Marines: Aging Amphibs Get Thermal Sights


April 7, 2007: The U.S. Marine Corps are giving its aging amphibious vehicles the latest thermal sights. The marines have not upgraded their AAV7 amphibious vehicles because the new EFV (Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle) was supposed to enter service next year. There have been several delays, and now it appears that the 36 ton EFV won't show up for another three years. The current force of 1,057 AAV7s entered service three decades ago and are falling apart. Moreover, some two thirds of the AAV7s saw service in Iraq, where they got as much use in two months as they normally did in two years of peacetime operations. In response to this, most of the AAV7s are being refurbished, so they can still be used until the end of the decade, when enough EFVs will be entering service to replace the older vehicles.

The AAVs are currently equipped with starlight scopes, and enable marines to see about a kilometer at night. The M36E3 Thermal Sight can see out to more than four kilometers, and can see through fog and sand storms. With the prospect of more EFV delays, it made sense to give current marine armored vehicles the same kind of night vision capability the EFV will have, and most U.S. Army armored vehicles already have.




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