London — Brazilian Marine Corps amphibious assault capabilities are set to be increased following the award of a $82 million deal with the US arm of BAE Systems to deliver 23 upgraded AAV7A1 Assault Amphibious Vehicles.

All of the vehicles will be former US Marine Corps machines refurbished and modified by BAE for the Brazilian service. The Foreign Military Sales deal will see work on the Reliability, Availability and Maintainability/Rebuild to Standard (RAM/RS) variant of the vehicle start at the company's York, Pennsylvania, site in June. Deliveries are expected to take place throughout 2017.

Tools, test equipment for maintenance, training, spares and field service support are also part of the deal.

"These new vehicles will have major capability enhancements, which will give the Brazilian military an amphibious vehicle with improved speed and reliability beyond the current configuration," said Deepak Bazaz, BAE's director of new and amphibious vehicles.

The RAM/RS offering to the Brazilian's includes a new, more powerful Cummins engine, a new transmission drive train, as well as an upgraded suspension.

A BAE spokeswomen said the current AAV7A1 suspension will be replaced with a derivative of the Bradley armored fighting vehicle suspension.

Brazil operates 26 standard AAV7A1s as a result of an earlier purchase. The vehicle provides the Marines with the ability to move troops and cargo from ship to shore. Widely used by the US Marine Corps, the aging AAV7A1 is up for renewal in a new Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) program being fought over by BAE and rival SAIC.

The two companies were recently down selected to build development prototypes of the ACV ahead of a winner being selected in 2018 to deliver 204 vehicles.