Auckland, New Zeland (SPX) Apr 21, 2011
The New Zealand Defence Force has deployed Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to Bamyan Province in Afghanistan to support the Provincial Reconstruction Team.
"The vehicles bring us the capability we need to keep our personnel safer and operate more effectively in the north eastern area of Bamyan where the security threat is higher," says Commander of Joint Forces, Air Vice Marshal Peter Stockwell.
"While the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team has been able to successfully provide security to the province for eight years now, the north east is the most demanding part of our area of operations and requires a higher level of capability," says AVM Stockwell.
"This area of the province was where Lt Tim O'Donnell was killed last year, and it is where we have most often come into contact with armed insurgents."
The LAVs that have been deployed have undergone an upgrade programme based on recent allied developments for the vehicle. The upgrade affords a higher level of protection that has now enabled its deployment to the mission in Bamyan.
Also, following a successful mobility trial last year in the area and with ongoing improvements to the main roads in Bamyan, the NZ Defence Force has assessed that the LAV is now the best vehicle to provide the optimum mix of protected mobility, firepower and surveillance to meet the mission requirements.
"The deployed LAVs offer more protection than the present vehicles we are operating, they have a very effective range of weapons and an excellent optical system for surveillance. We have considered other types of vehicles, but the upgraded LAV provides the optimum protected mobility, combined with other capabilities, for our troops as they go about their tasks of providing security for the civilian population.
"The LAVs that we have deployed are state of the art and up there with the most modern derivative of the LAV operated by other defence forces. I am confident that they will do a great job for us in this difficult area, and provide the best protected mobility for our troops to enable them to succeed in their mission."
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