The US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) is sponsoring research on the development of the next-generation armoured reconnaissance vehicle (ARV), which will replace the Marine Corps’ current light armoured vehicle (LAV).

The existing LAV supports light armoured reconnaissance battalions that carry out all-weather, sustained-reconnaissance, counter-reconnaissance and security missions.

The Marine Corps plans to replace the current LAV, which has been in service since the early 1980s, at the end of the next decade.

ONR’s ARV science and technology effort is part of the Department of the Navy’s Future Naval Capabilities (FNC) programme.

The FNC programme, which was initiated by the Department of the Navy in 2002, intends to discover, assess and fast-track the useful new technologies into acquisition programmes of record upon completion of the research.

The future ARV will offer transformational sensor, communications and combat capabilities for collecting and communicating information. It will integrate robotics and artificial intelligence technologies in manned and unmanned teams.

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The ARV will allow a crew to utilise advanced onboard sensors and unmanned systems for identifying and recognising threats at extended ranges.

ONR awarded several contracts in 2018 for full-system concept/trade studies and for individual advanced technology research efforts.

In 2019, ONR awarded contracts to defence firms General Dynamics Land Systems and SAIC for the design, fabrication, and testing of full-scale technology-demonstration vehicles.

The vehicle, to be designed by General Dynamics Land Systems, will feature advanced technologies available at present or in the near future around a notional unit price point.

SAIC’s vehicle will incorporate advanced technologies that might not be fully mature currently but could be equipped into the ARV as new capabilities when threats and missions take place.

Both the technology demonstrator platforms are expected to be ready for government assessment near the end of 2020.

ONR is also investing in component technology development to improve the armoured reconnaissance mission of the future.