MX-8 "Barako" AEV Mk 1/Mk 2/Mk 3

The MX-8 Armored Escort Vehicle (sometimes referred to as the Barako, or Wild Boar) was developed by Steelcraft Industries, Incorporated of Manila, Philippines in the mid-2000s as a low cost armored escort vehicle for the Philippine Army. The MX-8 was said to be a 100 percent Filippino design utilizing commercially available components. A 4x4 armored car with a 1-man turret armed with a 7.62mm machine gun, the was intended to escort motorized infantry convoys through hostile areas. This would free up heavier combat vehicles for other operations and reduce the dependance on improvised armored trucks then being used. The vehicle was said to cost around 6 million Philippine pesos, less than a third of the cost of the GKN Simba, one of the Philippine Army's primary combat vehicles.

Steelcraft Industries had also reportedly suggested that the MX-8's roles and armament options could be expanded depending on what needs the Philippine Armed Forces identified. The initial prototype (later referred to as the Mk 1) had been tested with a .50 caliber machine gun or 7.62mm M134 "Minigun" in the turret, as well as unidentified "rocket launchers."

In 2008 a Mk 2 prototype was announced with a revised internal arrangement, a independant front suspension, and various other minor modifications. Run-flat tired were also installed as standard. The turret was modified to have vision blocks all around, providing 360 degrees of vision for the gunner. Perhaps the biggest change was the increased ground clearance and installation of a v-shapped hull design. The Mk 2 was developed as a private venture and the modifications were not requested by the AFP.

A further improved Mk 3 appeared in 2009. It featured another minor redesign of the hull shape. By that time the 4 (2 Mk 1, 1 Mk 2, and 1 Mk 3) prototype vehicles were already in service with the Philippine Army and Philippine National Police.

The MX-8 Barako is a locally-built armored escort vehicle developed by Steelcraft for the Philippine Army. The MX-8 Barako armored vehicles were manufactured by Steelcraft Military Land Defense firm based in Balintawak, Quezon City. The project was the brainchild of a retired Army chief and was developed by the Philippine Research and Development Branch. The MX-8 prototype project started in 2005 and was carried out under the Self Reliant Defense Posture Law. Costing P6 million each, an MX-8 Barako has an armor level equivalent to the military’s Simba armored personnel carrier (APC) and mobility equal to a Humvee with short turning radius. The “Steelcraft Military Land Defense" agreement allowed 2 units of the MX-8 Barako armored vehicles, each mounted with a .50 caliber machinegun, to be purchased by a provincial government official.

The armed vehicle consumes less fuel and is easy to maintain. The Army can buy spare parts from any auto supply store. Tune up and change oil would cost around P2,500, compared to the Simba. The prototype military vehicle would cost only some P6 million, which is more than 80 percent of the price of the British made Simba armored personnel carrier.

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