Marines Select Prototypes for Light Armored Vehicle Replacement

General Dynamic Land Systems’ ARV-30 prototype vehicle is one of two prototypes selected for the next phase of a program to upgrade the Marine Corps light armored vehicle fleet. (Image: General Dynamic Land Systems.)

The U.S. Marine Corps has selected two companies to design prototype Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle 30mm Autocannon (ARV-30) vehicles. Under a new two-year award, General Dynamic Land Systems and Textron Systems will develop competing prototype ARV-30s, the mobile reconnaissance vehicle that will replace the Marines' Light Armored Vehicle (LAV).

The LAVs currently operated by the Marines first entered into service in 1983 to support Air-Ground Task Force missions and has a service life that is projected to expire by the mid-2030s, according to a Congressional Research Service overview  of the program published last year. Throughout 2023, the Marines began evaluating three prototypes from Textron, General Dynamics and BAE Systems, focusing on the ability of the vehicles other than navigate mission-representative terrain, in addition to its C4 and UAS capabilities.

In the development of the ARV-30, the Marines are searching for an LAV replacement that is networked, lethal, providing sensors and lethality options to "counter threats traditionally addressed with more heavily armored systems." The vehicle will be equipped with automatic 30mm medium-caliber cannon, anti-armor capability, modern command-and-control systems, and a full range of advanced sensors. ARV-30 will also be smaller and lighter than the BAE-supplied Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV).

According to an update on the ARV program released by General Dynamics in January, the Marine Corps directed tests of their existing ARV prototype vehicle in 2023 that included "Command, Control, Communications and Computer/Uncrewed Aerial Systems (C4/UAS); land and water mobility; and blast and kinetic tests, as well as cyber and electromagnetic interference (EMI) assessments." Some of the "closely monitored" testing included ocean swim mobility and surf zone transition of littoral beach areas, the company notes.

The prototype General Dynamics vehicle that the Marines tested last year features the company's "Next Generation Electronic Architecture," that enables artificial intelligence (AI) and control of robotic systems.

An update on their respective ARV prototype vehicle recently released by Textron Systems notes that the company received an amendment  in January to upgrade the command, control, communications and computers (C4) and automotive systems of the ARV, by increasing requirements maturity and improving overall vehicle system performance through enhanced reliability. The amendment includes a requirement for improved battle software that will help refine the overall ARV-30 program requirements.

"The ARV-30 aims to combine the turret and weapon system found on the ACV-30,” Steve Myers, Marine Corps Program Manager, Light Armored Vehicles, said in a press release. “Ensuring commonality is crucial, especially for the Marine Corps' capacity to maintain weapon systems with limited fleets. The prototyping of the ARV-30 allows the Government to test and confirm the requirements before entering the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase.”

The Marines expect the delivery of the ARV-30 prototypes from the two companies to occur in 2025.