Welcome to the suggestion post for the LAV-105, also known as LAV-AG. This is a variation of the LAV series made for the United States Marine Corps, which mounts an autoloaded 105 mm XM35 rifled gun, the same gun found on the XM8 in-game. The LAV-105 in War Thunder would give the US tree a fast and hard-hitting vehicle capable of firing a variety of ammunition, perhaps being a lower battle rating alternative to the M1128, enabling American commanders greater mobility while not losing the firepower of a tank. Feel free to leave your thoughts on this vehicle below, as well as correct any errors if you find them.
An LAV-25 from D Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in Panama during Operation Rough Rider, November 22nd, 1989.
In September 1982, General Motors Canada’s modified Piranha AFV won a competition for the U.S. Military’s new Rapid Deployment Task Force. The vehicle was armed with a 25 mm M242 autocannon, intended to provide sufficient firepower while keeping the vehicle still relatively light. Its armor was thin, only able to stop 7.62 mm AP rounds and little else, but was also very light and quick, being 12.8 tons and being able to move up to 100 km/h.
The original plan for the vehicle was for the US Army and USMC to adopt the vehicle, with the Army ordering 2,350 vehicles. It would be designated M1047 by the U.S. Army, and LAV-25 by the USMC. Plans quickly changed when the Army withdrew due to a lack of funding for the M1047. This put the program in jeopardy for the USMC for a time, but the Marine Corps managed to obtain funds for the procurement of 758 LAVs from fiscal years 1982 through 1985. While 422 of these were to be the LAV-25, the Marines planned on several variants. Among these were several combat oriented vehicles, such as a mortar carrier, the LAV-M, an anti-tank vehicle carrying TOW missiles, the LAV-AT, an anti-aircraft variant, the LAV-AD, and an assault gun variant, the LAV-AG. This latter vehicle was intended to provide fire support through use of a large caliber gun, while still being a lightweight and mobile vehicle.
A section on the LAV-105 from Marine Concepts and Issues.
For the LAV-AG part of the program, the primary armament considered was Cockerill’s low-recoil force 90 mm gun. Low-recoil was a very important factor in deciding the armament of the LAV-AG, primarily due to the LAV-25’s light weight. Besides Cockerill’s 90 mm gun, a few other armaments were available and tested, such as Israel Military Industries’ 60 mm gun, the Ares XM274 75 mm, the Mecar low-recoil force 90 mm gun, as well as a low-recoil variant of the 105 mm M68. These armament options would be evaluated at Aberdeen Proving Ground during 1983 and early 1984. Of all of the armaments, the 105 mm M68 proved to be the most satisfactory, providing decent ballistics as well as penetrating power. There was a downside to this gun, however. That was that it was being limited to firing on a 60 degree frontal arc due to the recoil force, though it could be changed to 90 degrees in an emergency. The M68, along with all other mentioned armaments, would ultimately be rejected for various reasons, but the primary reason was due to excessive recoil. Tests would run for about a decade until a breakthrough in 1990.
The LAV-AG fitted with a 75 mm XM274 gun, which was also used for the HSTV-L and a couple other experimental vehicles.
In 1990, General Motors presented a solution to the recoil issue, by installing in the LAV-25 what was essentially a downsized Stingray light tank turret. Armed with Watervliet Arsenal’s Benet Laboratories XM35 105 mm low-recoil gun, the vehicle could handle the gun’s recoil, unlike previous attempts. The gun was fully stabilized and loaded by a Fairey Hydraulics Limited autoloader in the turret bustle, which could carry 8 ready rounds, reducing the crew in the turret to two. The gun and turret were traversed electrically by an HR Textron electromechanical gun/drive system, which solved an issue with burning hydraulic fluid found in previous American vehicles. The gun could fire standard NATO 105 mm ammunition, including American ammunition, ranging from the M456 HEAT round to the powerful M900 APFSDS-T round. The weight was increased to 16 tons, but this wasn’t seen as a major issue.
Both the commander and gunner had access to a single-piece hatch cover that opened to the rear. The commander was seated on the left and had a thermal day/night remote monitor. The gunner, seated on the right, had a stabilized Raytheon Day/Night Range Sight with a 10x magnification field of view for the sight, as well as four observation sights, and a back-up periscope.
The rear of the LAV-105, showing the bustle autoloader with ammunition.
After promising testing results and following competitive bidding, Cadillac Gage Textron received a contract in June of 1990 to provide three LAV-105s to the Marine Corps by May of 1992 for testing. This was not to be, however, as in late 1991, the Marine Corps cancelled the research and development of the LAV-105 due to a lack of production funding between fiscal years 1993 and 1996, primarily since the Pentagon did not allow continued development of a program unless there was assured money for production. Despite the cancellation, the LAV-105 had been on schedule in terms of production, and had completed unmanned firing tests.
In 1993, the LAV-105 was revived by the U.S. Navy, who gave Cadillac Gage US $33.8 million to complete development and testing of the three prototypes that had been produced, where the vehicles exceeded the Marine Corps’ requirements during stationary and mobile firing tests. Development finished in June of 1995, but the LAV-105 ultimately did not see any production contracts from the U.S. Military or any other countries.
Despite not seeing service, the LAV-105 was not the end for the LAV-25 and its variants. The LAV-25 continues to see service with both the United States Marine Corps and the United States Army, with a number of the previously mentioned variants entering service, such as the LAV-AT, and it is unlikely it will go out of service any time soon.
A side view of the LAV-105 in the desert. Though it never entered service, it was nonetheless a good attempt at a light assault gun.
- Weight: 16 t
- Length (gun forward): 8.25 m
- Hull length: 6.9 m
- Width: 2.65 m
- Height: 2.68 m
- Main armament: 105 mm L/52 EX35 (30 rounds) (8 RPM / 7.5 second reload) (8 rounds in ready rack)
- Elevation range: -8/15
- Traverse range: 360 degrees
- Engine: 275hp turbocharged Detroit Diesel 6V53T V-6
- Maximum speed: 100 km/h (road)
- Range: 650 km
- Gradient: 60%
- Side slope: 30%
- Vertical step: 0.5 m
- Trench: 2 m
- Hunnicutt, R. P. Armored Car: A History of American Wheeled Combat Vehicles. Echo Point Books & Media, 2015.
- Army Guide
- WarWheels.Net- LAV 105 Assault Gun (LAV-AG)
- Jane’s Armoured Fighting Vehicle Retrofit Systems 1993 94 (p. 347)