Home » Budget Industry » Marines Ready to Begin LAV Replacement After Talks With Industry on Next-Gen Capabilities


Marines Ready to Begin LAV Replacement After Talks With Industry on Next-Gen Capabilities

A vehicle commander with 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 4th Light Armor Reconnaissance Regiment uses binoculars to observe targets for a TOW missile launcher in 2017. US Marine Corps Photo

SAN DIEGO, Calif — The Marine Corps is finally ready to pursue a Light Armored Vehicle replacement after a couple years of not seeing the right next-generation ideas.

Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, deputy commandant for combat development and integration, told reporters that the current LAV is a third-generation technology in a world where the commandant has called for all the Marines’ gear to be upgraded to fifth-generation capabilities.

“You look at things like some of our signals intelligence capabilities, some of our command and control, [Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar], [Common Aviation Command and Control System], some of those, I would call those fifth gen – they could tie into the Navy’s [Tactical Targeting Network Technology], [Cooperative Engagement Capability] network and be able to share and work very well,” he said after giving a speech at WEST 2018, cohosted by the U.S. Naval Institute and AFCEA.
“When I started looking at our ground vehicles, getting ready to replace the LAV … I looked at industry and said, what do you got to replace them? And what I was getting was a new old LAV. I’ve been through this with the CH-46: there were a lot of people that wanted, they called it ‘Son of Phrog,’ It was, you don’t want MV-22s, we want to sell you more Phrogs, CH-46s. And there were a bunch of smart folks that were above me that were going, no, they’ve got a vision for the V-22, something that could go from continental United States to Europe, something that could open up the battlespace. And I got that thing in Iraq and it changed the world. So I’m looking at this and I’m going, industry, is this the best you can do? Give me the same type of thing, same technology? And I’m comparing it to F-35 and what the commandant’s saying, and going, we can do better than this.”

After being discontent with the status of prime contractors’ offerings for a couple years, Walsh said he and Marine Corps Systems Command held a symposium about a month ago with the larger industrial base to understand what individual technologies exist that could inform their idea of what a next-generation LAV should be.

“I got all our reconnaissance folks together and we started talking about, and the requirements officer, what should this be? Should it launch its own [unmanned aerial systems]? Should it have its own [electronic warfare] capability? Should it be able to sense the electronic spectrum, what’s out in front? Long-range precision fires? Those kinds of things, we started putting together,” Walsh said.
“So this is what we’re thinking: it’s a truck, it’s a vehicle, now what should we put on it? What capabilities should we put on it? Lots of great ideas came out of that symposium. … That is going to help us with the [Advanced] Reconnaissance Vehicle [initial capabilities document] and develop that. What I saw out of that was, we can move towards that next-generation capability, just like we’re seeing in our aviation, just like our ground Marines deserve just as much. It’s not hard, I just wasn’t getting those ideas out of industry.”

Walsh said the Marine Corps is finally ready to start devoting research and development funds for the Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle program after these positive interactions with industry.

  • Curtis Conway

    The Marines should be looking at a common system architecture for their armored vehicles. Digital backbone, common computers & display systems, with a persistent point-to-point communications system for networking situational awareness.. A modern lighter composite structured IFV with advanced armor that can swim a river.

    A 30 mm gun should be standard equipment on most LAV replacements.

    With the efficiency of modern technology turbines, a new recouping turbine power pack with matching transmission in three power scales ranging from hundreds of horse power for wheeled vehicles, up to the LV100-5 (1,500 hp) for the M1A Abrams Tank could make the force very efficient in the field. Fewer parts, with less moving parts, and 3D printing logistical support in the field.

    • Secundius

      I doubt very much that they’ll EVER mount a Gas Turbine within a AAV…

      • Curtis Conway

        Your probably right.

        • Secundius

          While a Gas Turbine offers Great Acceleration and Hugh amounts of Torque. It still requires ~2/3rd’s more fuel to Start from a “Cold Start” to Idle. And a Gas Turbine is a REAL “Fuel Hog”. A Comparable Diesel in Horsepower, only requires 60% the amount of Fuel for the Same Operating Range. A “Diesel/Electric Hybrid” would be a Better Choice…

          • Curtis Conway

            In you investigations take a look at Capstone Turbines, particularly the recuperating kind. Look at the whole family of products, size, power, and fuel consumption. Then look at reliability ratings and MBTF.

            Then research the decades-old proposed, prototyped, and proven Honeywell LV100-5 as compared to the AGT1500 in the M1A Abrams tank application. Note parts count reduction, MBTF and reliability factors, and time on-frame, greater efficiency, 100% power availability at startup which is easier now with FADEC using less fuel, and that new computer provides auto record keeping, instant troubleshooting (and predictions) & automated maintenance record. This engine could literally be upgraded again making it very near diesel efficiency with a lot less downside compared to previous percentage comparisons.

            Then look at what the major turbine engine manufacturers have been doing with CMCs (ceramics matrix composites) in metal materials and particularly turbine blades. These increased combustion temperatures (increased efficiency) and makes for a tougher material, that is very rugged and shock resistant.

            I’m surprised that we have not seen a major armored vehicle with a primary carbon fiber reinforced composite chassis, equipped with advanced armor concepts, enabling huge weight savings . . . and yes, powered by a gas turbine.

            DoD and industry has already studied 3D parts manufacture for logistical support where appropriate (many parts of homogeneous material). Several industrial giants have already invested in huge 3D printing manufacturing facilities, and large autoclaves for composites.

            There is a solution in there somewhere, and it will be expensive at first, and once rolling into prototypes, but start bringing cost down quickly with serial production.

            IMHO we should have a whole series of recuperative turbine power plants that can drive everything from small generators all the way up to the M1A Abrams tank. Turbines have 100% power available at startup, where diesels have many moving parts, and must warm up before 100% power is available. Combat is an unforgiving place. One needs to fight at startup, not in 10 minutes. That diesel with its low frequency noise also gives itself away, where “Whispering Death” is a real game changer on the battlefield.

          • Secundius

            I think a “Stirling Turbine” would be more Efficient, requiring only 15% of the Amount of Fuel of a Gas Turbine…

          • Curtis Conway

            Love the Sterling, but is one available for the M1A Abrams or a truck. I haven’t seen it. If and when that train ever leaves the station, there will be no looking back. The auto industry would benefit the most.

          • Secundius

            Don’t know! At least I haven’t heard of one that Size, Not that it doesn’t exist. An SSG’s AIP uses a Stirling, and can produce up to 150-kW of power for up to Two or more weeks continuously…

          • Curtis Conway

            It would make a great USN SSK power plant. Quiet too!

          • Secundius

            Aren’t the Newer SSN’s or SSB/GN’s using AIP’s as a Redundancy power system for Emergencies. To bad the DSRV’s weren’t powered by an AIP…

          • draeger24

            not enough room on a DSRV for that, and it would have made the DSRV too big. SPECWAR looked at the Maritalia AIP in the late 80’s/early 90’s. The Libyans bought one and took it to sea…it was never heard from again. The DSRV has to be much more maneuverable to get to a sunken sub hull, possibly on it’s side. Too bad they are gone. It was ahead of it’s time.

          • Secundius

            AIP’s com in Different Sizes. Mac Trucks, Nikola Gear, Mercedes, and a Few Others are Experimenting with AIP power Semi Trucks. Not exactly GONE! Outside Exhibits at two Museums! One in Washington States and the other at San Diego Marine Museum…

          • draeger24

            Sec, problem is whether you are going to make it “piggyback” on one of the designated subs. If independent of a mother ship, no problem. The problem is weight. ASDS maxed out the 688. It would not have on a SSGN (SSGN wouldn’t even feel it…lol), but the structure needed on the AIP hull is pretty heavy. I am betting the tech is much better now, and now that we have figured out how to have large L-ION and L-IRON batteries, might be something to ponder. GOD Bless.

          • Secundius

            First AIP was developed in 1867 and use Hydrogen Peroxide. The Japanese Mk.95 Long Lance Torpedo of WWII used an AIP using Liquid Oxygen and Kerosene in two Engine configurations of either 330-shp and 430-shp…

          • Curtis Conway

            I would go with a smaller form factor turbine electric at lighter weight . . . naturally.

          • Secundius

            I would say so too! But “IF” AAV’s powering not only itself and/or a Laser or 10MJ Rail Gun? Maybe not…

          • Curtis Conway

            The turbine drives the MG set that powers the Capacitor storage bank.

          • Secundius

            I would think a Vehicle the Size of an AAV, a Direct Power System would be preferable…

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    Patria AMV 28A
    Amphibious, 7 or 8 dismounts with an unmanned 30mm turret with Javelin missile integration & 50cal rws.

    No need to wait 20 years for paper-pushers to do “studies”

    • Sons of Liberty

      Is worlds best that and it’s sister the Polish Built Wolverine. Frankly, this is gobble gook coming out of Gen Walsh’s mouth. It actually scares me that he is in a position to F this up.

      What is needed is a solid platform that can support add ons. That means a mobile, powerful,fuel efficient, protected AAV with an ability thru excess power, cool, & weight allowances to support the additional equipment he is calling for.

      Lockheed licensed the Patria and submitted it as the Havoc there was zero reason why that Procurment should have been halted.

    • El Kabong

      Those, LAV IV’s, Boxers, etc…
      Plenty of decent choices.

  • DaSaint

    Sounds encouraging, but what will state-of-the-art cost per vehicle?
    Are we changing course here regarding the SAIC and BAE variants?

  • Ed L

    They still make the current LAV. Just buy new ones that have bigger engines. The Airforce still using the B-52 and everyone still fly the C-130’s just rebuild or make new LAV’s

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      The issue arises from protection.

      20 years ago I would agree.
      However the ISIS wars in Syria and Iraq has raised the bar.

      Every jihadi worth his goat stew can now bring a truck mounted dual-barrell 23mm cannon to the party & even old, crude soviet ATGMs are 10-a-penny.

      Protection needs to advance to match the threat.

      Which is why the Australians are replacing their LAVs with something twice the size.

  • draeger24

    I am wondering if you could make a Stryker variant that could swim? We would then have commonality of parts, etc. Marines were not cool with “swimming” the LAVs – usually brought them on the LCU.Let’s hope they don’t “study” this one to death.

    • Secundius

      More or less? In March 2016, SAIC (Science Applications International Company) of McLean, VA. converted Nine Strykers to have Amphibious Capabilities. But beyond that, the project Stalled. Either by Lack of Funds or Lack of Interest…

      • draeger24

        hmmm…good info…wonder why they canx’ed it. Size on the amphib, maybe? Couldn’t be weight as they put Abrams on there dependent on the MEU configuration. GOD Bless.

        • Secundius

          BAe bought the United Defense M8 Buford Light Tank design, that was cancelled in 1995 because of Cost. BAe plans to put the M8 Buford back into production 2019 or 2020. With a initial production of 12 in 2019 and a Total production of 54 by 2025…

          • draeger24

            awesome,,,thanks for that…I will look that up! GOD Bless.

          • draeger24

            sec, I looked that up…very interesting. Might be better than taking the Abrams on the ship as you could probably fit one more. Thanks GOD Bless.

          • Secundius

            Actually that’s the Idea! The T-EPF (Transport, ExPeditionary Fast) has a 20,000sqft. Vehicle Deck, that can hold as many as 25 to 30 ACV’s. Though Overhang is limited to ~4.7-meters. Currently, the T-EPF can only handle One M1A1 Abrams or about 2.5 to 3 M8 Bufords. For a Vessels that was designed to Transport and Support up to 312-Marines for 4-days of Fighting. One M1A1 Tank severely limits the fight, But 3 or 4 Buford’s is doable. Especially when considering Production “Buford’s” Tanks will mount a 120mm Guns…

          • draeger24

            120mm in that small platform…yikes…better have triple ear protection…LOL….it’s a good plan…love those EPFs. Wish we had had them.

          • Secundius

            Crew is only 3! And Loader is replaced by a Autoloader. Talk is, but not yet confirmed that a possible upgun to a 130mm might be pending…

  • Jeremy McVicar

    Oh how I wish I could be the Contract Specialist on this program. As a former Infantryman in 2nd LAR and having deployed w/ 2nd LAR to Iraq in 03, I have a lot of insight into this program, I understand the vehicle, and have great ideas that should be considered on behalf of the U.S. Marines on the ground and we who actually maintained and used this vehicle in combat. Not sure where this effort is right now at SYSCOM but hit me up on global if you want my input on it. (jeremy.mcvicar)

  • Col. Falkner

    What was wrong with GDLSs design was it to American. I see BAEs entry as a perfect replacement for the LAV-25s not the AAV-7. The Marines need to look at reviving the EFV or developed a tracked variant of the HAVOC.

    • Secundius

      EFV was a Technical Nightmare from the standpoint of those that to service them. The 29-knots speed put tremendous stress on the Planing Platform, to the point where parts broke and couldn’t be easily repaired in the field…