The Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) also known as AAV-7A1 (formerly known as LVT-7) is a fully tracked amphibious landing vehicle manufactured by U.S. Combat Systems to equip the United States Marine Corps, currently 11 countries operate this assault vehicle.
The Amphibious Assault Vehicle, usually known as the AAV7 was once called LVTP7 by the US Marine Corps and other users. It is a bulky amphibious tracked vehicle intended to land troops on open beaches so it has to be seaworthy and is thus scaled accordingly. Intended as a replacement for the LVTP-5 series the LVTP7 prototype ared in 1967 with production commencing during 1970-1971. In 1985 it was renamed the AAV7. By the time production has ceased over 1 500 had been produced not only for the US Marines but also for seven export customers, including Argentina, Brazil, Italy, South Korea, Spain and Thailand. It has a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver. The capacious troop compartment of the AAV7 can hold up to 25 marines or 4.5 tonnes of supplies, with entry and exit being via a large rear-mounted ramp or roof hatches.
The AAV7 is launched at sea from amphibious assault ships. This armored vehicle is self-deploying. It is intended for a forced entry into the semi-aquatic areas. The main mission of the vehicles during an amphibious assault is to spearhead a beach and to secure coastline for ongoing troops. Once ashore functions of the AAV7 include guarding checkpoints, patrolling and carrying troops and supplies inland.
This amphibious armored vehicle has a welded aluminum armor hull. It provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. A kit was devised to permit extra add-on armor to be installed on most US Marine Corps vehicles. The AAV7 has a small turret, armed with a 12.7-mm machine gun. Later it appeared that a single heavy machine gun is insufficient. Heavier turrets with 20- or 30-mm cannons were tested on this vehicle, however were not adopted. Engine of the AAV7 is mounted at the front. Originally vehicle was powered by a Detroit Diesel 8V53T turbocharged diesel engine, developing 400 hp. In the water propulsion is provided by two waterjet units at the rear, or alternatively, by spinning tracks. Vehicle has a seaworthiness up to Sea State 3.
The late production model was the AAV7A1 and most earlier models were later brought up to this standard in the late 1970s. AAV7A1 improvements included an new Cummins diesel engine pack, night vision devices, a
new weapon station control system, improved ventilation and many other detail changes. Further improvements included universal weapon mounting capable of accommodating a 40-mm automatic grenade launcher as well as 12.7-mm machine gun.
AAV7A1 variants include a command vehicle (AAVC7A1), a recovery vehicle fitted with a recovery jib (AAVR7A1), and various mine-clearing vehicles, including one with a mine plough. There was also a prototype amphibious light tank, armed with a 105-mm gun (LVTH7), however it never reached production.
Various automotive and suspension test beads have appeared, including a project, involving an electric drive system. In the near future the AAV7A1 will be replaced by a programme known as the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.
- LVTX-7: Original series introduced from 1972.
- LVTX-7A1: 1982 upgraded. Renamed to AAVx-7A1 from 1984.
- AAVP-7A1 (Personnel): This is the most common AAV, as it carries a turret equipped with an M2HB .50 caliber heavy machine gun, and a Mk19 40mm automatic grenade launcher. It carries four crew radios as well as the AN/VIC-2 intercom system. It is capable of carrying 25 combat equipped Marines in addition to the crew of 3: driver, crew chief/vehicle commander (also the gunner), and rear crewman.
- AAVC-7A1 (Command): This vehicle does not have a turret, and much of the cargo space of the vehicle is occupied by communications equipment. This version only has two crew radios, and in addition to the VIC-2, it also carries two VRC-92s, a VRC-89, a PRC-103 UHF radio, a MRC-83 HF radio and the MSQ internetworking system used to control the various radios. This AAV has a crew of 3, and additionally carries 5 radio operators, three staff members, and two commanding officers. Recently, the C7 has been upgraded to use Harris Falcon II class radios, specifically the PRC-117 for VHF/UHF/SATCOM, and the PRC-150 for HF.
- AAVR-7A1 (Recovery): This vehicle also does not have a turret. The R7 is considered the "wrecker", as it has a crane as well as most tools and equipment needed for field repairs. It is by far the heaviest of the three, and sits considerably lower in the water. Crew of three, not including the repairmen.
- United States: United States Marine Corps
- Argentina: Infanteria de Marina - 21 LVTP7s, around 10 upgraded locally
- Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais do Brazil (Brazil)- 13 AAV-7A1, 9 LVTP-7A1, 2 LVTC-7A1 and 2 LVTR-7A1
- Cambodia: Royal Cambodian Navy - 63 AAVT-7s, (12 AAVTC-7 +1AAVTR-7 +9AAVTP-7).
- Italy: Esercito Italiano and Italian navy - 70 LVPT7s, 50 of which have been upgraded to AAV-7A1 standard.
- South Korea: Republic of Korea Marine Corps - 162
- Taiwan: Republic of China Marine Corps - 54
- Spain: Spanish Marines - 36. Upgraded to AAV-7A1 standard.
- Thailand: Royal Thai Marine Corps - 40
- Venezuela: Venezuelan Navy - 11 AAVT-7s, (1 AAVTC-7 +1AAVTR-7 +9AAVTP-7).
- Indonesia: Indonesian Marine Corps - 10 units (LVTP7A1) donated by South Korea
- Entered Service: 1971
- Crew: 3
- Maximum Personnel: 25 men
Dimensions and Weight
- Weight: 23.9t
- Length: 8.16m
- Width: 3.27m
- Height: 3.31m
- Engine: Cummins VT400 Diesel
- Engine Power: 400 hp
- Maximum Speed: 72 km/h
- Speed at Water: 13.5 km/h
- 1x M2 Browning
- 1x 40mm Grenade Launcher
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