|Manufacturer:||Fairey Hydraulics Limited (FHL) A Claverham division|
|Product type:||Weapons & Weapon Systems|
Following an international competition, FHL was now Textron Marine & Land Systems to design and build the bustle-mounted automatic loader for the Light Armored Vehicle - Assault Gun (LAV-AG) (8 x 8) for the US Marine Corps.
A total of three LAV-AG (8 x 8) vehicles was built with the chassis being supplied by the Diesel Division, General Motors of Canada and with Textron Marine & Land Systems being responsible for the complete turret and systems integration.
Development of the LAV-AG has been completed with full manned firing clearance obtained. The US Marine Corps has decided not to place a production order for the LAV-105.
Textron Marine & Land Systems is continuing to market this vehicle as well as the turret which is suitable for installation on a wide range of other chassis, both tracked and wheeled.
The installation of the FHL bustle-mounted automatic loader has enabled the turret crew to be reduced to two men, commander and gunner. This has allowed the turret to be much smaller. Total weight of the LAV-105, which retains its amphibious characteristics, is less than 14 tonnes.
This automatic loader handles and loads a maximum of eight rounds of 105 mm ammunition which may be of any type, including the latest APFSDS types. Main armament of the LAV-105 is the 105 mm M35 rifled tank gun developed by Benet (see AFV armament section).
The ammunition can be loaded into the automatic loader from inside the turret orthrough an oblong hatch in the turret rear. The selection of up to five different types of ammunition is automatic upon command from the Operators Control Panel (OCP) in the turret.
The selected round is collected from the rack in the turret bustle, transported to the loading position and rammed into the breech.
The design of the autoloader is such that it has the capability of downloading into the crew compartment, reloading from the crew compartment and replacing unused rounds from the breech in the ammunition rack.
The latter is of considerable operational importance as it allows the crew rapidly to change a type of ammunition already loaded if a target requiring a different type of ammunition presents itself.
When the weapon is fired, the 105 mm M35 gun recoils, the breech is opened and the empty cartridge case is ejected out of a door in the turret bustle.
Control of the automatic loader is via a micro-sequencer-controlled electronic control unit commanded from the OCP which also communicates with the Built-in Test Equipment (BITE) to identify any faults quickly. There is also a partial manual reversion mode that enables the crew to select a round before the manual loading of the gun.
The complete LAV-105 automatic loader weighs only 145 kg and a maximum rate of fire of eight rounds per minute can be achieved. Cycle time is around 7 seconds. A single brushless DC motor and its associated motor control unit provides motion control in three planes.
Extensive firing trials against both static and moving targets with the vehicle static or moving, have shown that the platform is stable and the automatic loader functions correctly. Full manned clearance was obtained in 1995.
FHL built a total of four LAV-105 automatic loaders, three of which were supplied to Textron Marine & Land Systems and have been installed in the prototype LAV-105 vehicles while the fourth is retained for development and trials work in the UK.
Building on its experience in the design, development and construction of the LAV-105 automatic loader, FHL is now looking at other applications for this technology. Growth potential includes a bustle-mounted automatic loader with 16 rounds of ready use 105 mm ammunition.