TANGI VALLEY, Afghanistan - The Australian Standard Light Armoured Vehicle is a highly mobile, reconnaissance vehicle capable of operating in harsh terrain.

On Mar. 29, the ASLAV demonstrated its potential by intimidating Taliban, protecting innocent civilians and providing support for soldiers of Combat Team C, Mentoring Task Force 2, Combined Team Uruzgan during a firefight in Tangi Valley, Afghanistan.

Australian soldiers were interacting with villagers from the local community when they received hostile fire from the mountainside.

Even though there is an element of danger with every enemy contact, in this instance, the team felt very secure because ASLAVs were parked on a nearby hilltop, providing support and suppressing the enemy, said Australian Army Cpl. James R. Stone, a section commander for Combat Team C, MTF 2, CTU.

"They [the Taliban] tend to stay fairly low and their rate of fire is reduced when the LAVs are on the hill," said Australian Army Lt. McLeod Wood, a troop leader for 2nd Cavalry Regiment, MTF 2, CTU. "They know that we can shoot out to 3 kilometers with very accurate fire."

Stone, an Ulverstone, Tasmania, native said the presence of the ASLAVs probably reduced the size of the enemy attack. Before the light armoured vehicles arrived, the insurgents were actually planning a large attack and setting up heavy weapons for an ambush.

"They can set up whatever heavy weapon they'd like," said Australian Army Warrant Officer Class 2 Tony Pratt, a team sergeant major for Combat Team C, MTF 2, CTU. "We'll just set up an even heavier weapon."

After Combat Team C called in for ASLAV support, the team intercepted an enemy radio transmission stating the Taliban did not like their chances against the armored vehicles and planned to have many of their forces stand down, said Pratt, a Sydney, Australia, native.

"They call us the Red Rat Tank because of the red kangaroos painted on the side of our vehicles," said Wood, a Darwin, Australia, native. "Whenever we're around they always focus on us."

Wood said when the enemy finally decided to attack, they did so hidden at a distance in attempt to avoid the ASLAVs, but their efforts were in vain.
Shortly after the first shots were fired, a hail of 25mm rounds from the ASLAVs' cannons peppered the insurgents' location, lighting up the evening sky.

The Taliban stopped firing and Combat Team C returned to their base unharmed, after completing their mission.

"I'm happy with the way things went," said Pratt. "The LAVs just provide that extra support. We're lucky to have them."