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Upgraded LAV anti-tank weapon system for U.S. Marines

The U.S. Marine Corps is upgrading the turret system on one of its longest-serving fighting vehicles, the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) Anti-Tank.

In progress upgraded LAV Anti Tank Weapon System to Marines
LAV Anti-Tank Weapon System (Picture source: USMC / Kaitlin Kelly )

In September 2017, the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command’s LAV-AT Modernization program team achieved initial operational capability by completing its first fielding of four upgraded Anti-Tank Weapon Systems to the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion Marines at Camp Pendleton, California.

The ATWS fires tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided, or TOW, missiles. It provides long-range, stand-off anti-armor fire support to maneuvering Light Armored Reconnaissance companies and platoons, and observation capability in all climates and during periods of limited visibility.

The LAV-ATM program was established in 2012 to enhance the reliability, availability and maintainability of the vehicle’s turret system. “Compared to the legacy version, the new turret is unmanned, it fires both wire-guided and radio frequency TOW missiles, and it can acquire targets while on-the-move with an improved thermal sight,” said Jim Forkin, Program Manager’s Office LAV-ATM team lead. Furthermore, it has a Far Target Location system, new commander/gunner video sight displays, and an electric elevation and azimuth drive system.

The LAV-ATM team provides new equipment training to units receiving the ATWS upgrade. With the help of new technology, the Marines can initiate a built-in test to conduct a system check of the components that make up the ATWS to help the operator and maintainer diagnose and troubleshoot the system, a feature not previously available on the legacy turret, said Forkin. The operator can also use an embedded training mode in the ATWS, which is software driven, to support individual and crew training by simulating the firing of the weapon system while viewing targets through the biocular display unit.

In addition to training in the field, anti-tank gunners and maintainers also train in a classroom setting environment with stations using existing 3D computer simulated technology to train their maintainers. This modernizes how the Corps trains its maintainers to meet the requirements to sustain the new ATWS. “Using the 3D DTT, students will interactively conduct troubleshooting and remove and replace ATWS components in a simulated environment, which will be followed by training on actual hardware on the Tactical Turret Trainer and vehicles,” said Paul Kopjoe, Logistics Management specialist, PM LAV team at Program Manager’s Office LAV. With a combination of an interactive 3D DTT, which allows the instructor to train multiple students at the same time, the ATWS Tactical Turret Trainer provides the student with the tactile feel of a real ATWS system, without risk of injury or damage on equipment. Fielding for the ATWS will be completed at the end of this year.


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