The Landing Amphibious Vehicle-Air Defense (LAV-AD) is an air defense variant of the LAV-25 operated by the United States Marine Corps. It is fitted with an electric turret mounting a General Dynamics GAU-12/U Equalizer Gatling cannon, and two missile pods each with four FIM-92 Stinger missiles for short range air defense duties over its normal M242 Bushmaster cannon. It has a capacity of 990 rounds of 25mm ammunition and 16 missiles. It has since been removed from service due to high maintenance costs.
— Battlelog description
The LAV-AD appears in Battlefield 3 as the United States Marine Corps' anti-aircraft vehicle. It is an amphibious vehicle and can travel in deep water while its Russian counterpart, the 9K22 Tunguska-M, cannot. Other than aircraft, the LAV is also somewhat effective against Infantry and Jeeps. IFVs, tanks and other heavily armored vehicles will take a considerable amount of fire to destroy, so engaging them is not recommended. Though impervious to small arms fire and resistant to automatic cannon shells, it can be destroyed by as few as two to three anti-tank rounds or missiles in the absence of any defensive perks, so Reactive Armor is recommended if you are to stay on the front lines protecting allies. If you do not wish to be so close to the enemy, but still want to protect your team for aircraft, Air Radar is advised. Unlike the Tunguska, the LAV is incapable of turning on the spot, and can only turn while in motion, a factor which can prove to be a disadvantage in close-quarters combat, as the LAV is wheeled rather than tracked. One advantage of the LAV is that it is amphibious, although this has little use on most maps.
The LAV-AD appears on the following maps:
- Kharg Island (Conquest Large) (PC)
- Caspian Border (Conquest Large) (PC)
- Operation Firestorm (Conquest Large) (PC)
- Wake Island (Conquest) (Consoles/PC)
- Alborz Mountain (Conquest) (Consoles/PC)
- Armored Shield (Conquest) (Consoles/PC)
- Bandar Desert (Conquest Large) (PC)
- Death Valley (Conquest Large) (PC)
The LAV-AD's main role is to provide anti-aircraft fire and suppression. It can also engage light ground targets with ease such as armored vehicles and buggies. The LAV-AD can be easily destroyed by MBTs, PT Boats or IFVs.
The main armament for the LAV-AD AA is its cannon (all cannon on Mobile AA have the same damage output against vehicles, regardless of faction). Each shot type, however, has a different niche with individual stats -- 20mm shells do not have as much damage output as 30mm, and fire at 2000 rounds per second versus the 600 rounds per second with heavy shells. 30mm fires at a slower rate, but does higher damage against close range targets and vehicles. Overheat time is also important to note: 20mm will overheat after six seconds of continuous fire, while 30mm overheats after three-and-a-half seconds.
In short, 20mm is more potent against targets who are far away on maps such as Paracel Storm or Golmud Railway, while 30mm is better suited to maps with helicopters and light vehicles at closer range, like Zavod 311. The 20mm has lower effectiveness against infantry after patch, if the MAA driver is aggressive and require increased capability against foot soldier, 30mm is highly recommended.
The LAV-AD's secondary armament are missiles and rockets. The type of missile can come down to player preference. Heatseekers are a "fire and forget" type of missile, similar to the FIM-92 Stinger. Passive Radar is good for those who have time and guide the missile to the target, similar to the SA-18 Igla but beware that the missile has limited tracking range. Zuni rockets allows players to engage heavily armored vehicles such as MBT and IFVs with greater efficiency, and combined with 30mm, can become a "support vehicle" for tanks and other IFVs, but can be deflected by Active protection The Zuni rocket is another effective way to get rid of enemy mine and eliminate infantry in cover. The Active Radar Missiles can be used to lead enemy targets, it will find the target automatically to the closest target the player point at after firing, which is highly effective against enemy helicopters.
Countermeasures come down to player preference. IR Smoke deflects missile lock-ons. Smoke Screen decreases chances of critical hits also block lock-ons. Extinguisher can be used to quickly negate the "bleed-out" damage of a vehicle. Active Protection protects from incoming missile and rocket fire.
Optics is player preference. Zoom helps at long range or precise aiming, while IRNV and Thermal optics help to see enemies or explosives in foliage.
Upgrades help with abilities: maintenance helps the player recover quickly from anti-vehicle weaponry; Thermal Camo increase time to lock on, making it effective against lock on weaponry such as Javelins and Guided missiles from aircraft. Auto-reloader works well for 30mm as it reduces time for reload; Proximity Scan detects AT mines and personnel, useful in high traffic roads or for detecting people in ambuscade; Reactive Armor prevents mobility damage against incoming fire, giving an edge in direct combat. Air Radar helps locate aerial vehicles, but replaces the minimap.
Generally speaking, the MAA is at a disadvantage against MBTs and IFVs, as they are equipped with stronger armor and weaponry. As stated above, however, zuni rockets enable an MAA to fight heavier armor. Its also important to note that a chopper/jet can still destroy a Mobile AA with correct teamwork. The MAA also cannot shoot at 30 degrees cone above it, making vertical strafing run an effective way for jet pilots to kill MAA without much reprisal.
The vehicle is also amphibious allowing it to cross rivers and lakes. On maps like Paracel Strom it can travel from island to island, providing anti-air or anti-boat support, depending on player's loadout.
- The LAV-AD is affected by a bug that can cause the vehicle to drive at 130 KPH, which is usually caused by it bouncing off a dune or a depression.
- Unlike the 9K22 Tunguska-M, firing the cannon in the LAV-AD does not cause the screen to shake
- In an experiment, it takes almost three full-overheat barrages of fire to destroy an IFV or Tank Destroyer from the rear with the LAV-AD.
- On consoles, this is the second rarest vehicle (the rarest being Ka-60 Kasatka, with only two maps where it can be used) with only three maps where it can be used.
- While driving the LAV-AD, when spotting a target the voice over will play like you are on the ground, instead of the radio static in a vehicle.
- While there are 2 other Mobile AA's, only the LAV-AD will play the "AA spotted" voiceover, where as the others are just "tank spotted".