Four battalions of the US Marine Corps’ ageing AAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicles are to receive survivability upgrades as part of the Corps’ amphibious ground vehicle modernisation efforts, service representatives said at the SMi Future Armoured Vehicles Survivability conference in London.
Designated as the AA7A2, or the AAV7 Survivability Upgrade vehicle, the upgrade package also includes enhancements to the platform’s mobility. Low rate initial production (LRIP) has begun for final testing and verification for the upgrade, which will complement the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) 1.1 and 1.2.
Survivability upgrades are focused principally on improving the underbelly blast protection of the flat-bottomed AAV7A1, which is currently capable of providing protection only against anti-personnel mine-levels of blast. The addition of underbelly armour increases the protection level to approximately half that of a mine-resistance, ambush-protected (MRAP) type vehicle; blast attenuated seats provide additional personnel protection within the vehicle. Applique armour is traded for integrated buoyant armour, with an externally mounted armoured fuel tank adding range to the vehicle.
The additional armour, seats, and other survivability enhancements add approximately 11,000 lb (5,000 kg) to the vehicle, requiring improvements to the marine drive train, powertrain, and modification to the suspension system.
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