The USMC AAVP7A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier
The FMC’s Corporation manufactured AAVP7A1, started its service in 1972 with the American Marine Corp and was given the designation LVT-7 and was the replacement for the LVT-5. The landing of personnel, equipment and supplies from ships onto a hostile shore, is known as an amphibious assault and in 1982 the FMC Corporation was tasked to carry out the LVT-7 Service Life Extension Program and on completion it was designated the AAVP7A1 in 1985.
The A1 uses a Cummings VT 400-903 400hp engine and a FMC HS-400-3A1 transmission, with 4 speeds forward and 2 reverse, providing the A1 with a top road speed of 72 km/h and a water speeds up to 13 km/h when on amphibious operations. The A1 is then used as a land based APC after its initial amphibious assault.
Unlike its American Army APC counterpart the M2 Bradley, it does not carry heavy offensive armaments, such as the Bradley’s M242 25mm “Bushmaster” Chain Gun and tank killing Raytheon TOW BGM-71 missile system. The A-1 was however up-dated later on with the UpGunned Weapons Station manufactured by Cadillac Gage. It is mounted with a .50 cal (12.7 mm) M2 HB Machine Gun, smoke grenade launchers and a MK-19 40mm grenade launcher. The A1 is able to carry 1200 rounds for the M2 HB MG and 864 rounds for the 40mm grenade launcher.
Unlike other APC’s, the A1 is able to carry up to 25 fully equipped Marines, which excludes the 3 man crew, the commander in the UGWS, the driver and assistant driver. The most criticised or weakest point of the A1 is its poor 45mm armour. In the recent 2003 invasion of Iraq, several of them were disabled or destroyed during the battle of Nasiriyah after being struck by different weapons, such as RPG’s, mortar, tank and artillery fire, which resulted in the death of 18 Marines. The A1’s where subsequently fitted with appliqué armour kit’s, manufactured by RAFAEL Armament Development Authority. But on the 3rd of August 2005, 14 Marines were killed in Haditha when an IED road bomb destroyed their A1.
The American Marine Corp currently has a fleet of roughly 1310 A1’s. A further 6 countries use the A1 in small numbers, with South Korea having the second largest fleet of 60 plus A1’s. Argentina also uses the A1 and used it, in its invasion of the British Falkland islands in 1982.
The USMC AAVP7A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier Replacement
The AAVP7A1 is due to be replaced. The choosen vehicle was the GDLS Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, which was renamed as the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle. However in 2011 the EFV program was cancelled by the USMC.
The Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) is a program initiated by Marine Corps Systems Command after the cancelled EFV program. The ECV program has been broken down in to phases and is still ongoing.
AAVP7A1 Upgrades and Reset
In 2014 BAE System was awarded a contract for development of survivability upgrades valued at over $12 million for the AAVP7A1. These upgrades will be integrated during a limited reset (return to 0 mile condition by replacing worn parts) of roughly 40% of the Corps curret fleet, which is planned to begin in 2016. The upgrades should extend the AAVP7A1 service life whilst the ACV program continues for a replacement vehicle.