The Light Amphibious Vehicle or LAV-25 (used by the USMC) has been out of date for some time and the Marine Corps is looking for something new.
Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) in Reston, Va., is building a prototype reconnaissance armored combat vehicle to enable U.S. Marine Corps battlefield reconnaissance units to fight through the enemy to gather and disseminate crucial intelligence information from the battle front.
Officials of the U.S. Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Va., announced a $19 million contract to SAIC on Thursday for a portion of the Armed Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) program that involves advanced high-risk technology development called “at the edge.”
The project seeks to build two ARV variants — a base model and an at-the-edge model — to evaluate technologies, performance, and battlefield concepts. Contractors will build two demonstrators of each variant. SAIC has been selected for the at-the-edge model. Other contractors will handle the base variant.
The at-the-edge variant that SAIC will build will be operational, but isn’t supposed to have the durability necessary to withstand sustained operations on the battlefield. It is to demonstrate enabling technologies at technology readiness level 5, which seeks to validate components in a simulated or real environment.
The base variant and its vetronics will have an average manufacturing unit cost of $6 million per platform for 500 units, with initial operating capability (IOC) in 2027. The SAIC at-the-edge version, with its advanced high-risk technologies, has no IOC date.
Marine Corps Reconnaissance Battalions are expected to receive additional anti-aircraft assets that will be added to the new ARV, to increase the mobility of those missiles.
At present, the USMC Low Altitude Air Defense is structured around the M1097 (Humvee), and are organic to Low Altitude Defense Battalions. The Marine Corps is trying to remake itself to be better capable to meet real world needs within the coming decades
Marine Corps AA defensive systems have come and gone. Complementary Low Altitude Weapon System (CLAWS), which fired Advanced Medium Air to Air Missiles (AMRAAM) was discontinued in 2006. In 2006 the coming war with China was not viewed as ‘nearly inevitable’. Obviously things have changed, and the USMC is remaking itself in many important ways. The new Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle needs to be able to wear ‘many hats’ within the new USMC structure, and hopefully it will be ready when the Marine Corps needs it.