The United States Marine Corps (USMC) plans to begin replacing its legacy family of Light Armored Vehicles, an eight-wheeled armored vehicle capable of operating on primary roads, secondary roads, trails, and cross country terrain, as well as crossing flood and tidal areas and fording and swimming waterways.
Since the 1980s, the 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 Corps aims to replace the vehicle before then.
Marine Corps Systems Command has been tasked with replacing the vehicle with a next-generation, more capable ground combat vehicle system. In June 2016, the Corps established a LAV Way-Ahead, which included the option to initiate a LAV Replacement Program to field a next-generation capability in the 2030s.
According to recently notice posted on the U.S. government’s main contracting website, the U.S. Government intends to award contracts to up to four vendors for competitive prototyping of new generation of Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) which would take place from FY21-FY23. The Government intends to provide a cost share of approximately $10 million to each of the selected vendors to deliver one fully integrated ARV platform and one blast hull.
The ARV will be a modern combat vehicle system, with an open system architecture, capable of fighting for information, that balances competing for capability demands to sense, shoot, move, communicate, and remain transportable as part of the naval expeditionary force. The
ARV will provide a balanced set of performance, payload, and protection attributes with sufficient Size, Weight, & Power (SWAP) to accommodate future growth and the development of other variants. The ARV with incremental upgrade opportunities will yield a transformational platform significantly more capable than the legacy system fielded today and capable of achieving next generation armored reconnaissance objectives. Desired next generation transformational capabilities include:
- Battlefield Management: Onboard sensor fusion with Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) and Fire Control System data to provide crew at all levels of command real time battlefield understanding, situational awareness and the ability to disseminate information.
- Vision System: Providing the crew 360 degree/hemispherical battlefield vision while under armor.
- Hunter/Killer Engagement: Operator controls and independent sights enabling target handoff and slew to cue.
- Counter-Unmanned Arial System (UAS): Ability to detect, defeat and deny UAS threats.
- Extended Range, Detect, Recognize, and Target Identification: Beyond line of sight target recognition through battlefield obscurants.
- Signature Management and Deception: Masking or altering signatures to minimize identification by threats.
- Employing Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS): The ability to deploy and recover systems that extend the ARV’s reconnaissance hemisphere beyond line of sight.
- Active Protection: Ability to counter incoming projectiles.
- Extended Range Anti-Armor Anti Material: Engage and destroy armored or fortified targets.
- Electronic Attack (EA) Directed Energy: EA Directed-energy weapon (DEW).
- Cyber Attack: Ability to prevent, mitigate, and recover from cyber-attacks.
An ARV base variant (ARV-30) with incremental upgrades and key enablers will yield a family of vehicles with exceptional mobility on land and in the water, redundant and resilient Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) communications, and protection against direct and indirect fires, mines and IEDs, and guided munitions.
The ARV will be highly mobile, networked, transportable, protected and lethal.
The Corps believes the ARV will support the capability demands of the next generation of armored reconnaissance.