Magazine article National Defense

Marine Corps Light Armored Vehicles Get Makeover

Magazine article National Defense

Marine Corps Light Armored Vehicles Get Makeover

Article excerpt

The U.S. Marine Corps plans to upgrade 759 light armored vehicles during the next seven years, in order to keep them running until 2015.

The LAV first entered service in the early 1980s, so many vehicles are beginning to run out of operational life.

The Corps will spend several million dollars on a so-called service life-extension program, or SLEP. The vehicle upgrades, however, will cost a small fraction of the price tag for new vehicles, according to Marine Corps documents.

The SLEP will involve seven variants of the LAV, which is used by the Marine Corps' light armored reconnaissance battalions for various missions.

The contractor selected to do the work, Metric Systems, in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., designed 21 different upgrade kits, said Howard Hudson, the company's program manager. Many of the improvements are aimed to simplify the maintenance of the vehicle and to reduce its visual and acoustic signatures by adding camouflage features and a shroud over the engine exhaust.

Five SLEP prototypes currently are being tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground, said Hudson.

At about $300,000 per vehicle, the LAV 25 will be the most expensive variant to upgrade, because it includes a thermal sight, said Marine Corps Capt. …

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