for a strategic battlefield advantage. HITFACT® MkII, qualified and currently in production, is the state of art solution in terms of Firepower, Connectivity and Survivability.
The HITFACT® MkII represents a new stage in the evolution of the combat proven HITFACT® family, the first Large Caliber Turret in the world equipped with an high pressure MBT gun installed on a 8×8 wheeled vehicle, exceeding the 500 units in service with Italian and foreign Armies. The HITFACT® MkII has been modernized with the latest technologies available, in accordance with the future requirements of modern Armies all over the world and taking advantage of the lesson learned on the various operational theatres by the different Users, including the usage in extreme environmental conditions.
The combination of the HITFACT® MkII turret frame, made of high performance ballistic alloy, and the low recoil force gun allows the installation on board of light wheeled vehicles and medium tanks, providing the User with the same fire power of a Main Battle Tank with great accuracy, without impairing tactical and strategic mobility. In addition the turret can have a crew of 2 or 3 man and an automatic ammunition loading system, in accordance with the User requirement.
The HITFACT® MkII is a modular and light turret designed to integrate:
- 105/52 mm rifled as well as 120/45 mm smoothbore low recoil force guns;
- Secondary armament composed by different possibilities such as, 7,62mm coaxially mounted to the main gun, 12,7mm pintle mounted either manual or remotely operated (HITROLE® Light) and Smoke Grenade Launchers;
- Command and control, navigation system, communication systems and counter-IED system;
- Latest Kinetic generation ammunition with higher penetration capability and Multipurpose ammunition capable to counteract/defeat light armored vehicles, bunkers and dismounted infantry as a fire support system.
The ammunition for both the Main and Secondary Armaments are placed in the rear of the turret, in a dedicated space, ballistically separated from the crew compartment, in order to protect the operators from any possible event of deflagration. In addition the turret provides the Crew with enhanced safety against Mines and Improvised Explosive Devices by special solutions for the crew compartments including shock absorbers. The HITFACT® MkII digital FCS includes stabilized Gunner and Commander electro optical sights (both with Day and Night IR thermal cameras and eye-safe laser rangefinder), the capability to operate the HITROLE® Light (if included in the configuration), allowing the crew to undertake battlefield surveillance from a protected position, the back up sight, the Meteo sensor and the Laser Warning. HITFACT® MKII, qualified and currently in production, is the state of art solution in terms of Firepower, Connectivity and Survivability.
General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) received a contract from Elbit Systems. The vehicles will be fitted with the latest 105mm large-calibre turret and delivered to an Asian-Pacific customer over a period of three years. According to the website defence-blog.com, the customer is the Philippine Army and the contract is valued US$196M. With its modular design and open system architecture, the ASCOD can be outfitted easily for multiple roles, including as a Light Tank (LT) or Medium Main Battle Tank (MMBT) and equipped with large-calibre cannons up to 120mm. Three other nations – Austria, Spain and the UK – have selected the ASCOD as their preferred tracked armoured vehicle platform. The vehicles for the fourth customer will be branded with the name SABRAH.
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