Turkey unveils a cutting edge innovative marine assault vehicle

FNSS Savunma Sistemleri, a leading Turkish defense company, unveiled a video on July 6, 2023, via their Twitter account. The video provided a tantalizing first look at the ZAHA [Zırhlı Amfibi Hücum Aracı – Armored Amphibious Assault Vehicle] and its extraordinary amphibious capabilities.

Known as the Marine Assault Vehicle [MAV], the ZAHA is a product of FNSS’s innovation. Its advanced design and superior performance both on land and in water make it the most coveted armored amphibious assault vehicle. It’s versatility has not only made it a key player in amphibious operations but also a formidable rival to the USAAV741, introduced in the 1970s. 

This versatile vehicle was born out of the Armored Amphibious Assault Vehicle [Zırhlı Amfibi Hücum Araçları, ZAHA] project. A venture by the Presidency of Defense Industries [SSB] to cater to the needs of the Turkish Naval Forces. Its water-resistant hull and tracked chassis enable the ZAHA to perform in both maritime and land settings. 

As per the Army Recognition editorial team in March 2023, the Turkish armed forces are set to welcome 27 of these vehicles into their arsenal. Among these, 23 will serve as personnel carriers, while two are designed as command vehicles and two as rescue vehicles. 

Turkey unveils a cutting edge innovative marine assault vehicle
Video screenshot

The ZAHA is not just about speed and versatility, it also offers maximum protection. Its aluminum hull shields against small arms fire and artillery shell fragments. It accommodates up to 21 infantry soldiers and features a hydraulic ramp at the rear for swift troop entry and exit. 

Its propulsion capabilities are just as impressive. Equipped with rear water jets, the ZAHA can zip through water at a maximum speed of 13 km/h [7 knots], setting it apart from the AAV7A1 during amphibious operations. 

In the crucial beach landing phase of amphibious operations, the Zaha MAV vehicles are deployed from assault helicopter carriers. They swiftly cover the distance between ship and shore, allowing marine units to disembark under armored protection. 

What sets this vehicle apart is the CAKA remote weapon station mounted on the hull. It provides substantial firepower with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun or a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher. This feature allows operators to control the weapon remotely, reducing crew exposure during firing operations. 

Interest in the ZAHA

NATO member countries have shown keen interest in the ZAHA, thanks to its high performance and innovative design. Nations including Indonesia are contemplating to acquire this vehicle to boost their amphibious capabilities. Its armored protection during beach landing operations makes it an appealing choice for military forces worldwide. 

Hence, the ZAHA isn’t just an asset for the Turkish Naval Forces but also a top choice for nations looking to enhance their amphibious capabilities. With its unparalleled performance and versatility, it stands as the best armored amphibious assault vehicle in its class.


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