BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by the US Marine Corps (USMC) to upgrade its AAV7A1 assault amphibious vehicle (AAV).
Under the $12m agreement, BAE will deliver engineering design and development work associated with survivability upgrades. The work will be performed at four of the company's facilities.
BAE Systems Combat Vehicles vice-president and general manager Mark Signorelli said: "As the designer and original manufacturer of the global AAV fleet and a provider of marine amphibious combat vehicle solutions for more than 50 years, BAE Systems continues to be a trusted partner to the US Marine Corps.
"We're confident that we can deliver a new evolution in the design of the AAV that meets the ever-evolving challenges in the battlefield environment and provides even better protection for US Marines."
As one of two awarded contracts following a competitive bid and evaluation process, the latest deal will enable BAE to develop a solution that improves the survivability and capability of about 40% of the USMC's AAV fleet.
The USMC is expected to make a down-select decision early next year, selecting a single supplier to move ahead to the programme's engineering and manufacturing development prototype build phase.
Last year, the USMC, in collaboration with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, developed an emergency egress lighting system for the marine corps' AAV, which enables personnel to escape an AAV in a submersible emergency and activate lights to guide crew members to the exit marks.
Image: The AAV7A1 assault amphibious vehicle at work. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.