Yugoslav military industry was pretty advanced back in the 1980’s and some really advanced armored vehicles like BVP-1 and M-84A were amongst the most competitive on the military market at the time. Still, the country went to a bloody civil war in 1990’s and the Serbian military industry also suffered a significant blow in 1999 when almost all its capacities were bombed by the NATO.
It took over 10 years for the once strong industry to market its first completely new product and it is quite refreshment in its class. Namely, the Lazar 2 MRAV shows the potential to be one of the most interesting concepts in this class worldwide, according to the tests conducted by the Pakistani police forces that had the chance to evaluate it.
Lazar 2 MRAV was designed as the further development of the Lazar MRAV concept which was developed for the Serbian armed forces. The aged arsenal of Serbian armored units was in need of the refreshment and since the greatest deficit was in the wheeled APC class the Lazar was the answer they needed. Still, due to certain imperfections of the initial design and the lack of funds, the concept was further developed into Lazar 2 variant and the purchases for domestic units are canceled until some better times.
Still, Lazar 2 MRAV turned out to be quite a successful concept and it was decided that it should go on the international market. The first potential operator is Pakistan as they have bought 3 of those vehicles for testing purposes and the initial order of 10 units was confirmed after that. Currently the Transparency International Pakistan has halted the delivery since there are some disputes about the way the Lazar 2 MRAV won the competition against its US and Russian counterparts.
Lazar 2 MRAV is an 8×8 wheel platform that can be produced in numerous variants and can answer different tasks on the battlefield. It can be an infantry personnel carrier, infantry fighting vehicle, or a vehicle for special purposes. Still, in all its versions it has some common features.
The first and the most important feature is its very good armor protection for this class of APC/AFV. It protects the crew from rounds fired from any weapon up to 14.5mm caliber and it protects against shells and splinters. The demonstration in Pakistan has proven its sturdiness as the testing procedure was quite unorthodox. Namely, the engineers of the Yugoimport SDPR (manufacturer of Lazar 2) and the representatives of the Pakistani army were sitting inside the vehicle while the grenades and shells were detonated in its vicinity. That kind of real situation test was the main reason why the Pakistani armed forces decided choose Lazar 2 although it is a completely new option on the market, still untested in real combat operations. The basic armor of Lazar 2 provides a NATO class IV protection but it can also be fitted with reactive cells and that increases its survivability even further.
Lazar 2 also has a V-shaped hull and the initial tests have shown impervious for most standard AT mines. Of course, the assessment of this segment can’t really be made until it faces the first real combat.
In AFV version it can carry 12.7mm to 30mm main gun in the turret and in that case it carries 3 crew members and 9 infantrymen. The infantry inside the vehicle has windows made of bulletproof glass and the ports for firing small arms from inside of the vehicle and that provides a close fire support of 360 degrees. The driver has 5 cameras at his disposal so even his view covers almost 360 degrees. This makes the entire vehicle very easy to handle in the real combat situation.
For unloading the troops it has a ramp on the back of the vehicle and that ramp is consisted of two separate doors which are used in emergency cases. With this approach, the troops have a high survivability chance as they can abandon the vehicle in a very short time and they are still protected by it even when they are outside. The driver and the commander have their additional doors on the sides of the vehicle as the emergency exits.
Lazar 2 MRAV is powered by a 500Hp diesel engine and each of its 8 wheels is independent so it can tackle even the roughest terrain.
Many additional features can be integrated in this concept in terms of navigation and communication and that makes Lazar 2 a very versatile vehicle that can and will find its way to the customers.