The Assault Amphibious Vehicle AAV7A1 is a fully-tracked amphibious landing vehicle manufactured by Samsung Techwin and United Defense (now part of BAE Systems Land & Armaments).
The AAV7A1 family currently serves as amphibious troop transport vehicles for the United States Marine Corps (USMC). It is used to ground surface assault components and equipment of the landing forces in a single lift from assault ships during amphibious operations. It also supports mechanised operations ashore.
The AAV7A1 of the USMC are often referred to as Amtracks.
The vehicle designated Korea Amphibious Assault Vehicle (KAAV) KAAV7A1 is in service with the Republic of Korea Marine Corps. AAV7A1 was also exported to Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Italy, Taiwan, Spain, Thailand and Venezuela.
AAV7A1 assault amphibious vehicle development
The AAV7A1 first entered service as LVT-7 to replace the LVT-5 in 1972. The LVT-7 vehicle was converted into the improved AAV7A1 vehicle under the LVT-7 Service Life Extension Program completed between 1983 and 1986.
A new advanced engine, transmission and weapons system were added and overall maintainability of the vehicle was improved. The upgraded vehicles were originally called LVT-7A1, but renamed as AAV7A1 by the USMC in 1984.
The lethality, survivability and communications of the vehicle were improved under Product Improvement Programme (PIP) implemented during 1987-1999. The AAV7A1 Reliability, Availability and Maintainability / Rebuild to Standard (RAM/RS) Programme replaced the engine and suspension with M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) components modified for the AAV. The RAM/RS programme, commenced in 1999 was concluded in 2007.
AAV7A1 design and features
The AAV7A1 features a vessel-shaped hull. The headlight clusters are housed in a square recess. The improved versions are fitted with new instrument panel, a night vision device and a new ventilation system.
The hydraulically controlled bow plane provides stability when operating afloat. Extra protection is provided by the enhanced applique armor kits (EAAK).
AAV7A1 is available in three variants, namely the AAVC7A1 Command Vehicle, AAVP7A1 Personnel Vehicle and AAVR7A1 Recovery Vehicle.
The AAVC7A1 Command Vehicle lacks a turret. The communications equipment is accommodated in the cargo space of the vehicle. This version is equipped with modern communication systems, supporting arms and logistical support units.
The variant can carry three crew members, five radio operators, three staff members and two commanding officers. The vehicle has been upgraded to accommodate Harris Falcon II class radios.
The AAVP7A1 Personnel Vehicle features a turret fitted with a M2HB .50 calibre heavy machine gun and an Mk19 40mm automatic grenade launcher. It is equipped with four crew radios and an AN/VIC-2 intercom system. The variant can carry a driver, a crew chief / vehicle commander (gunner) and rear crewman, and 25 combat equipped Marines. The P7 can be modified to carry the Mk 154 Mine Clearance Line Charge kit.
The AAVR7A1 Recovery Vehicle is not equipped with a turret. The R7 features a crane, capacity recovery winch, cutting, welding and other portable maintenance equipment to provide support maintenance to vehicles in the field. It is used to recover similar or smaller size vehicles.
The new turret carries an MK19 40mm grenade launcher (K4) and a .50 machine gun (K6) in a coaxial mount.
The weapon station allows the gunner to engage targets within 1,500m range and to traverse a full 360° at a speed of 45° per second.
The all-welded aluminium hull safeguards the crew from small arms fire, shell splinters and flash bums. The enhanced applique armor (EAAK) fitted to the hull suppresses the residual penetration of shaped charge munitions.
The AAV7A1 is also installed with auto fire suppression and NBC protection system for enhanced survivability.
The AAV7A1 is powered by a 400hp turbocharged multi-fuel, liquid cooled V-8 diesel engine coupled to a HS-400-3A1 automatic transmission integrating shifting, steering and braking functions in one unit.
The two 14,000gpm water jet pumps provide a cruising speed of 9.7km/h on the sea and the ability to negotiate 10ft plunging surfs flowing towards sea or shore.
The flat track torsion bar suspension system with heavy-duty shock absorbers provides excellent mobility over all terrains at a top speed of 72.4km/h.
- LVTP-7: Original series introduced from 1972. Originally armed with a M85 12.7 mm (.50cal) machine gun.
- LVTP-7A1: 1982 upgraded. Renamed to AAV7A1 from 1984.
- AAVP7A1 (Personnel): This is the most common AAV, as it carries a turret equipped with an M2HB .50 caliber heavy machine gun, and a Mk19 40mm automatic grenade launcher. It carries four crew radios as well as the AN/VIC-2 intercom system. It is capable of carrying 25 combat equipped Marines in addition to the crew of 4: driver, crew chief/vehicle commander, gunner, and rear crewman.
- AAVC7A1 (Command): This vehicle does not have a turret, and much of the cargo space of the vehicle is occupied by communications equipment. This version only has two crew radios, and in addition to the VIC-2, it also carries two VRC-92s, a VRC-89, a PRC-103 UHF radio, a MRC-83 HF radio and the MSQ internetworking system used to control the various radios. This AAV has a crew of 3, and additionally carries 5 radio operators, 3 staff members, and 2 commanding officers. Recently, the C7 has been upgraded to use Harris Falcon II class radios, specifically the PRC-117 for VHF/UHF/SATCOM, and the PRC-150 for HF.
- AAVR7A1 (Recovery): This vehicle also does not have a turret. The R7 is considered the “wrecker”, as it has a crane as well as most tools and equipment needed for field repairs. It is by far the heaviest of the three, and sits considerably lower in the water. Crew of three, plus the repairmen.
Many P7s have been modified to carry the Mk 154 MCLC, or Mine Clearance Line Charge. The MCLC kit can fire three linear demolition charges to breach a lane through a minefield. MCLCs were used in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and again in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
In the 1970s, the US Army used an LVTP-7 as the basis for their Mobile Test Unit (MTU), a ground-based high-energy anti-aircraft laser. After several successful test firings at Redstone Army Arsenal, the laser was reportedly transferred to NASA.
- KAAV7A1: KAAV7A1 amphibious vehicle series based on AAV7A1 by Samsung Techwin (now Hanwha Defense) and BAE systems developed and manufactured in South Korea by Samsung Techwin.
|Mass||29.1 t (64,000 lb)|
|Length||7.94 m (321.3″)|
|Width||3.27 m (128.72″)|
|Height||3.26 m (130.5″)|
|Armor||45 mm (1.8 in)|
|Mk 19 40 mm automatic grenade launcher (rounds: 96 ready; 768 stowed) and .50 cal M2HB heavy machine gun(rounds: 200 ready; 1,000 stowed)|
|Engine||Detroit Diesel 8V-53T (P-7), 400 hp Cummins VTA-903T (P-7A1), 525 hp|
|Suspension||torsion-bar-in-tube (AAV-7A1); torsion bar (AAV-7RAM-RS)|
|480 km (300 miles); 20 NM in water, including survival in Sea State 5|
|Maximum speed||24–32 km/h (15–20 mph) off-road, 72 km/h (45 mph) surfaced road, 13.2 km/h (8.2 mph) water|
- Argentina: Naval Infantry Command originally received 21 vehicles (19 LVTP-7, 1 LVTP-7 and 1 LVTR-7), 11 of them (9 LVTP-7, 1 LVTC-7 and 1 LVTR-7) were upgraded locally by MECATROL with Caterpillar C7 diesel engines and minor changes to running gear and other components
- Brazilian Marine Corps – has 49
- Indonesia – 10 in service with the Indonesian Marine Corps; donated by South Korea.
- Italy – Due to be replaced by the Italian Marines.
- Japan – Marine component of Ground Self Defense Force has 58 (46 personnel, 6 command and 6 recovery) After a period of testing 6 AAVP7A1s, Japan on 7 April 2016 announced it would purchase 30 systems. Vehicles are AAV7A1 Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability/Rebuild to Standard (RAM/RS) versions, with a more powerful engine and drive train and an upgraded suspension system, providing improved mobility, command, control and repair capabilities. Deliveries to take place in mid to late 2017.
- Philippines – Philippine Marine Corps All 8 AAV units has been delivered as of 2019 and currently operated by the Philippine Marine Corps, plans to order at least 16.
- Taiwan – Republic of China Marine Corps has 90 and 1 AAV Turret Trainer. Thirty-six currently on order for $375 million USD.
- Spanish Navy – Marines have 19 (16 personnel, 2 command and 1 recovery).
- South Korea – Republic of Korea Marine Corps has approximately 168 KAAV variants
- Thailand – Royal Thai Marine Corps has 36, AAVP7A1, AAVC7A1, AAVR7A1. Upgraded locally by Chaiseri to match with the BAE Systems’s AAV7A1 RAM/RS standard-
- United States Marine Corps – possesses 1,311 of them.