LAV-AD fitted with an electric turret mounting a General Dynamics GAU-12 Equalizer 25mm 5-barreled Gatling cannon

Introduce

The Landing Amphibious Vehicle-Air Defense – LAV-AD – is an air defense variant of the LAV-25 operated by the United States Marine Corps.

The LAV-25, the U.S. Marine Corps’ main armored reconnaissance vehicle, has its origins in an effort to develop a new, highly mobile strike force for the Middle East. Fast, lightly armored and armed with a Bushmaster chain gun, the LAV acts as the marines’ cavalry, scouting ahead of other friendly forces and seeking out the enemy. Over the past thirty-five years the nearly 1,000 LAVs have served from Panama to Iraq, where it earned the nickname “The Destroyer.”

The LAV-25 has a lot of variants to suit different purposes, LAV-AD is one of those variations. Its primary mission is to provide low altitude air defense from airborne threats by fixed and rotary winged aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles, at ranges within the envelope of the Stinger Missiles and the 25mm ammunition. A secondary mission is to provide ground defense against light armored mechanized forces.

The LAV-AD entered service between 1995 – 1997 with the US Marine Corps. Originaly 125 were to be delivered, but congress would only fund 17 and the final one was delivered to the USMC in 1999. Due to maintenance costs, the Avenger and LAV-AD programs were discontinued.

LAV-AD Vehicle
LAV-AD Vehicle

Armament

LAV-AD fitted with an electric turret mounting a General Dynamics GAU-12 Equalizer 25mm 5-barreled Gatling cannon, and two missile pods each with 4 FIM-92 Stinger missiles for Short Range Air Defense duties. Capacity for 990 rounds of 25 mm ammunition, and 16 FIM-92 Stinger missiles.

The 25mm Gatling gun provides anti-air cover in the missile dead zone and has a rate of fire of 1,800 shots a minute and maximum range of 2,500m. The gun is effective against pop-up helicopter targets, low infrared signature and ground targets.

Raytheon‘s Stinger missile has a two-colour, infrared-ultraviolet rosette scan seeker and a 3kg high explosive warhead. Maximum speed of the missile is Mach 2.2 and maximum range is 8km. Each loader has 4 stinger missiles, which are fire and forget.

LAV-AD is equipped with an automatic digital fire control system. The fire control system is set up with user-friendly firing sequences for both missiles and gun and the system is pre-programmed with 44 on-board air defence engagements.

The turret can slew 360 degree and has the same standard vehicle-mounted launcher configuration as Avenger. The turret is electrically driven and controlled by either of the two turret operators. A Stabilisation system is also fitted for fire on the move capability. Two banks of four electric smoke grenade dischargers are fitted either side of the front turret.

The LAV-AD can operate as an amphibious vehicle. The crew consists of a vehicle commander, two Stinger gunners, and a driver. The crew can communicate within the vehicle by intercom and externally via HF, VHF/FM, and UHF communications nets. The LAV-AD SINC-GARS radio suite is similar to the Avenger’s radio suite and allows for the integration of the remote terminal unit and ground-based data link.

The integrated sight system has a two-axis, stabilised, digital line-of-sight director for fire on the move capability. The sensor suite includes a second generation, dual field of view thermal sight and day TV, coupled with an eyesafe carbon dioxide CO2 laser rangefinder for passive target acquisition. The thermal imager is based on a 240 × 4 scanning array. There is high-resolution video output for detailed remote viewing.

A variant of the LAV-AD, the Blazer air defence system has been developed by General Dynamics Armaments Systems and Thales Air Defense for the export market.

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