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LAV-300 Mk II
LAV-300/LAV-300 Mk I
V-300 Commando

The LAV-300 (originally known as the V-300) was a 6x6 wheeled armored vehicle, capable of reaching speeds of 65 mph (105 km/hr) and accelerating from zero to 20 mph (32 km/hr) in less than 10 seconds. The body was constructed of ballistic steel plate that could defeat multiple hits by 7.62-mm ammunition. The LAV-300 was fully amphibious LAV-300 and could be outfitted to customer specifications. This system was not used by the US military, although it was available for Foreign Military Sales.

The vehicle's front and rear axles had positive No-Spin differentials for maintaining traction in off-road conditions. All wheels had hydraulic brakes and run-flat tubeless tires with a self-cleaning tread design. The all-welded unitized hull was made of special high-hardness steel ballistic plate that protected the crew from small-arms fire and shell splinters. Optional equipment included night-vision devices, heater kit, air-conditioning system, NBC system, wiper kit for the driver, and a slave cable. The troop compartment in the rear on each side has 3 bulletproof vision blocks and firing ports. Two doors in the rear each had vision blocks and firing ports. Instead of the 2-part hatch cover there could also be fitted a circular hatch cover with pintle-mounted 7.62-mm machine gun.

An improved version of the LAV-300, referred to as the LAV-300 Mk II (originally known as the V-300 Mk II) was developed in the late 1980s. This variant featured improved performance and range over the initial model. The Mk II swapped out the original Cummins V6 supercharged diesel engine for an improved aftercooled type, also produced by Cummins. Very early V-300 types had initially been fitted with a larger Cummins V8 engine. The Mk II was fitted with an improved transmission with 6 forward and 2 rear gear ratios as opposed to the Mk Is 4 forward speeds. Improved tires and a larger fuel tank were also fitted.

The LAV-300 series was available in a variety of armament configurations. Variants of Cadillac Gage's 2-man turret offered with the LAV-150 series were also offered for the LAV-300. These turrets could be equipped with a 90-mm Cockerill Mk III gun and coaxial 7.62mm machine gun, the 76-mm Royal Ordnance L23A1 gun and coaxial 7.62mm machine gun, a 20-mm Oerlikon cannon and coaxial 7.62mm machine gun, or one .50 caliber and one 7.62mm or 2 7.62mm machine guns. The Cadillac Gage turret also allowed for the attachment of a pintle mounted 7.62mm machine gun on top. A turret armed with the 25mm M242 McDonnel Douglas Helicopters Chain gun, 7.62-mm coaxial and 7.62-mm anti-aircraft machine guns, and smoke dischargers was also available.

Other variants included TOW missile anti-tank, 81mm mortar, and ambulance configurations. The TOW configuration came equipped with a 10 reserve missiles carried in the hull and 2 missiles in a ready-to-launch position on the same mount as used in the M901 Improved TOW Vehicle based on the M113 chassis. The vehicle also had a 7.62-mm machine gun and 2,000 rounds of ammunition. The mortar carrier vehicle was equipped with a turntable-mounted 81-mm mortar and had a range of 150 to 4,400 meters. The vehicle could carry 60 mortar bombs. Like the anti-tank configuration, ot also had a 7.62-mm machine gun and 2,000 rounds of ammunition. The armored ambulance was unarmed and had a raised roof. A ramp in place of twin doors at the rear facilitated loading stretchers and walking wounded. Other models developed included a cargo carrier (with materiel handling crane), command vehicle (with higher roof line like the ambulance), recovery vehicle (also with a crane), and anti-aircraft configurations with missile system such as ADATS, or a gun system such as the General Electric 20-mm VADS turret. This turret was fitted to the US Army M163 tracked anti-aicraft vehicle and the M167 towed anti-aircraft system. It had also been fitted to LAV-150S vehicles, also built by Cadillac gage, supplied to Saudi Arabia.

A variant, called the LAV-300A1, with the same turret developed for the Stingray light tank was also offered. This increased the crew of the vehicle to four and the overall weight to over 20 tons. In 1986, Cadillac Gage renamed this vehicle the LAV-600, despite it sharing all of its basic automotive components with the LAV-300 series.

The vehicle was designed and first produced by Cadillac Gage during the 1970s as a private venture. The vehicle was essentially an expanded variation of the V-150 series, which had enjoyed wide commercial success. Cadillac Gage later became a part of Textron Systems during the 1980s. In 1981, the LAV-300 was included in trials to select a Light Armored Vehicle for the US Marine Corps. A dirivative of the MOWAG Piranha, produced by General Motors, was selected. In 1983, Panama placed the first order for the type, purchasing 12 vehicles in 4 variations. Kuwait purchased 62 vehicles armed with the 90mm Cockerill Mk III gun in 1984. In 1989, the United States engaged and captured a number of Panamanian V-300 types during Operation Just Cause.

In 1993, the Republic of the Philippines placed an order for 24 V-300 Mk II vehicles, 12 in an APC configuration and 12 in a Fire Support Vehicle configuration. The APCs were equipped with Cadillac Gage's twin machine gun turret, with one .50 caliber M2 and one 7.62mm M60 machine gun. The FSVs were equipped with the 90mm Cockerill Mk III gun and a coaxial M60 machine gun. Additionally, the vehicles purchased by the Philippines included a number of specific modifications. Both the APCs and FSVs had water jets were fitted to the underside of hull behind the rear wheels to help with amphibious operation. The standard configuration had relied on the wheels for propulsion in the water. A trim vane was also installed. The rear ramp, initially intended for the ambulance configuration, was fitted to both types of vehicles as well. Optional extras like a self-recovery winch and smoke dischargers were not fitted. The vehicles were delivered to the Philippine Marine Corps in 1995. Beginning in 2003, some of the APCs 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.

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-300 nomenclature. Between 1994 and 2003, no further major modifications of the system were conducted. There were suggestions about retrofitting the type with the fully independant suspension system of the ASV-150/XM1117 Guardian vehicle, also produced by Textron Marine and Land Systems.

In 1999, the LAV-300 and LAV-600 were tested as part of trials by the US Army to select an Interim Armored Vehicle for the new Brigade Combat Team Unit of Action. A variant of the MOWAG Piranha III family produced by General Dynamics was eventually selected as the winner of the trials. 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.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:44:12 ZULU