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ASCOD / Pizarro / Ulan / Ajax AIFV

ModelPizarro Ulan
Weight 26,3 tonnes 28 tonnes
(30.9 short tons)
Length 6,83 m 6.83 m
(26 ft)
Width 3,150 m 3.64 m
(12 ft)
Height 2,6 m 2.43 m
(8 ft)
Crew 3
Personnel7 men 8 troops
Main armament 30 mm Mauser MK 30-2
AMMUNITION 300 rounds
Secondary MG3 7.62 mmMG74 7.62 mm
Engine Diesel
Engine Power 600 hp 720 hp
Suspension torsion bar
Speed Road 70 km/h 72 km/h
RANGE 500 km
The Austrian Spanish Cooperative Development (ASCOD) family of mechanized infantry combat vehicles(in Austria named ULAN and in Spain Pizarro) was developed by Steyr division, Spezialfahrzeuge AG, in conjunction with the Spanish firm Santa Brbara Sistemas (both companies are now divisions of a unit of General Dynamics). The basic version carried six or eight infantry soldiers in addition to a three-man crew. Infantry Fighting Vehicles presented as examples designed for the prosecution of close combat, including Puma, CV90, and ASCOD, while extremely effective in conventional combats cenarios, are rather less useful for Stability, Humanitarian Assistance, and Counterinsurgency.

The Ascod/Pizarro AIFV initially had a combat weight of 24 metric tons, is armed with a Mauser 30 mm cannon, and carries up to six infantrymen. Because of the seven track rollers, the pressure on the ground is only 64.9 kPa. The road speed of the IFV Ascod is 70 km/h. What appeared remarkable and what made the Ascod one of the best IFVs was that its engine power was almost the same as that of the M60A3 MBT, but with only half of its weight (M-60 471 kW and a weight of 50.2 t, compared with 441 kW and 27.3 t [initially] of the Ascod which, moreover, has an automatic six-speed gearbox. The electrically-traversed two-man turret of this IFV is equipped with a thermal sight for the commander and the gunner and a laser rangefinder. The 30mm Mauser machine cannon is stabilized and has a rate of fire of 800 rounds per minute. Both high explosive and sub-caliber projectiles feed alternatively from the left or right, with the latter able to penetrate RHA steel of 120 mm from a distance of 1 km.

The ASCOD family included the LT 105, a light tank equipped with a 105 mm gun, a SAM launcher, an anti-tank missile launcher, mortar carrier, R&R vehicle, Command & Control vehicle, ambulance, artillery observer, and the AIFV model. The ASCOD was designed to replace older light armored fighting vehicles of the Austrian and Spanish armies, including the M113 armored personnel carrier.

The hull corresponds to the classical model with the engine to the right in the bow and also the driver. The two-man turret is located behind the engine right the middle of the vehicle. Eight (new) ergonomic seats for the rifle group are arranged to the left and behind the turret.

The hull is a self-supporting welded construction of quenched and tempered armor plates, which impresses with its inexpensive design. Due to the elimination of the four shooting hatches, the walls could be arranged vertically, which enabled a better armor and provided a larger crew compartment. The armor provides protection against 30 mm projectiles to distances of 1000m on both sides the driving vehicle longitudinal axis from the front; armor-piercing 14.5 mm projectiles to distances of 500 m on both sides the driving vehicle longitudinal axis from the front; 7.62 mm projectiles to distances of 30 m complete; and shard from 155 mm artillery. Apart from the standard armour, various additional armor protection is possible or provided at the Spz Ulan.

The German power pack system MTU/Renk serves as a drive the class 199 (8V-199), Ulan is first used in the Spz. The Hydromechanical, combined control, turn and steering box Renk HSWL is used as transmission 106 with six speeds, with four, five and six for the reversing the course locked are. The drive is usually strong and thermally stable (has an automatic motor squad when overheating) and very easy to maintain. A unit change for only 30 minutes (!) is possible through the use of quick-disconnect couplings (similar to the Leopard II).

The drive consists of seven wheels, the stator with the automated chain tensioning device and four followers. In the course of the developement of the infantry fighting vehicle "ASCOD", the Austrian Military Technology Agency carried out mobility tests in autumn 1993. The test objects were the infantery fighting vehicle prototypes ASCOD PT3 with a set of 7 roadwheels (each side)and ASCOD PT2 with a set of 6. The purpose of the test was to assess the advantages and disadvantages of a 7th set of roadwheels. On concrete surface there was no significant difference in acceleration. Both vehicles have very good pivoting ability, there was no horizontal offset while pivoting. On soft clay there was a great difference between PT3 and PT2. The advantages of the increase of ground contact length and the better force distribution are decisive in soft ground conditions.

The parallel test of the prototypes 2 and 3 of the ASCOD showed the advantages of the 7th roadwheel set, especially on soft ground like clay. In another test in Norway the same effects were observved on snow. The modification was not simply the addition of a 7th set of roadwheels; the suspension was tuned, too. Besides the cost of the additional elements a small problem was found.The close spacing of the wheels made it nececcary to mount the wheel arms in such a way that they turn in the same direction, so the vehicle sometimes had pitch problemes. The ground clearance of the vehicle front and rear was not always the same. In conclusion we can say that the modification from PT2 to PT3 was sucessful and resulted in a remarkable increase of off-road mobility.

Despite a lack of commercial success, compared to the Swedish CV90, the ASCOD was constantly improved by Santa Brbara Sistemas and Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug (both now General Dynamics). It was given a beefed up engine (up to 720hp), reworking either reactive and composite armour, replacing the troublesome RENK transmission (German-built isn't always better) with the Spanish-made SAPA, and so forth. General Dynamics upgraded the design further, increasing the engine power over 800hp and the combat weight up to 42 tons, plus new optronics and turret.

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Page last modified: 06-06-2021 18:20:02 ZULU