Marine LAV-25

Here’s a great pic of a Marine light armored vehicle in Iraq:

U.S. Marine Cpls. Joshua Sanchez (left) and Jared Broderick take a break outside of their light armored vehicle parked on a hill overlooking the city of Hit, Iraq, on Dec. 5, 2005. Sanchez and Broderick are scouts with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). DoD photo by Cpl Chad H. Leddy, U.S. Marine Corps. (Released)

The first thing you’ll notice, when comparing this to a Stryker, is that the Marines have elected to hang all sorts of crap on the outside of the vehicle rather than install slat armor.

And this makes me ask once again: Is anyone aware of Marine LAV losses to RPG fire? I realize that there aren’t nearly as many Marine LAVs in Iraq as there are Strykers, but they’ve been in the thick of it in Anbar all along. Just curious.

And I still think a 25mm turret for the Stryker would come in handy.


  1. I have no idea about loses. I would speculate however that since the LAV must retain it’s amphib capability, the outside stuff is just temporary. I would also guess that employment of LAV’s is in tune with the concept that armor doesn’t operate without Infantry cover. That can (but not always) result in reduced loses. I do not understand completely the concept of the Stryker, but it seems to be employed in cities a lot more than LAV’s which makes it more susceptable to RPG ambushes. Then again …. I may be way off.

  2. Here’s a picture of pretty much identical Australian vehicles, also deployed to Iraq, using slat armour. The first vehicle is an APC variant. The second vehicle is identical to the Marine LAV-25 although it’s called an ASLAV in Australian service. Unlike stryker slat armour, the Australian version can be removed reasonably quickly. They routinely take the armour off when they are patrolling downtown in traffic. If you Google around for ASLAV, you’ll see quite a few photos of them deployed in southern Iraq.

  3. Figuring out combat losses on the LAV is tough. From a logistics view point, it looks like the Marines expect about 17 LAV’s a year to be lost. However, there is a much more serious issue with the LAV’s. Logistically, it looks like the Marine LAV’s will cease to be operational if the current conditions in Iraq continue for another 18 months. We are putting about 1300K per month on the vehical at the end of its operational life. If you feel upto it, reading the following Marine report is very informative and somewhat disturbing.

  4. RE: hanging crap vs slat armor….way back when, the exterior of M113s were sometimes festooned with sandbags. Short term, they worked. Long term, chafing against the hull caused them to hole and empty, and they added a lot of weight. Would not ‘better’ sandbags provide a similar solution? I realize anything loose fill is destined to catastrophically disintegrate with one hit, making the vehicle vulnerable to a 2-man RGP team. Just a thought.

  5. I recall my M3A1 CFV looking like that during serious exercises when I was in Germany. When you are fully loaded with ammo, there really isn’t much room for gear. Just my $0.02

  6. The LAV can swim with or without the personal gear festooned all over it, as long as it doesn’t impede the props or rudders (rear corners, under the overhang of the hull). Nothing usually gets put up front where the trim vane slides up, so that’s not a problem. The problem would be if you had something in your personal gear that you don’t want wet 🙂 Good military thinking means that you get ordered to clear the outside of the vehicle of all that crap before a training op that’ll involve swimming, cause Gawd knows we don’t normally use the capability day-to-day. Also important is to make double sure that the 16 (more on some models) drain plugs are ALL in their holes… One of the other LAV BNs sank a vehicle like that LOL glad I wasn’t the VC on that one! (didn’t sink very far, they noticed while driving into a lake on one of the aforementioned training ops. Still, tho… lol) As far as losses, I have no data (last drove one in ’94). As far as operational life, we unwrapped them new from the factory in 1988-89, so I guess they’re due for major overhauls/SLEP here pretty quickly.