Personnel Carrier and Joint Light
Tactical Vehicle — both of which
are just entering the development
stage with potential contractors.
LAVs now are going to have to
last until 2035, James Streberger,
Survivability III team leader in the
LAV program, told an industry conference in Detroit this summer. The
Corps plans several upgrades for all
of the LAVs, with as much work as
possible being done at Marine Corps
maintenance depots in Barstow,
Calif., and Albany, Ga., in part because of budget constraints.
“We know we’re going to take
hits,” Streberger told the July con-
ference, sponsored by the Institute
for Defense and Government
Advancement. “And we need to
reduce our total full ownership
costs across the fleet.”
There have been two significant
upgrades to the LAVs since 1983: the
service life extension program of the older LAV-A1s from
1998-2002 and the LAV-A2 Survivability Upgrade that
ran from 2006 to 2010. General Dynamics Land Systems-
Canada was awarded a $42 million contract last year to
produce 33 upgraded LAV-A2s in various configurations.
In total, 240 LAV-A2 vehicles have been ordered by the
Marines since 2007. All but four of the Marines’ Authorized Acquisition Objective (AAO) of 930 LAVs are
operational and all are LAV-A2s. The Corps will support
an AAO of 930 vehicles “through a combination of depot-level repair and new procurement where depot-level repair
is not cost-effective,” said Capt. Nicole Fiedler, public
affairs officer for Marine Corps Systems Command.
However, more than 700 units of the earlier LAV-A1
continue on operational deployment today.
“This has been a pretty easy platform to upgrade,”
Streberger said. “It’s held up very well.”
All LAVs will benefit from a second survivability
upgrade project that includes added appliqué and belly
armor, which increased the LAV-A2s gross vehicle weight
by 4,000 pounds. Blast-resistant seats and an improved
suspension system to make the better-armored vehicle
more maneuverable also are planned. The project also
will add anti-lock brakes and a central tire inflation sys-
tem and other measures to improve ride quality.
The seat upgrade will provide improved survivability
with lower compression rates on crew and passengers’
spines, leg bones and necks. The new seats will have four-or five-point seat restraints, making the LAVs’ interiors
more protected from front, rear and side collisions.
U.S. MARINE CORPS
U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Joshua S. Lum, platoon commander for 3rd Platoon, E
Company, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, keeps watch from his
Light Armored Vehicle- 25 (LAV- 25) in Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 16,
2011, as part of Operation Rawhide II. The LAV- 25, a four-Marine combat scout
carrier operated by a crew of three and armed with an M242 25mm chain gun
and two 7.62mm machine guns, is the most common of the seven LAV variants.
However, some reconfiguring will have to be done
for the LAV- 25 variant. Bigger, blast-resistant seats
will not fit in at least one location, the rear where the
scout sits atop the fuel cells. Streberger said a separate
project is being evaluated to tackle the LAV- 25 seat
The LAV-A2 anti-tank variant is slated to receive
mission suite upgrades that include multiple reload
capability and the ability to acquire targets while on
the move, a precision long-range capability to destroy
tanks, an improved thermal sight, and an advanced
fire control system capable of firing current and next-generation heavy anti-armor missiles. Raytheon
Network Centric Systems in McKinney, Texas, in
April was awarded an engineering, manufacturing
and development cost-plus-fixed-fee contract worth
The LAV- C2 will be getting improved satellite communications, a new vehicular intercommunication
system, an onboard network with five computer
workstations, software and hardware for situational
awareness and fires support systems, and stationary
command operations center capability.
And the LAV-R is slated for an upgraded power takeoff winch, pump, hydraulic generator and Hub 30
Braden barrel winch. The new generator will supply
more power for electric tools and the welding system.
But plans for modernizing the LAV-M’s indirect fire
capabilities for the 81mm stowed mortar were shelved
earlier this year. ■