Marine Light Armored Vehicles equipped with anti-tank weapons are getting upgraded turrets that can fire radio frequency-guided TOW missiles, officials said.
The current generation of TOW missiles are wire-guided, said Jim Forkin, of Marine Corps Systems Command.
“I can’t speak directly for when the newest TOW RF [radio frequency] missiles will be going out there, but our system is capable of firing the RF TOW missiles, which will be what all TOW missiles will be eventually,” Forkin said.
With the new turret, the gunner’s seat inside the LAV does not move, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael Lovell, also with MARCORSYSCOM. In the current anti-tank variant of the LAV, the gunner’s seat moves with the turret.
“As that turret traverses independently of the gunner, it may be oriented to the side, but the gunner is still sitting in the same position,” Lovell said.
The new turret does not change the number of Marines that anti-tank LAVs can carry, he said.
Lovell said the new turrets make LAVs more lethal, but he declined to elaborate on how the upgrades would help Marines in a fight against enemy tanks.
“We don’t want to talk about capabilities in a public release forum,” Lovell said. “We don’t like to tell our enemies our capabilities and that’s what you’re asking us to do.”
The first four LAVs with the anti-tank configuration received the new turret in September and fielding is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, said Corps officials, who refused to say how many LAVs are being upgraded.
“We have a plan, but the plan does get adjusted here and there,” Forkin said. “It probably would be best not to give out specific numbers.”
Seapower magazine reported in September that 95 of the Marine Corps’ 713 LAVs are anti-tank variants.