The US Marine Corps (USMC) Systems Command’s light armoured vehicle (LAV) anti tank modernisation (ATM) programme team has completed the fielding of the first four upgraded anti-tank weapon systems (ATWS).

ATWS for the upgraded LAVs were deployed to 1st Light Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion Marines at Camp Pendleton, California.

The LAV-ATM programme was initially established in 2012 and is intended to increase the reliability, availability and maintainability of the vehicle’s turret system.

"The new turret is unmanned, it fires both wire-guided and radio frequency TOW missiles, and it can acquire targets while on-the-move with an improved thermal sight."

The ATWS fires tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided (TOW) missiles and provides long-range, stand-off anti-armour fire support to manoeuvring light armoured reconnaissance companies and platoons.

It also offers observation capability in all climates and even during times of limited visibility.

Programme Manager Office LAV-ATM team lead Jim Forkin said: “Compared to the legacy version, the new turret is unmanned, it fires both wire-guided and radio frequency TOW missiles, and it can acquire targets while on-the-move with an improved thermal sight.”

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The improved turret has a far target location system, a new commander / gunner video sight displays and an electric elevation and azimuth drive system, which helps rotate the weapon system onto the target.

PM LAV team ordinance vehicle maintenance officer chief warrant officer 4 Michael S. Lovell said: “The turret is important because it protects marines and gives them an enhanced capability that they didn’t have before.

“The new turret on the LAV-AT helps us watch over other vehicles and target enemies with increased vision.”

The LAV-ATM team also delivers new equipment training to units designated to receive the modernised ATWS.

Marines are able to initiate a built-in test to carry out a system check of the ATWS’ components to help the operator and maintainer diagnose and troubleshoot the system more efficiently.

In addition, the operator can also use a software-driven embedded training mode in the ATWS to support individual and crew training by simulating the firing of the weapon system, while viewing targets through the biocular display unit.

Fielding for the ATWS is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2019.