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Amphibious Assault Vehicle

Amphibious Assault Vehicle

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The Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV)—official designation AAV-7A1 (formerly known as LVT-7) is a fully tracked amphibious
Amphibious vehicle
An amphibious vehicle , is a vehicle or craft, that is a means of transport, viable on land as well as on water – just like an amphibian....

 landing vehicle manufactured by U.S. Combat Systems (previously by United Defense
United Defense
United Defense Industries was a United States defense contractor which is now part of BAE Systems Land and Armaments. This company produces combat vehicles, artillery, naval guns, missile launchers and precision munitions.-History:...

, a former division of FMC Corporation).

The AAV-7A1 is the current amphibious troop transport of the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

. It is used by USMC Assault Amphibian Battalion
3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion
3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion is one of two active duty assault amphibian battalions in the United States Marine Corps. The battalion's primary weapon system is the Amphibious Assault Vehicle or AAV...

s 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. Marines call them amtracks.

Development



The LVT-7 was first introduced in 1972 as a replacement for the LVT-5
LVT-5
The LVTP-5 was a family of amphibious armored fighting vehicles used by the United States Marine Corps. It was designed by the BorgWarner company and built by FMC along with a few other companies. It was first accepted into service in 1956...

. 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 and 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
Mk 19 grenade launcher
The Mk 19 Grenade Launcher is a 40 mm belt-fed automatic grenade launcher or grenade machine gun that entered U.S. military service during the Cold War, first seeing action during the Vietnam War and remaining in service today.-Overview:...

.

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 Amphibian 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
M2 Bradley
The Bradley Fighting Vehicle is an American fighting vehicle platform manufactured by BAE Systems Land and Armaments, formerly United Defense.As with other infantry fighting vehicles, the Bradley is designed to transport infantry with armor protection while providing covering fire to suppress enemy...

 (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.

Variants



  • LVTx-7: Original series introduced from 1972.
  • LVTx-7A1: 1982 upgraded. Renamed to AAVx-7A1 from 1984.
  • AAVP-7A1 (Personnel): This is the most common AAV, as it carries a turret equipped with an 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, 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 VRC-92s, 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. Recently, the C7 has been upgraded to use Harris Falcon II class radios, specifically the PRC-117
    AN/PRC-117F
    The AN/PRC-117F Multiband Manpack Radio, or Multiband Multi Mission Radio , is a man-portable, tactical software-defined combat-net radio covering the 30-512 MHz frequency range. The radio is manufactured by Harris Corporation...

     for VHF/UHF/SATCOM, and the PRC-150 for HF.

  • 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 have been modified to carry the Mk 154 MCLC, or Mine Clearance Line Charge
Mine-clearing line charge
A mine-clearing line charge is used to create a breach in minefields under combat conditions. While there are many types, the basic design is for many explosive charges connected on a line to be projected onto the minefield. The charges explode, detonating any buried mines, thus clearing a path...

. 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
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 and again in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

In the 1970s, 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
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

.

Combat history



Twenty U.S.-built LVTP-7s were used by Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 during the 1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands
1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands
On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces mounted amphibious landings of the Falkland Islands . The invasion involved an initial defence force organised by the Falkland Islands' Governor Sir Rex Hunt giving command to Major Mike Norman of the Royal Marines, the landing of Lieutenant-Commander Guillermo...

 with all of them returning to the Argentine mainland before the war ended. From 1982-1984, LVT-7s were deployed with U.S. Marines as part of the multi-national peacekeeping force in Beirut
Multinational Force in Lebanon
The Multinational Force in Lebanon was an international peacekeeping force created in 1982 and sent to Lebanon to oversee the withdrawal of the Palestine Liberation Organization...

, Lebanon. As Marines became increasingly involved in hostilities, several vehicles sustained minor damage from shrapnel and small arms fire. On October 25, 1983 U.S. Marine LVT-7s conducted a highly successful amphibious landing on the island of Grenada as part of Operation Urgent Fury. It was heavily used in the 1991 Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

 and has been criticized for providing poor protection for the crew and passengers compared with other vehicles such as the M2 Bradley
M2 Bradley
The Bradley Fighting Vehicle is an American fighting vehicle platform manufactured by BAE Systems Land and Armaments, formerly United Defense.As with other infantry fighting vehicles, the Bradley is designed to transport infantry with armor protection while providing covering fire to suppress enemy...

. Eight of them were disabled or destroyed during the Battle of Nasiriyah
Battle of Nasiriyah
The Battle of Nasiriyah was one of the first major battles of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Heavy fighting took place in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah between Iraqi forces and U.S. Marines over control of key bridges over the Euphrates River and the Saddam Canal.The battle began early on 23...

, where they faced RPG, mortar, tank and artillery fire. At least one vehicle was destroyed by fire from friendly A-10 Warthog attack planes. AAV-7A1s were also used extensively in the Persian Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 and in Operation Restore Hope.

Replacement


The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is an amphibious assault vehicle that was being developed for the U.S. Marine Corps. It is launched at sea, from an amphibious assault ship beyond the horizon, able to transport a full Marine rifle squad to shore...

 (EFV) was designed to replace the aging AAV, and 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 was intended for deployment in 2015. It was renamed from the Advanced Assault Amphibious Vehicle in late 2003.

The design 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 was designed to maneuver cross country with an agility and mobility equal to or greater than the M1 Abrams
M1 Abrams
The M1 Abrams is a third-generation main battle tank produced in the United States. It is named after General Creighton Abrams, former Army Chief of Staff and Commander of US military forces in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972. The M1 is a well armed, heavily armored, and highly mobile tank designed for...

. However, in January 2011 United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

 announced plans to cancel the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is an amphibious assault vehicle that was being developed for the U.S. Marine Corps. It is launched at sea, from an amphibious assault ship beyond the horizon, able to transport a full Marine rifle squad to shore...

.

Training systems


The Office of Naval Research
Office of Naval Research
The Office of Naval Research , headquartered in Arlington, Virginia , is the office within the United States Department of the Navy that coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the U.S...

 (ONR) under the Virtual Training and Environments (VIRTE) program, led by then LCDR Dylan Schmorrow
Dylan Schmorrow
Dylan Schmorrow is a Captain in the US Navy Medical Service Corps, and serves as the Acting Director of the Human Performance, Training, and BioSystems Research Directorate at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Research & Engineering at Office of the Secretary of Defense...

, 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.

Operators


United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 - 1,311 Infanteria de Marina
Naval Infantry Command
The Argentine Marine Corps, officially Comando de la Infantería de Marina or COIM , but better known as Infantería de Marina de la Armada de la República Argentina or IMARA , is the land warfare amphibious branch of the Argentine Navy and one of its four operational commands.Argentine Marines have...

 (Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

) - 21 LVTP7s, around 10 upgraded locally by MECATROL with Caterpillar C7 diesel engines and minor changes to running gear and other components Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais do Brasil
Brazilian Marine Corps
The Brazilian Marine Corps is the land combat branch of the Brazilian Navy.- Mission :...

  (Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

)- 13 AAV-7A1 ,9 LVTP-7A1, 2 LVTC-7A1 and 2 LVTR-7A1 Esercito Italiano
Italian Army
The Italian Army is the ground defence force of the Italian Armed Forces. It is all-volunteer force of active-duty personnel, numbering 108,355 in 2010. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry fighting vehicle, the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete tank, and among its aircraft...

 and Italian navy
Italian Navy
Italian Navy may refer to:* Pre-unitarian navies of the Italian states* Regia Marina, the Royal Navy of the Kingdom of Italy * Italian Navy , the navy of the Italian Republic...

 (Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

) - 25 LVPT7s, 35 of which have been upgraded to AAV-7A1 standard. Republic of Korea Marine Corps
Republic of Korea Marine Corps
The Republic of Korea Marine Corps is the marine corps of the Republic of Korea...

 (South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

) - 162 Republic of China Marine Corps
Republic of China Marine Corps
Republic of China Marine CorpsPersonnel15,000 The Republic of China Marine Corps is the amphibious arm of the Republic of China Navy responsible for amphibious combat, counter-landing and reinforcement of the main island of Taiwan, remote islands, defense of ROCN facilities, and also functions as...

 (Taiwan
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

) - 54 Spanish Marines (BRIMAR) - 19. Upgraded to AAV-7A1 standard. Royal Thai Marine Corps - 40 (AAVP-7A1 +AAVR-7A1 +AAVC-7A1) Venezuelan Navy - 11 AAVT-7s, (1 AAVTC-7 +1AAVTR-7 +9AAVTP-7). Indonesian Marine Corps - 10 units (LVTP7A1) donated by South Korea

See also


  • 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion
    3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion
    3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion is one of two active duty assault amphibian battalions in the United States Marine Corps. The battalion's primary weapon system is the Amphibious Assault Vehicle or AAV...

  • WWII/Korea LVT Museum
    WWII/Korea LVT Museum
    The WWII/Korea LVT Museum is located at Camp Del Mar, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California near the Assault Amphibian School Battalion Training Command. It houses exhibits on landing vehicles tracked s from World War II and the Korean War including six vintage models used by the U. S....



External links