The LAV-25 is armed with the M242 25 mm chain gun, and two M240 machine guns
Type Armored reconnaissance vehicle[1]
Place of origin Canada
Service history
In service 1983–present
Specifications (standard variant)
Weight 12.80 tonnes (12.60 long tons; 14.11 short tons)
Length 6.39 m (21 ft 0 in)
Width 2.50 m (8 ft 2 in)
Height 2.69 m (8 ft 10 in)
Crew 3+6

M242 Bushmaster 25 mm chain gun
Two M240 7.62 mm machine guns, one mounted co-axially and one pintle-mounted on the roof
Engine Detroit Diesel 6V53T
275 hp (205 kW)
Power/weight 19.5 hp/sh tn (16.0 kW/t)
Transmission Allison MT653
Suspension 8×8 wheeled
660 km (410 mi)
Speed 100 km/h (62 mph)

The LAV-25 (Light Armored Vehicle) is an eight-wheeled amphibious armored reconnaissance vehicle used by the United States Marine Corps and Canadian Army. It was built by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada and is based on the Swiss MOWAG Piranha I 8×8 family of armored fighting vehicles.

GDLS also makes the LAV III armored vehicle that is based on MOWAG Piranha IIIH 8×8.[2][3]


During the 1980s, the US Marine Corps began looking for a light armored vehicle to give their divisions greater mobility. They chose the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) based on the MOWAG Piranha. It entered service with the Marines in 1983. The U.S. Army was interested in these vehicles at the time, but did not order any (although they did later with introduction of the Stryker family of vehicles). The U.S. Army did however borrow at least a dozen LAV-25s for use in the 82nd Airborne's, 73rd Cavalry Regiment for a Scout Platoon during the Gulf War. These LAV-25s were later returned to the Marine Corps after the Gulf War.[4] The USMC ordered 758 vehicles of all variants. LAVs first saw combat during the Invasion of Panama in 1989, and continued service in the Gulf War, Iraq War, and the War in Afghanistan.[5]

The table of organization and equipment for an USMC light-armored reconnaissance battalion includes 56 LAV-25s, 16 LAV-ATs, 12 LAV-Ls, 8 LAV-Ms, 4 LAV-Rs, 4 LAV-C2s, and an unknown number of LAV-MEWSS vehicles.[6]

The LAV platform is planned to remain in service with the Marine Corps until 2035.[7]


A side view of a LAV-25A2

Powered by a 6V53T Detroit Diesel turbo-charged engine, they are 4-wheel drive (rear wheels) transferable to 8-wheel drive. These vehicles are also amphibious, meaning they have the ability to "swim", but are limited to non-surf bodies of water (no oceans). While engaged in amphibious operations, the maximum speed is approximately 12 km/h (7.5 mph) using equipped propellers. The current SLEP (Service Life Extension Program) modifications will hinder or eliminate amphibious ops.

Typical land speeds are approximately 100 km/h (62.5 mph) in either 4- or 8-wheel drive, however fuel economy decreases in 8-wheel drive. The vehicles operate on diesel fuel. They are equipped with a M242 Bushmaster 25 mm cannon, two M240 7.62 mm machine guns, and two 4-barrel smoke grenade launchers located on the forward left and right sides of the turret. The crew is three; vehicle commander (VC), gunner, and driver; and four passengers (scouts) with combat gear.


The LAV-25 is a lightly armored vehicle. The base model is protected by light gage high hardness steel armor (MIL-A-46100), varying in nominal thickness from 4.71 mm to 9.71 mm. This level of high-hardness steel armor is intended only to offer protection against small arms rounds such as the common 7.62x39mm M1943 ball used by the AKM, to achieve the lowest possible weight and cost.[8]


A United States Marine Corps LAV-25 showing a good view of the thermal shroud placed over the exhaust during the SLEP.


Standard LAV fitted with a turret with 360° traverse, armed with an M242 25 mm chain gun with 420 rounds of 25 mm ammunition, both M791 APDS-T (Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot-Tracer) and M792 HEI-T (High Explosive Incendiary-Tracer), of which half is ready for use. One hundred fifty rounds are ready for use from one stowage bin, 60 from another stowage bin, the other 210 rounds are stowed elsewhere in the vehicle. A coaxial M240C machine gun is mounted alongside the M242, and a pintle mounted M240B/G machine gun, with 1,320 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, is mounted on the turret roof. The Canadian Army uses an upgraded version of this chassis for its Coyote Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle.

Destroyed LAV-25 during the 1991 Gulf War


The vehicle has been through many changes through the late 1990s. The new modification or SLEP has changed the LAV-25 to the LAV-25A1 standard and has been completely fielded.


Funding has been approved for continued upgrades to the LAV family to bring them up to the LAV-A2 standard. Phase I improvements include increased external and internal ballistic armor upgrades, improved fire suppression equipment, and upgrading the vehicle's suspension to the Generation II standard.[9] Phase II upgrades include replacing the turret hydraulics with an electric drive system and replacing the thermal sight with an improved model incorporating a laser range finder for aircraft.

To reflect the improved significant survivability and capability enhancements occurring today, the LAV is being renamed as the LAV-A2. The LAV-A2 project involved developing and installing an internal and external ballistic protection upgrade package for the Light Armored Vehicles, an automatic fire suppression system for the interior of the vehicle and a Generation II suspension upgrade to support the added weight of the new armor. The suspension upgrade includes new struts/steering knuckles, torsion bars, shocks and mounts and drive shaft. The three-kit armor system provides the LAV with additional survivability against improvised explosive devices (IED) and direct-fire kinetic energy weapons.

The LAV-25A2 includes the Improved Thermal Sight System (ITSS) developed by Raytheon, scheduled for fielding by the end of 2007. The ITSS provides the gunner and commander with thermal images, an eye-safe laser range finder, a fire-control solution and far-target location target grid information.[10]

The new armor will provide protection from 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds, and include an anti-spall lining on the inside to further protect crew members. It will be similar to the protection found on the U.S. Army's LAV III "Stryker" variant.[11][12]


U.S. Marine crews practice live-fire movements during range training in the Middle East, June 5, 2009.
LAV fitted with an Emerson 901A1 TOW-2 ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) launcher, the same turret that was fitted on the M901 ITV (Improved TOW Vehicle). It is also armed with a pintle mounted M240E1 or M240B general-purpose machine gun. It carries a total of 16 TOW missiles, and 1,000 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition.
LAV fitted with opening doors on the top, inside it is fitted with an 81 mm M252 mortar, with 360° traverse, and a pintle mounted M240E1 machine gun. It carries 99 81 mm mortar shells, and 1,000 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition.
USMC LAV-AD during live-fire exercise
LAV fitted with an electric turret mounting a General Dynamics GAU-12 Equalizer 25 mm (0.984 in) 5-barreled Gatling cannon, and two missile pods each with 4× FIM-92 Stinger missiles for Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) duties. Capacity for 990 rounds of 25 mm ammunition, and 16 (including 8 reload rounds) FIM-92 Stinger missiles. This variant has been removed from service. A variant using the Mistral missile in place of Stingers was developed for the export market.[13]
LAV fitted with a boom crane, and recovery winch, for use in recovery of vehicles, specifically other LAVs. It is armed with a pintle-mounted M240E1/G machine gun, and carries 1,000 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition.
LAV with a raised roof to accommodate several VHF, UHF and HF radios. It is armed with a pintle-mounted M240E1/G machine gun, and carries 1,000 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition. Generally referred to as the C2 ("C-square" or "C-two").
LAV modified for use in a logistics role (e.g., cargo transport).
LAV modified for use in an electronic warfare role. Specific details of this variant are classified.
Proposed replacement for LAV-M, LAV fitted with provisions to use Dragon Fire, a 120 mm recoil mortar system.

An unknown variant is used by at least one civilian law enforcement agency.[14]

See also


  1. Michael Green; Greg Stewart (2003). Modern U.S. tanks & AFVs. Zenith Imprint. ISBN 9780760314678. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  2. "LAV III/NZLAV". Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  3. "Piranha III / LAV III Wheeled Armoured Vehicles". Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  4. "LAV-25".
  5. "LAV-25". ARG. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  6. Lamothe, Dan (11 May 2009). "Corps has big plans to upgrade LAV fleet". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  7. A force of one: LAV-ATs test modernization upgrades -, 27 March 2014
  9. MCA Continues LAV Upgrades Archived September 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. "Light Armored Vehicle (LAV)". Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  11. "Spending outlook: Marine Corps procurement forecast clouded by bleak budget projections. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  12. "DEFENSE NEWS: DTN News: General Dynamics To Supply 24 Light Armored Vehicles To the U.S. Marine Corps". 2010-08-14. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  13. "LAV-AD, United States of America". Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  14. Duchnowski, Jillian (15 June 2009). "Sheriff's vehicle has many uses". Northwest Herald. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
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