Amphibious Assault Vehicle

Amphibious Assault Vehicle

Infobox Weapon

caption=US Marine Corps AAV in Fallujah, Iraq
origin=flag|United States
type=Armoured personnel carrier
designer=FMC Corporation
manufacturer=FMC Corporation
used_by=Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Italy, South Korea, Spain,Taiwan, Thailand, United States, Venezuela
wars=1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands, Gulf War, Operation Restore Hope, Iraq War,
length=7.94 m (321.3")
width=3.27 m (128.72")
height=3.26 m (130.5")
weight=22.8 tonnes
suspension=torsion-bar-in-tube (AAV-7A1); torsion bar (AAV-7RAM-RS)
speed=64 km/h, 13.5 km/h (45 mph, 8.2 mph)
vehicle_range=480 km (300 miles)
primary_armament=Mk 19 40 mm automatic grenade launcher (864 rounds) or M242 Bushmaster 25mm (900 rounds)
secondary_armament=M2HB .50-caliber (12.7 mm) machine gun (1200 rounds)
armour=45 mm
engine=Detroit Diesel 8V-53T (P-7), Cummins VT 400 903 (P-7A1)
engine_power=400 hp (300 kW) VTAC 525 903 525 hp(AAV-7RAM-RS)
pw_ratio=18 hp/tonne

The Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV)—official designation AAV-7A1 (formerly known as LVT-7) is a fully tracked amphibious landing vehicle manufactured by FMC Corporation (now BAE Systems Land and Armaments).

The AAV-7A1 is the current amphibious troop transport of the United States Marine Corps. It is used by USMC Assault Amphibian Battalions to land the surface assault elements of the landing force and their equipment in a single lift from assault shipping during amphibious operations to inland objectives and to conduct mechanized operations and related combat support in subsequent mechanized operations ashore. It is also operated by other forces.


The LVT-7 was first introduced in 1972 as a replacement for the LVT-5. In 1982, FMC was contracted to conduct the LVT-7 Service Life Extension Program, which converted the LVT-7 vehicles to the improved AAV-7A1 vehicle by adding an improved engine, transmission, and weapons system and improving the overall maintainability of the vehicle. The Cummins VT400 diesel engine replaced the GM 8V53T, and this was driven through FMC's HS-400-3A1 transmission. The hydraulic traverse and elevation of the weapon station was replaced by electric motors, which eliminated the danger from hydraulic fluid fires. The suspension and shock absorbers were strengthened as well. The fuel tank was made safer, and a fuel-burning smoke generator system was added. Eight smoke grenade launchers were also placed around the armament station. The headlight clusters were housed in a square recess instead of the earlier round type. The driver was provided with an improved instrument panel, a night vision device, and a new ventilation system was installed. These upgraded vehicles were originally called LVT-7A1, but the Marine Corps renamed the LVT-7A1 to AAV-7A1 in 1984.

Another improvement was added in the form of a Cadillac Gage weapon station or Up-Gunned Weapon Station (UGWS) which was armed with both a .50 cal (12.7 mm) M2HB machine gun and a Mk-19 40 mm grenade launcher.

Enhanced Applique Armor Kits (EAAK) were developed for the AAV-7A1, and the added weight of the new armor necessitated the addition of a bow plane kit when operating afloat.

The Assault Amphibious Vehicle Reliability, Availability, Maintainability/Rebuild to Standard (AAV RAM/RS) Program has provided for a replacement of both the engine and suspension with US Army M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) components modified for the AAV. The ground clearance has returned to 16 inches and the horsepower to ton ratio has changed from 13 to 1 back to 17 to 1. The AAV RAM/RS rebuild encompassed all AAV systems and components in order to return the AAV back to the original vehicle's performance specifications and ensure acceptable Fleet Marine Force (FMF) AAV readiness ratings until the EFV is operational. Introduction of the BFV components and the rebuild to standard effort is expected to reduce maintenance costs for the remaining life of the AAV through the year 2013.


Three types of AAV-7A1s exist;

* AAVP-7A1 (Personnel): This is the most common AAV, as it carries a turret equipped with a M2HB .50 caliber heavy machine gun, and a Mk19 40mm automatic grenade launcher. It carries four crew radios as well as the AN/VIC-2 intercom system. It is capable of carrying 25 combat equipped Marines in addition to the crew of 4: driver, crew chief, vehicle commander (also the gunner), and rear crewman.

* AAVC-7A1 (Command): This vehicle does not have a turret, and much of the cargo space of the vehicle is occupied by communications equipment. This version only has two crew radios, and in addition to the VIC-2, it also carries two MRC-145s, a VRC-89, a PRC-103 UHF radio, a MRC-83 HF radio and the MSQ internetworking system used to control the various radios. This AAV has a crew of 3, and additionally carries 5 radio operators, three staff members, and two commanding officers.

* AAVR-7A1 (Recovery): This vehicle also does not have a turret. The R7 is considered the "wrecker", as it has a crane as well as most tools and equipment needed for field repairs. It is by far the heaviest of the three, and sits considerably lower in the water. Crew of three, not including the repairmen.

Many P7s been modified to carry the Mk 154 MCLC, or Mine Clearance Line Charge. The MCLC kit can fire three linear demolition charges to breach a lane through a minefield. MCLCs were used in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and again in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

In the 1970's, the US Army used an LVT-7 as the basis for their Mobile Test Unit (MTU), a ground-based antiaircraft high energy laser. After several successful test firings at Redstone Army Arsenal, the laser was reportedly transferred to NASA.

Combat history

Twenty U.S.-built LVTP-7s were used by Argentina during the 1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands with all of them returning to Argentina mainland before the war ended. It was heavily used in the conflict in Iraq and has been criticized for providing poor protection for the crew and passengers compared with other vehicles such as the M2 Bradley. Several of them were disabled or destroyed during the Battle of Nasiriyah, where they faced RPG, mortar, tank and artillery fire. Eighteen Marines were lost. [ [ Final Roll Call] ] AAV-7A1s were also used extensively in the Persian Gulf War and in Operation Restore Hope.

The AAV is still used by the United States Marine Corps, although it is slated to be replaced with the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle starting in 2015.


The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) is designed to replace the aging AAV, and is the Marine Corps' number one priority ground weapon system acquisition. It has three times the speed in water and about twice the armor of the AAV, and superior firepower as well. The EFV is intended for deployment in 2015. [ [ U.S. Marine EFV Delivery Delayed to 2015 and Costs Double -] ] It was renamed from the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle in late 2003.

The designed is an amphibious armored personnel carrier; launched at sea, from an amphibious assault ship beyond the horizon, able to transport a full Marine rifle squad to shore. It will maneuver cross country with an agility and mobility equal to or greater than the M1 Abrams.

Training systems

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) under the Virtual Training and Environments (VIRTE) program, led by then LCDR Dylan Schmorrow, developed a prototype training system called the AAV Turret Trainer. The system consists of an actual surplus turret mounted with ISMT (Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer) weapons firing on a projected screen displaying the VIRTE Virtual Environment. []


* United States Marine Corps - 1311
* Infanteria de Marina (Argentina) - 21 LVTP7s, around 10 upgraded locally
* Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais do Brasil (Brazil)- 13 AAV-7A1 ,9 LVTP-7A1, 2 LVTC-7A1 and 1 LVTR-7A1
* Royal Khmer Navy - 63 AAVT-7s,Fact|2008-05-12|date=May 2008 (12 AAVTC-7 +1AAVTR-7 +9AAVTP-7).
* Italian Army - 35 LVPT7s, 25 of which have been upgraded to AAV-7A1 standard.
* Republic of Korea Marine Corps (South Korea) - 162
* Republic of China Marine Corps (Taiwan) - 54
* Spanish Marines (BRIMAR) - 16
* Royal Thai Marine Corps - 24
* Venezuelan Navy - 11 AAVT-7s, (1 AAVTC-7 +1AAVTR-7 +9AAVTP-7).


ee also

*3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion
*WWII/Korea LVT Museum

External links

* [ FAS AAV article]
* [ AAV Fact File at the official USMC website]
* [ Paper regarding high energy lasers and the MTU]
* [ Images of the MTU]
* [ USMC Amtrac Association Website]

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