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LAV Expeditionary Fire Support System (LAV-EFSS)
LAV/Dragon Fire II

The LAV Expeditionary Fire Support System (LAV-EFSS) as designed consists of the XM326 120mm EFSS mortar, as a replacement for the LAV-Mortar (LAV-M) variant's M252 81 mm Mortar System. The LAV-EFSS was to invest in technologies currently existing on newer generations of LAVs and leverage technology from the EFSS program.

The United States Marine Corps was interested in upgrading their existing 81mm mortar carrier with a weapon capable of being integrated into the General Motors Defense Light Armored Vehicle (LAV). The estimated quantity was 50 units, with a target contract award in third quarter FY05. In support of this potential requirement, the Program Manager, Light Armored Vehicles (PM-LAV), TACOM, was conducting market research to determine what alternatives might be available using existing technology/hardware.

The weapon, ammo and support equipment was required to not exceed 5,000 lbs. The LAV with this weapon was to provide organic responsive and lethal indirect fire support to the LAV Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in the conduct of combined arms reconnaissance and security missions. The primary upgrade objectives were to achieve increased lethality and range, and reduced emplacement/displacement times over the existing 81mm mortar system. The weapon had to provide the capability to engage both point and area targets to include dismounted personnel, light armored vehicles, buildings and structures, command and control systems and indirect fire weapons. The weapon was required to disrupt, degrade or destroy as much of the threat force capabilities as possible prior to the initiation of the direct fire engagement and provide accurate, lethal close-in fires throughout the duration of the engagement. It had to be capable of providing battlefield marking, illumination and obscuration. It also had to be resistant to corrosion when transported on an LCAC sea-salt environment and operate in a temperature range of -25F to +120F.

The LAV-EFSS concept came out of tests using a modified LAV-M mortar carrier as a demonstrator fitted with the Dragon Fire II mortar system. This system was subsequently given the designation XM326. The Dragon Fire/II was designed for integration onto a Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) chassis to form a modular artillery system, allowing commanders to tailor artillery mobility to immediate tactical requirements. One proposed LAV-mounted Dragon Fire II version had the Lightweight Countermortar Radar (LCMR) mounted on an extendable mast. This concept would allow very rapid detection of enemy firing systems and equally rapid attack of those firing systems by the Dragon Fire.

As of 2002 the LAV-EFSS program expected to achieve its Milestone A by the end of FY02, with its Milestone B and C achievements planned for FY04 and FY06 respectively. At the time the Initial Operating Capability (IOC) date was FY07. The LAV-EFSS program achieved its Milestone A in August 2003, and by 2004 planned to achieve its Milestone B by third quarter FY05. The program was awaiting additional funding to be allotted in FY05.




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