• Marines with 2nd Marine Division conduct a light armored vehicle (LAV) crew gunnery atn Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, last June. A new tactical communications system for LAVs that the service will field increases situational awareness and communication capabilities for warfighters. Photo credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Q. Hamilton
     Marines with 2nd Marine Division conduct a light armored vehicle (LAV) crew gunnery atn Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, last June. A new tactical communications system for LAVs that the service will field increases situational awareness and communication capabilities for warfighters. Photo credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Q. Hamilton

Marine Corps to Add Key Communications System to Light Armored Vehicles

January 24, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
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The new tactical communication tool will offer an advanced user interface that allows warfighters a single point-of-control for the LAV and related devices, enhancing the vehicle's operational environment.


To improve communications on the battlefield, the Marine Corps Systems Command, headquartered at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, gave the green light to field an advanced intercom system, known as the G4 ICS, for use in light armored vehicles. 

The Program Manager for Light Armored Vehicles, PM LAV—led by Steve Myers—will begin initial procurement of the system in fiscal year 2021, with full operational capability in FY 2022, the Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) reported. 

As the communication management system for the vehicles, the tactical tool will improve communication and situational awareness on the battlefield, by allowing Marines to more easily communicate inside and outside the LAV, according to the MCSC. 

“We wanted a reliable and easy-to-maintain system that would meet the current and future needs of the user,” said Steve Myers, MCSC’s program manager for LAV. “That is why [Marines] were involved in every step of the process.” 

The new intercom system also controls LAV communication devices, including radios, GPS systems and other technologies, adding a great ease of use for warfighters, as well as improving audio quality and performance, said Dan O’Conner, project lead, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance payloads and capabilities for PM LAV. “We’re providing a communication capability that offers tremendous utility for Marines,” O’Conner stated. 

Kim Bowen, deputy program manager for LAV added, “Not only is it simple to use, [but G4 ICS] is interoperable with the existing communication suite within the Marine Corps platform. It also has the ability to easily add a wireless capability.” 

The MCSC pursued the LAV communications system upgrade following a 2017 recommendation from the Light Armored Reconnaissance Operational Advisory Group, following frequent complaints from Marines about a legacy system’s propensity to shutdown, causing loss of communications and lengthy reboot times, the command indicated.

“The G4 ICS is a modern ICS [intercom system] that is more fault-tolerant to LAV electrical fluctuations that cause ICS shutdowns and subsequent reboots,” a MCSC spokeswomen said.

In the unlikely event that the G4 ICS does reboot, the G4 ICS will reboot in a few seconds, O’Conner added. 

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