Report to Congress on Marine Corps’ Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle Program

January 10, 2023 11:22 AM

The following is the Jan. 6, 2023, Congressional Research Service In Focus report, Marine Corps Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV).

From the report

What Is the Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV)?

According to the Marine Corps, the Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) is planned to be a new armored vehicle family to replace the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV):

Since the 1980s, the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) has supported Marine Air-Ground Task Force missions on the battlefield. While the LAV remains operationally effective, the life cycle of this system is set to expire in the mid-2030s…. The Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) will be highly mobile, networked, transportable, protected, and lethal. The capability will provide, sensors, communication systems and lethality options to overmatch threats that have historically been addressed with more heavily armored systems.

ARV Desired Operational Capabilities

A Marine Corps May 2019 briefing describes some of the ARV’s desired operational capabilities:

  • an automatic medium-caliber cannon;
  • anti-armor capability to defeat close-in heavy armor threats;
  • precision-guided munitions (PGMs) to defeat threats beyond the engagement range of threat systems;
  • unmanned systems swarm capability to provide persistent, multifunction munitions;
  • advanced, networked, multifunctional electronic warfare (EW) capabilities;
  • a modern command-and-control suite and a full range of sensors;
  • organic unmanned aerial and ground systems (UAS/UGS) that can be deployed from the ARV;
  • active and passive vehicle protection; and
  • robust cross-country/on-road mobility performance with shore-to-shore water mobility.

ARV in Marine Corps Force Structure

The ARV was originally intended to be the primary combat system in Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalions. The mission of the LAR Battalion is to conduct mounted and dismounted reconnaissance, surveillance, and security operations. LAR Battalions are also expected to conduct offensive and defensive missions and conduct deception operations and raids to create decisive conditions for the Marine Division and the supported unit commander.

Program Status

The Marines plan for a number of ARV variants—referred to as a “family of vehicles.” The first variant is the Command, Control, Communications and Computers/Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C4/UAS) version. Reportedly, on July 16, 2021, the Marines selected Textron Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems to build ARV prototypes with prototype delivery expected in the first quarter of FY2023 with evaluation of the prototypes concluding in the third quarter FY2023. Textron reportedly delivered its ARV prototypes, known as the “Cottonmouth,” to the Marine Corps’ Nevada Automotive Test Center on December 1, 2022. General Dynamics reportedly delivered its ARV prototypes to the Marines on December 23, 2022. The delivery of these two prototypes marked the beginning of the formal government evaluation process.

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