LVTP5A1 Landing Vehicle, Tracked
The Vietnam era LVTP5A1 Landing Vehicle, Tracked was deployed in a variety of models, including the LVTC5 (Command, Model 5), LVTE1 (Engineer, Model 1), LVTH6 (Howitzer, Model 6), and LVTR1 (Recovery, Model 1). The LVTP7, which entered the Marine Corps inventory in the early 1970s, was a quantum improvement over the short-ranged LVTP5.
Marine Corps nomenclature can be somewhat confusing, and the LVTP-5 should not be confused with the earlier and unrelated LVT5, which was withdrawn from service in the mid-1950s.
The LVTP5 is a large vehicle with an inverted V-shaped bow that was built for a more efficient water operation and its date of acceptance was 1956. Since then many advances have been made in equipment technology and vehicle capabilities.
By 1957, 1,124 of these amphibians were built to replace World War II versions used by the Marine Corps. The Landing Vehicle, Tracked, Personnel, Model 5 (LVTP5) was designated LVTP5A1 when fitted with minor modifications including a box-type snorkel over the engine compartment. It was never considered a satisfactory design because of its short operating range and excessive maintenance. When a new vehicle by FMC called the LVTP7 entered service in 1971, the LVTP5 was phased out by 1974. Some were transferred to the Philippines and Taiwan, and recently bought by Chile.
A rigid, watertight armor plate ranges from 6.35mm to 15.87mm thick. A steel-plated hydraulic ramp in front has heavy, water-tight rubber seals. All openings for ventilation, bilge discharge and access are in the top deck. A cargo hatch over the troop compartment measures 2.438 meters long and 2.1 meters wide. It has two spring-loaded double folding sections hinged at the outer sides.
Four troop seats hold eight marines each. Another two sit on the machine gunner's platform for a total of 34. In an emergency, the vehicle can carry 45 standing marines. The LVTP5 can carry 5,443 kg of cargo when afloat, and 8,165 kg when on land. It may carry a 105-mm towed howitzer, its crew, and 90 rounds of ammunition.
The engine and transmission are in the rear. There is limited access via a hatch in the transverse bulkhead. The main engine hatch may be unbolted from the top deck to permit removing the complete powerpack. There is a rear drive sprocket and five track return rollers. A pair of nine dual steel bogie wheels are suspended from rubber torsion spring assemblies. The vehicle is propelled in the water by its tracks. Each of 134 blocks has an inverted water grouser. The LVTP5A1 has infrared, stretcher, navigation, and winterization kits available.
- LVTH6 (Landing Vehicle, Tracked, Howitzer, Model 6). These were fitted with a two-man turret with a 105-mm howitzer, a coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun, and .50-caliber anti-aircraft machine gun. When afloat, they carry 100 rounds of 105-mm, 1,000 rounds of 7.62-mm, and 1,050 rounds of .50-caliber ammunition.
- LVTC5 (Landing Vehicle, Tracked Command, Model 5). This is similar to the basic LVTP5 but the cargo compartment is equipped with additional communications equipment, tables, and mapboards. It has a command crew of nine, plus its normal crew of three. It is distinguishable from the basic vehicle by its additional radio antennas.
- LVTR1 (Landing Vehicle, Tracked, Recovery, Model 1). The LVTR1 is used for recovery and maintenance of other members of the LVTP5 family of vehicles. It is equipped with a generator, welding equipment, air compressor, a boom with a capacity of 3,175 kg, and a winch with a capacity of 20,412 kg. This model has no machine gun turret.
- LVTE1 (Landing Vehicle, Tracked, Engineer, Model 1). This had a special dozer blade in front, and a rocket-propelled mine-clearing system.
- Taiwanese LVTP5/LVTP6. A prototype program as of 1989 was to replace the gas engine with one of three diesel powerpacks tested in Taiwan.
The LVTP5 has a barge-shaped hull with an inverted V-shaped bow for more efficient water operation. Other features include:
- Nine road wheels.
- Steel plated, hydraulic ramp in front.
- The driver sits at the front of the hull on the left and has four M17 periscopes, one M17C periscope, and a single piece hatch cover.
- The commander sits at the front of the hull on the right side and has the same number and types of periscopes as the driver.
- The machine gun turret is between and slightly forward of the commander's and driver's positions. The gunner has five vision blocks and an M25C periscope sight.
- Forward and on each side of the machine gun turret is a single M17 periscope facing forward.
- On each side of the hull is an emergency escape hatch and a single vision block.
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