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LAV-25

Armored reconnaissance vehicle

LAV-25

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

 
 
Country of origin United States
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
Armament
Main gun 25 mm cannon
Machine guns 2 x 7.62 mm
Ammunition load
Main gun 420 rounds
Machine guns 1 320 rounds
Mobility
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
Maneuverability
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, such as the Grizzly. It entered service with the USMC in 1983. A total of 758 8x8 LAVs of several variants were ordered and fielded. It replaced in service the slower M113 tracked armored personnel carriers and other armored vehicles. At the time of its introduction the US Army was also interested in these wheeled armored vehicles, however no orders were eventually placed. The LAVs first saw combat in 1989 during operation in Panama. These vehicles were widely used during various other military conflicts. 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 a 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. Interestingly vehicles offered for the US Army were better protected.

   The LAV-25 has a crew of 3 and accommodates 6 Marines. Soldiers enter and leave the vehicle via rear doors. Also there are roof hatches for observation, firing and emergency exit.

   The LAV-25 is powered by Detroit Diesel 6V53T turbocharged diesel engine, developing 275 hp. Engine is mated to an Allison automatic transmission with 5 forward and 1 reverse speeds. This armored vehicle has selectable 8x8 or 8x4 configuration. Two front axles can be disengaged when driving on hard surface roads in order to increase road range. 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 M1A1 Abrams 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 add-on armor tiles. Upgraded vehicles are known as LAV-A2. However despite all improvements these lightly armored vehicles are showing their limitations on modern battlefield.

   In 2018 a modified Italian IVECO SuperAV armored personnel carrier was selected as a winner of the USMC Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) program, which called for a LAV series replacement. This new 8x8 armored vehicle has significantly improved ballistic and mine protection. It has a crew of 3 and can carry up to 13 Marines. The ACV can self-deploy from amphibious assault ships and swim significant distances from ship to shore. A contract was awarded to for the delivery of first 30 production vehicles. More ACVs will be ordered in the near future. It is planned that first production ACVs will enter service in 2019-2020. These will be produced at BAE Systems plants in the United States. However upgraded LAV series armored vehicles are expected to remain in service with the US Marine Corps until at least 2024.

 

Variants

 

   LAV-25 baseline version, described above.

   LAV-R recovery vehicle.

   LAV-L supply carrier. This logistics vehicle carries ammunition and other battlefield supplies under armor.

   LAV-M mortar carrier with 81 mm mortar.

   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 spacious 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.

   LAV-25A1 is an upgrade of original LAV series vehicles under a Service Life Extension Program. Many minor modifications were made to the vehicles in the late 1990s.

   LAV-25A2 is an upgraded version with add-on armor tiles and some other modifications. Upgrades were initiated in 2004-2005.

   LAV-25A3 is a further upgrade. In 2019 a contract was awarded to upgrade the a total automotive components LAV fleet. Initial contract was for 60 upgrade kits that should be installed by 2021. The upgrade kit includes improvements to the powerpack and new drivetrain.

 

 

 
LAV-25

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LAV-25

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LAV-25

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LAV-25

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LAV-25

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LAV-25

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LAV-25

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LAV-25

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