The LAV-25 is an eight-wheeled amphibious infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) used by the United States Marine Corps. It was built by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada and is based on the Swiss MOWAG Piranha I 8×8 family of armored fighting vehicles.
The LAV-1 family of vehicles are NOT “LAV-25s”; a misconception confusing the turret armament that’s on some variants. GDLS also makes LAV-2s and LAV-3s using Roman numerals “III” to designate these successive families.
Powered by a 6V53T Detroit Diesel turbo-charged engine, they are 4-wheel drive (rear wheels) transferable to 8-wheel drive. These vehicles are also amphibious, meaning they have the ability to “swim”, but are limited to non-surf bodies of water (no oceans). While engaged in amphibious operations, the maximum speed is approximately 12 km/h using equipped propellers. The current SLEP (Service Life Extension Program) modifications will hinder/eliminate amphibious ops.
Typical land speeds are approximately 100 km/h (62.5 mph) in either 4 or 8-wheel drive, however fuel economy decreases in 8-wheel drive. The vehicles operate on diesel fuel, and require 3 weights of lubricants to remain in running condition. They are equipped with a M242 Bushmaster 25 mm cannon, two M240 7.62 mm machine guns, and two 4-barrel grenade launchers usually loaded with smoke canisters and located on the forward left and right sides of the turret. The crew is three; Vehicle commander (VC), gunner and driver, and four passengers (scouts) with combat gear.
The vehicle has been through many changes through the late 1990s. The new modification or SLEP has changed the LAV-25 to the LAV-25A1 standard and has been completely fielded.
systems offer up accommodations for a driver at front left with the engine mounted to the right. A two-man powered turret is fitted with the M242 Bushmaster 25mm chain gun and is mounted at the vehicle’s rear. Additionally, the LAV-25 can carry six fully-equipped infantrymen in a 3-person bench on either side of the rear left and right walls. Firing ports are provided for each of these seating positions as well.
While the turret contains a standard 7.62mm co-axial machine gun mount (M240 style, detailed in the Small Arms section of this site), an additional 7.62mm machine gun can be mounted for air-defense duties as an option. Smoke grenade dischargers are also provided, as is night vision equipment for the driver, gunner and commander. The LAV-25 is fully amphibious and is currently seeing active service with US forces in the Middle East.