Concepts & Programs HomeProgramsFocus Area 4: Modernization & TechnologyPart 3: Ground Combat Tactical VehiclesLAV Product Improvement Program

U.S. Marines with Apache Company, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Marine Air-Ground Task Force-8 (MAGTF), maneuver to their attack position in support of the final exercise during Integrated Training Exercise 5-17 (ITX), on Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Aug. 4, 2017. The purpose of ITX is to create a challenging, realistic training environment that produces combat-ready forces capable of operating as an integrated MAGTF. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Christopher A. Mendoza)


The Family of Light Armored Vehicles (FOLAV) is a Marine Corps legacy program which began fielding in 1983. An LAV is an 8x8 wheeled combat vehicle that forms the basis for the Marine Corps’ light armored reconnaissance (LAR) battalions’ combat capability in performance of their core mission, and also hosts mobile electronic warfare capabilities for the Marine Corps’ radio reconnaissance battalions. The FOLAV is comprised of seven variants; a base variant employing a 25mm automatic cannon (LAV-25) and six mission role variants (Anti-Tank, Command and Control, Mortar, Recovery, Logistics, and Electronic Warfare). The LAV’s combination of protected mobility, firepower, and communications enables its effective employment by Ground Combat Element (GCE) commanders across the range of potential military operations.

The LAV original service life expectancy was through 2003. It has twice been extended, and now is expected to exit service in 2035. Throughout its service life, the LAV has undergone a series of modifications, product improvement programs, and other upgrades to maintain threshold performance levels and increase system capability. The LAV underwent a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) beginning in 1997 in order to address maintenance issues, upgrade tire/wheel assemblies, provide thermal signature reduction, and integrate the Improved Thermal Sight System. The SLEP changed the LAV nomenclature to the LAV-A1 and extended the service life to 2015. The LAV was further upgraded in 2007 as part of an effort to upgrade vehicle components and purchase new LAVs in response to a force structure increase. The improvements included Automatic Fire Suppression System, Ballistic Protection Upgrade Package, Generation II Suspension, Power Pack Enhancements (Fuel Injectors, Fuel Cooler, and Improved Radiator), and Electronic Turret Drive, resulting in a nomenclature change to LAV-A2 and extension of the service life expectancy to 2025. In 2012, the LAV service life was further extended through 2035; consequently, additional product improvements are necessary to ensure the LAV is both operationally viable and available for the LAR battalion to effectively perform its doctrinal mission.

The LAV Modification and Sustainment funding line resources necessary vehicle/weapon modifications essential to fleet life-cycle management and sustainment. LAV Modification and Sustainment actions include safety modifications, support equipment/tool sustainment, end-item product data management, and technical and engineering data management. The LAV Modification and Sustainment line is critical to keeping the FOLAV operationally ready and effective.

The FOLAV is experiencing automotive system obsolescence and reduced performance due to increased gross vehicle weight. The LAV Obsolescence (OB) program will improve fleet reliability and availability by addressing the three sub-systems that specifically account for over 95% of total system deadline time. It replaces the power pack, driveline and steering sub-systems, as well as fields a modern Driver’s Instrument Panel and LAV- 25 turret slip-ring. The LAV OB program serves as a bridge to the next-generation armored reconnaissance capability and LAV replacement.

The LAV Anti-Tank Modernization (LAV-ATM) Program modernizes the legacy turret and tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) system in order to sustain the capability, improve readiness, ensure a high degree of commonality with USMC and U.S. Army systems, and enable the Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion to employ the full range of current and emerging TOW munitions. The program will counter two converging obsolescence issues on the LAV-ATM platform: The M901 Emerson turret is no longer in production and has been retired from the U.S. Army inventory; and the M2203A3 TOW system is being replaced by the M41 SABER system in the USMC infantry and tank battalions leaving the LAR Battalion as the only unit using the legacy TOW system.

Operational Impact

The FOLAV enables the LAR battalion to conduct mounted and dismounted reconnaissance and surveillance, security operations in support of maneuver, offensive and defensive actions, deception, and raids to create decisive conditions for the Marine GCE commander. In the security area, the LAV equipped LAR battalion is able to fight for information and win the security area; able to probe into the enemy’s organization, uncover and understand intentions, actively seek out gaps through continuous and aggressive reconnaissance, and counter the enemy’s ability to collect information on friendly forces.

Program Status









LAV-OB Procurement Profile:

FY18 - QTY 0
FY19 - QTY 60


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