In June 2011, the Turkish Company FNSS signed a ‘letter of offer and acceptance’ by DRB-Hicom Defence Technologies (DefTech) for the design, development and manufacture of the vehicles. The AV8 vehicle selected by the Malaysian military was based on the FNSS-designed Pars 8×8 multi-purpose, multi-mission, wheeled armoured vehicle. The contract included technology transfer arrangements to Deftech and logistics support for the Malaysian army, positioning the vehicle and its 12 variants to become Malaysia’s first indigenous family of 8×8 armoured wheeled vehicle.
In April 2012, DefTech and FNSS presented the first scale model of the AV8 at the international defence exhibition, Defence Services Asia 2012 in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia’s DefTech will be the principal assembly agent, and its engineers will work with Nurol holding subsidiary FNSS to customise the vehicles for Malaysian requirements and equipment. South Africa’s Denel will reportedly build a 2-man turret for the APC, while Sapura-Thales was expected to become the systems integrator. The first prototype of the AV8 was presented in March 2013 to the public during the 80th Army Day anniversary celebration in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.
In April 2014, DefTech announced that the first 12 vehicles would start production in June 2014 and be delivered to the Malaysian Army by end of 2014. DefTech CEO Amril Samsudin also said that DefTech has received contracts from regional countries, like the purchase of nine units of armoured vehicles the previous year by Timor Leste's armed forces.
In December 2014, the AV8 was officially inducted into service with the Malaysian Army in a ceremony at the DefTech plant in Pekan. This delivery of the first 12 units represents a significant milestone in the AV8 programme.
The driver and the commander seats are located at the front of the vehicle, the turret in the middle and the troop's compartment at the rear. There is three large day periscopes at the front position of driver and commander and one on each side that provide excellent visibility. Eleven infantrymen can be seated at the rear of the hull on individual seats down each side of the hull facing inwards. All shock-absorbing seats are fitted with five-point seatbelts as standard. Back of the driver and commander position, there is an access passage to the troop compartment at the right side of the hull. The troops leave and enter the vehicle via a large hydraulic ramp mounted at the rear of the hull.