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Next LAV could be light-years ahead of current model

The next light armored reconnaissance vehicle that the Marine Corps adopts must show massive improvements over the current arsenal, much like the significant evolution of 1980s-era fighter jets to their modern replacements.

Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh told attendees Thursday at the annual Modern Day Marine military expo that the Corps is looking to industry to show them what improvements can be made.

“What we certainly don’t want to do is buy new, old stuff,” said the deputy commandant for Combat Development and Integration.

Walsh was responding to an audience question about the requirements the Corps is looking at for its next LAV, a vehicle that is already decades old.

“We need to look at something like the F-35,” he said. “You can clearly see a generational change when you go from AV-8 Harriers and F/A-18 Hornets to the F-35.”

The three-star then rattled off some items that the service wants to see, such as information sharing between vehicles, Active Protection Systems such as those on the Abrams tank and the ability to launch drones for reconnaissance missions.

Walsh recounted an APS demonstration he saw on tanks and how when he spoke to Israeli Army officers about how their experience with the tank’s abilities shifted their tactical thinking.

They could use their systems to detect the origin of hostile fires and then quickly communicate that information to other entities in the formation and at other sites, he said. All guns could then target the threat.

Those abilities gave tankers the confidence to operate in urban areas without the fear of being knocked out by anti-tank rounds and rockets, Walsh said.

One of the keys to the new vehicle, he added, will be electronic warfare.

“Making sense of what’s out in front of you,” he said.

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