April 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marine Corps plans to replace its light-armored vehicle, which has been around since the 1980s, with a modern armored reconnaissance vehicle late in the next decade.
The life cycle of the LAV is set to expire in the mid-2030s and the Corps wants to replace the vehicle before then, the branch said in a news release this week.
The eight-wheeled amphibious vehicle has supported Marine air and ground task force missions on the battlefield.
The ARV, with updated sensors, communication systems and lethality options, will be used against threats that are now being addressed with more heavily armored systems. That includes reconnaissance.
Defence Blog reported the sensors will include a thermal imager, daylight camera and a laser rangefinder.
"The ARV will be an advanced combat vehicle system, capable of fighting for information that balances competing capability demands to sense, shoot, move, communicate and remain transportable as part of the naval expeditionary force," John "Steve" Myers, program manager for the LAV portfolio, said.
In June 2016, the Corps established an LAV Way-Ahead, which included the option to initiate an LAV replacement program to field a next-generation capability in the 2030s.
"The Marine Corps is examining different threats," said Kimberly Bowen, deputy program manager of Light Armored Vehicles. "The ARV helps the Corps maintain an overmatched peer-to-peer capability."
The Office of Naval Research is researching advanced technologies for requirements, technology readiness assessments and competitive prototyping efforts for the next-generation ARV.
ONR has partnered with industry to build two technology demonstrator vehicles. One will comprise current, state-of-the-art technologies and standard weapons systems designed around a notional price point. The second is an "at-the-edge" vehicle with advanced capabilities.
"The purpose of those vehicles is to understand the technology and the trades," Myers said.
"We will take what we've learned in competitive prototyping. Prior to a Milestone B decision, we'll be working to inform trade space, inform requirements and reduce risk."
The Corps expects a material development decision before fiscal year 2020.
The LAV 25, which entered service in 1983, includes a crew of three and six personnel, according to Military.Today.com. They weigh 12.7 tons with a 62 mph road speed and 6.4 mph on water