Marine Corps Evaluating Light Vehicle for Recon Missions

By Meredith Roaten

BAE Systems photo

Upcoming testing will evaluate how a new BAE Systems vehicle holds up to the Marine Corps’ standards for its reconnaissance vehicle program.

BAE wants to give the Marines Corps an off-the-shelf option for its Light Armor Vehicle replacement, Mark Brinkman, the program manager for amphibious vehicles at BAE, said on the sidelines of Modern Day Marine trade show in May.

The Marine Corps awarded Textron Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems a contract to build prototypes for its Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle last fall. However, the service has also asked BAE to analyze its configuration of the amphibious combat vehicle that can run reconnaissance missions — known as the Command, Control, Communication and Computers /Unmanned Aerial Systems, or C4/UAS variant.

“Instead of buying a new vehicle you just take those capabilities and put it on the [amphibious combat vehicle],” he said.

The technologies integrated on the vehicle will provide “a state-of-the-art battle management system and advanced sensing capabilities,” according to BAE.

The variant will include some counter-unmanned aerial systems capabilities, he noted.

To maximize the advantage to the service, the vehicle has focused on making as many parts in common with the deployed system as possible, Brinkman said. The new capabilities BAE Systems is offering were built on an amphibious combat vehicle — instead of in a lab — for tests that will start in July.

This choice will provide data that “you can’t learn ... in a lab” to the Marine Corps, he said.

“To us, it seems more value added, and we can provide a lot more useful information to the Marine Corps, if we built that systems integration lab on an actual vehicle … because you can learn things like how would you sit next to each other and just communicate inside the vehicle,” he said.

For example, the trials over the summer will verify the vehicle can launch the Lockheed Martin-designed Stalker unmanned aerial system and gather information about incoming threats, he said. The sensing technology on the drone would be able to communicate information with the vehicle where operators can choose the next step.

Topics: Marine Corps News

Comments (2)

Re: Marine Corps Evaluating Light Vehicle for Recon Missions

Too heavy for Force Design 2030 applications centered upon a China threat to the littorals. The ARV candidates run around the 30 ton weight capacity, even heavier if derived from the ACV chassis at around 33 ton weight, to be applied in rural littoral areas of Asia with ~15-20 ton bridge capacities. It would have to swim across nearly all wet gaps, which it can do, provided there are viable near-shore/far-shore banks to access/egress from the swim. Those access points that might exist today, will disappear with the next typhoon. The previous commenter's concerns about armament represent the classic trade off between FD2030 operational concerns vs. current modern land combat concerns. If deployed in the littorals in order to "sense" amid the threat of SOF or indigenous forces, the .50cal/Mk19 remote weapons package is probably adequate and relatively light, but if employed in a ground combat screen force for a MEF it has to have enough firepower with range to blunt the threat advance maneuver elements it might bump into at a long enough range and lethality to be able to break contact and report. Such firepower would add additional weight. It will have to be able to launch UAV/loitering munitions as well as be able to take out threat UAV/loitering munitions in the modern recon/counter-recon fight. Every requirement add-on just increases the weight. A light FD2030 mechanized recon vehicle (6x6 ATV-styled swimmer with small arms, tactical UAV employment, and counter-UAV capability) and a heavy LAV-25-like replacement with ATGM range and lethality ala Javelin, operational UAV employment, and counter-UAV capability) in addition to sensor suites is what is really needed. A compromise vehicle will be like a house boat, neither a house nor a proper boat. With the $$$ available, how will the USMC choose?

Daniel at 11:13 AM
Re: Marine Corps Evaluating Light Vehicle for Recon Missions

The issue again comes down to "How much firepower is needed to gather intel?" The LAV-25 has the 25mm, and the ACV and ARV seem to have CROWS II with .50cal or MK-19 40mm AGL that is no better than the defunct AAV7.

In terms of Lethality and logistics, why not field the Medium Robotic Combat Vehicle (M-RCV) by Israel?

If they want manned, the ACV and ARV seem to be viable options, but I'd equip them with a RIwP turret armed with 25-30mm, ATGM, APKWS, or Stingers because the Recon Marines will be out there on their own.

Trisaw at 4:51 PM
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