The LAV-150 Commando (originally V-150) series was a rugged 4x4 wheeled vehicle that could achieve speeds of up to 70 mph (113 km/hr). The watertight hull was fully amphibious and needed no preparation for swimming or fording. The vehicle's engine compartment was on the left side in the rear. This compartment had access panels on the side and top of the hull. The vehicle could operate in temperatures of 130 degrees Fahrenheit. A fire-extinguishing system was provided, which could be operated by the driver.
Standard military automotive components were used whenever possible on the LAV-150. Original vehicles had Chrysler 361 V-8 gas engines that developed 200 horsepower at 4,000 rpm. A manual transmission was provided with one reverse and 5 forward speeds. Subsequent vehicle featured an automatic transmission and a V-8 diesel that developed 202 horsepower at 3,300 rpm.
LAV-150s came with run-flat tires with self-cleaning treads. The wheels were intended to propel the vehicle through the water. There was an internally-mounted winch on the front of the hull with a 4,536-kg capacity. The all-welded hull protects against small-arms fire, overhead blast, shell splinters, and Molotov cocktails.
Standard equipment included fuel and water cans, 2 hand-held fire extinguishers, pioneer tool set, tow cable, breaker bar and lug wrench, first aid kit, vehicle tool kit, pamphlet bag, oddment box, slave cable, spare vision blocks, and an air compressor with hose. Optional equipment included smoke grenade dischargers, spotlights and night vision equipment, communications and navigation equipment, weapons stowage, and NBC protection.
The LAV-150S was 46 centimeters longer than the V-150. It had more internal space and an increased payload of 726 kilograms, for a total payload of 3,357 kilograms. The wheelbase was lengthened and the suspension strengthened. A new transfer case gave better grade-climbing performance. There was a new hydraulic boost brake system and an improved cooling system. A variant fitted with a turbocharged diesel engine and improved powertrain was also produced, with the nomenclautre LAV-150ST. The engine used in the LAV-150ST was the same Cummins V6 used in late model LAV-300 types.
The LAV-150 series was available in numerous configurations, including command, recovery, mortar carrier, TOW missile carrier, air defense, and armored personnel carrier. A variety of armament stations could be installed, including most light and medium automatic weapons, missile systems, mortars, and cannons up to 90mm. Cadillac Gage's standard 1-man machine gun turret used on the V-100 was available, as were their expanded 1-meter turrets capable of being fitted with a 20mm cannon and 7.62mm machine gun or 2 machine guns of .50 caliber of 7.62mm varieties. These turrets also required only one person, and featured a single hatch cover opening to the rear, 8 vision blocks, an M28C sight, and a coaxially-mounted spotlight. A blower for venting fumes from the turret could be fitted. An improved version of this turret, also used on the US Marine Corps AAVP-7A1, featured a .50 caliber machine gun and 40mm automatic grenade launcher. 2-man turrets with 20mm and 90mm weapons were also available, along with a turret featuring the 76mm L22A1 gun of the British Scoprion light tank.
Cadillac Gage introduced the V-150 in 1971 to replace both the V-100 and V-200 vehicles, leading to its nomenclature. The LAV-150 series was extremely similar visually to both types, often leading to confusion about the specific model in question. V-150 series vehicles were exported to some 25 countries, including Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and Thailand. One of the largest purchases was by Saudi Arabia who acquired a fleet of vehicles in 10 variants during the mid-1970s to assist in the formation of 2 Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) motorized Brigades. The variants included Armored Personnel Carrier, 2 variants armed with either a 90mm Cockerill or 90mm Mecar cannon turrets, a variant with a 20mm Oerlikon cannon turret, variants with the Cadillac Gage Dual Machine Gun Turret (with one .50 caliber and one 7.62mm machine gun), TOW missile carrier, 81mm mortar carrier, a variant specifically requested incorporating the Vulcan Air Defense System turret, recovery vehicle, command vehicle, and ambulance. With the exception of the turreted systems, the TOW vehicle and the ambulance, all of the V-150s purchased were fitted with an M2 .50 caliber machine gun. In the late 1970s, Malaysia acquired a number of vehicles armed with the 90mm Cockerill Mk III gun, and later replaced the original gas engine and manual transmission with a more fuel-efficient diesel and fully-automatic transmission.
Cadillac Gage became a part of Textron Systems during the 1980s. The V-150S was introcued in 1985. In 1993 Cadillac Gage began offering the further improved V-150ST vehicle. In 1994, Cadillac Gage was merged with another of Textron's subsidiaries, Textron Marine, to form Textron Marine and Land Systems, which continued to sell the vehicles, under the revised LAV-150 nomenclature. In 2000, Textron Land and Marine Systems had stopped offering the LAV-300 series, along with the LAV-150 and LAV-600 series, focusing instead on its ASV-150 vehicle, which had been adopted by the US Army as the M1117.
The Republic of the Philippines acquired a number of V-150 type vehicles (including V-150S types) beginning in the 1980s. These vehicles served with the Philippine Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and National Police (Philippine Constabulary prior to 1993). A number of vehicles underwent modifications beginning in the early 2000s, to include at least one conversion to a recovery vehicle similar to those acquired by Saudi Arabia. Beginning in 2003, some of the V-150s also had their .50 caliber machine gun replaced with an ST Kinetics 40mm automatic grenade launchers purchased from Singapore. The modified turret arrangement was designed by Floro International in he Philippines. A number of Fleet Marine Ready Force vehicles were also modified in 2006 with a .50 caliber machine gun and mount at the vehicle's hatch on the rear deck, along with gun shield and armor protection for the gunner.
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