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LAV-25 (Light Armored Vehicle 25) Wheeled Reconnaissance Vehicle (1983)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 3/11/2014

The Canadian-produced LAV-25 eight-wheeled armored vehicle is a mainstay of United States Marines land force elements.

The LAV-25 eight-wheeled vehicle is classified as a light armored reconnaissance vehicle. Its wheeled nature allows it to traverse both on-road and off while an inherent amphibious quality allows it to cross water sources. The LAV-25 has seen consistent use since its arrival in 1983, delivered to the battlefronts of the 1989 Invasion of Panama, the 1991 Gulf War, the post-9/11 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq. The LAV-25 was designed and continues to be manufactured in Canada under the General Dynamics Land Systems Canada brand label (formerly General Motors of Canada). The LAV-25 design is based on the Swiss MOWAG "Piranha" 8x8 series of armored vehicles which is also owned by GDLS Canada.

Such wheeled armored vehicles offer cost-savings measures and in-the-field simplicity when compared to their tracked counterparts. The LAV-25 has proven adaptable across many different combat environments and can be showcased in large numbers due to their relatively controlled procurement and long-term maintenance costs. Indeed, many modern land armies have moved away from expensive and complex tracked vehicles to such six-/eight-wheeled offerings like the LAV-25. Its light armor protection is offset by inherent mobility and speed while armament is sufficient to combat other lightly-armored/soft-skinned vehicles or troop emplacements in turn and the system provides warplanners with a mobile and adaptable platform to undertake several battlefield-related tasks.

The LAV-25 was originally ordered in six different versions for the US Marine Corps and the US Army though the latter eventually bowed out of the program. The USMC was then alone in ordering its first 758 units for delivery slated between 1983 and 1987. After production had completed, the LAV-25 was subsequently added to the inventory of the Canadian Armed Forces during 1996 to which 203 were adopted under the "Coyote" designation to serve as battlefield reconnaissance vehicles (the Coyote is detailed elsewhere on this site).

The standard LAV-25 offering seats the driver at front left with the engine mounted to the right of the hull (its placement identified by the large cylindrical muffler assembly fitted). A two-man powered turret seats the capable 25mm M242 "Bushmaster" chain gun and is installed over the vehicle's middle-rear. Internally, the LAV-25 can house six fully-equipped infantrymen across a pair of three-person benches found against each hull side wall. Firing ports are provided for each of these positions to allow passengers to help defend the vehicle through use of their personal weapons.

In addition to the 25mm chain gun, the turret also contains a 7.62mm machine gun in a co-axial mounting for anti-infantry defense. An additional (and optional) 7.62mm machine gun can be mounted along the turret roof for air-defense duty. Electrically-launched smoke grenade dischargers are provided for a self-defense measure and night vision equipment is available for the driver, gunner and commander positions. The LAV-25 also sports a full amphibious nature.

Power for the vehicle is served through a Detroit Diesel 6V653 diesel-fueled engine developing 275 horsepower. This provides the LAV-25 with a top road speed of 62 miles per hour and operational range of 410 miles, suitable qualities in keep up with the main armored force. The engine is mated to an Allison MT653 series transmission system and suspension is across all wheels in the 8x8 configuration.

Vehicle dimensions include a running length of 19 feet, a width of 8.2 feet and a height to turret top of 8.8 feet. The vehicle can be airlifted by transport helicopter or medium/heavy class fixed-wing transport. The hull features liberal deployment of angled surfaces to provide basic ballistics protection. Road wheels feature independent suspension with four fitted to each hull side.

Variants aplenty where the LAV-25 is concerned. Initial models are designated as LAV-25. The LAV-25A1 is a more modernized form appearing in the late 1990s. The LAV-25A2 is an even more modernized type with improved armor and suspension (among other changes). Key offshoots of these lines then include an anti-tank form (LAV-AT), a mortar-carrying variant (LAV-M) and its proposed successor (LAV-EFSS), an air-defense variant with GAU-12 25mm Gatling gun (LAV-AD), an Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARV) (as the LAV-R), a Command and Control vehicle with increased communications equipment (LAV-C2), the Mobile Electronic Warfare Support System (LAV-MEWSS) and a logistics-minded transport series (LAV-LOG).

The LAV-25 series continues in active service as of March 2014. As it stands, the USMC is looking to replace their aging stocks of LAV-25s with the upcoming Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) which remains in development. However, delays in the program would see no replacement until sometime in 2020 at the earliest.

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Specifications for the
LAV-25 (Light Armored Vehicle 25)
Wheeled Reconnaissance Vehicle


Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: General Dynamics Land Systems Canada - Canada
Initial Year of Service: 1983
Production: 758


Focus Model: LAV-25 (Light Armored Vehicle 25)
Crew: 3 + 6


Overall Length: 20.96ft (6.39m)
Width: 8.76ft (2.67m)
Height: 8.83ft (2.69m)
Weight: 18.0 US Short Tons (16,330kg; 36,001lbs)


Powerplant: 1 x Detroit Diesel 6V-53T diesel engine delivering 275 horsepower.


Maximum Speed: 62mph (100 km/h)
Maximum Range: 410 miles (660 km)


NBC Protection: Yes
Nightvision: Yes - Passive for driver, commander and gunner


Armament:
1 x 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun
1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun
1 x 7.62mm anti-aircraft machine gun (optional)
2 x 4 Smoke grenade dischargers


Ammunition:
720 x 25mm projectiles
1,000 x 7.62mm ammunition
8 x Smoke grenades


Variants:
LAV-C2 - Command and Control Vehicle


LAV-25 - Base Combat Vehicle Designation as utilized by the United States Marine Corps.

LAV-25 "Coyote" - Battlefield Reconnassaince Vehicle in service with the Canadian Armed Forces.

LAV-AT - Anti-tank Vehicle

LAV-L - Logistics Vehicle

LAV-M - Mortar Carrier Vehicle

LAV-R - Armored Recovery Vehicle

Piranha - Swiss-Produced Variant of which the LAV-25 is based on; produced by MOWAG.


Operators:
Australia; Botswana; Canada; Chile; Denmark; Ghana; Ireland; Liberia; New Zealand; Nigeria; Oman; Qatar; Sweden; Saudi Arabia; Sierra Leone; Swtizerland; Spain; United States