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Armored reconnaissance vehicle


The LAV-25 armored vehicle has a number of variant based on its chassis

Entered service 1983
Crew 3 men
Personnel 6 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 12.7 t
Length 6.39 m
Width 2.5 m
Height 2.7 m
Main gun 25-mm cannon
Machine guns 2 x 7.62-mm
Engine Detroit Diesel 6V53T diesel
Engine power 275 hp
Maximum road speed 100 km/h
Amphibious speed on water 10.4 km/h
Range 668 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 0.5 m
Trench 2 m
Fording Amphibious


   In the 1980s the US Marine Corps (USMC) began looking for a light armored vehicle to give their divisions additional mobility. They selected a design, that had its origins in Switzerland. The Light Armored Vehicle or LAV, is an 8x8 variant of the MOWAG Piranha I, license produced by General Motors of Canada for the US Marine Corps.

   The LAV closely follows the overall layout of the Swiss Piranhas, as do the 6x6 Canadian armed forces models. It entered service with the USMC in 1983. A total of 758 8x8 LAVs of all variants were ordered. It replaced the slower M113 armored personnel carriers and other armored vehicles. At the time of its introduction the US Army was also interested in these vehicles, however no orders were placed. The LAVs first saw combat during operations in Panama in 1989. Many saw action during various military conflicts. By 2007 marines fielded more than 700 LAVs of all variants. This armored vehicle was exported to Australia (ASLAV) and Saudi Arabia.

   Even though the LAV-25 is basically a heavily-armed armored personnel carrier, it combines speed, mobility and firepower to fulfill a variety of missions. In the USMC it is used as a fighting vehicle for reconnaissance roles, raiding and screening operations, where its mobility can best be exploited. Dismounted scouts are supported by the firepower of the vehicle.

   The LAV-25 is a baseline version, fitted with a turret-mounted 25-mm Bushmaster chain gun. The same weapon is used on the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. Secondary armament consists of coaxial M240 7.62-mm machine gun and another M240 machine gun, mounted on top of the turret roof. There are also eight smoke grenade dischargers.

   The LAV-25 has a welded hull and turret. It provides protection against 12.7-mm rounds at the front arc. All-round protection is against 7.62-mm rounds and artillery shell splinters. It is worth mentioning, that vehicles offered for the US Army were better protected.

   The LAV-25 has a crew of three and accommodates six marines. Occupants enter and leave the vehicle via rear doors and roof hatches.

   The LAV-25 is powered by Detroit Diesel 6V53T turbocharged diesel engine, developing 275 hp. Configuration can be switched from 8x4 (rear) to 8x8. This armored vehicle is equipped with a central tyre inflation system and run-flat tyres. A self-recovery winch is fitted as standard. Mobility of this armored vehicle allows to move in advance of Marine mechanized formations, equipped with main battle tanks.

   The LAVs are amphibious with minimum of preparation and are capable of fording streams, rivers and inland waterways. This armored vehicle is made fully-amphibious within 3 minutes. It is air-transportable by a C-130 Hercules or larger military transport aircraft and can be also carried underslung by the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter. The LAV-25s have been para-dropped.

   LAVs in service have undergone some upgrades, modification and armor-increase projects involving armor tiles. Upgraded vehicles are renamed the LAV-A2. It is worth noting, that these armored vehicles are expected to remain in service with the US Marine Corps at least until 2024.




   LAV-25 baseline version.

   LAV-R recovery vehicle.

   LAV-L supply carrier.

   LAV-M 81-mm mortar carrier.

   LAV-C2 command and control vehicle.

   LAV-AT anti-tank missile carrier, armed with TOW missiles.

   LAV-MEWSS electronic warfare vehicle.

   LAV-AD air defense vehicle, fitted with combined gun/missile armament. This version was later discontinued.

   LAV-105 fire support version, armed with a 105-mm tank gun. It evolved form the LAV-AG (Light Armored Vehicle, Assault Gun). It was to be the primary fire support vehicle of the LAV I series. A couple of prototypes of this fire support vehicle were delivered for the USMC for testing in the early 1990s. However design ultimately proved unworkable due to excessive recoil force and the LAV-105 was not accepted to service.

   LAV-90 fire support vehicle, armed with a 90-mm gun. It was developed in the 1990s following the failure of the LAV-105. The USMC attempted to resurrect the LAV-AG program, via the LAV-90. This vehicle was essentially an LAV I equipped with the Cockerill turret, armed with a smaller Mecar KEnerga 90-mm gun, but the test firings once again overwhelmed the chassis and suspension. This project was also rejected by the USMC.

   Other proposed LAV variants for the Saudi Arabian National Guard order (which stands at a total of 1 117 of all types) include a 120-mm mortar carrier, an air defense version.

   From these initial models have emerged a host of others with the basic LAV's capacious hull being configured for example, to accommodate long range reconnaissance equipment. There has even been a proposed 'disputer' version to clear unexploded ordnance from airfields but the development funds were withdrawn. An NBC reconnaissance version has been produced but was not proceeded with.


Video of the LAV-25 armored reconnaissance vehicle









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