BAE Systems has been awarded a $149 million direct commercial sale contract to produce new assault amphibious vehicles (AAVs) for the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

The company will provide 30 new AAV7A1 reliability, availability, and maintainability/rebuild to standard (RAM/RS) vehicles, which provide a more powerful engine and drive train, as well as an upgraded suspension system, allowing the new vehicles to meet or exceed original AAV7A1 performance, according to BAE.

The variant also provides improved mobility, command, control, and repair capabilities while transporting troops and cargo from ship to shore.

BAE is the original manufacturer of the U.S. Marine Corps’ AAV fleet, used to shuttle troops from amphibious assault ships to shore in combat and on missions like natural disaster response and humanitarian relief where operational ports are unavailable.

Also included in the deal are tools and test equipment to support maintenance and training aids for the vehicles. The contract is the first purchase by Japan of the AAV, according to BAE.

Work on the contract will take place at BAE’s York, Pa., facility. Production is expected to begin in August with vehicle deliveries beginning one year later. Final delivery to Japan is expected to take place by the end of 2017.

“We’re proud to support the Japanese military’s recapitalization by providing this enhanced amphibious capability,” said Dean Medland, vice president of programs at BAE’s Combat Vehicles business, said in a prepared statement. “As the original equipment manufacturer of the AAV fleet, we have a strong history of supporting this platform.”

BAE is one of two companies chosen to build prototypes of the Marine Corps amphibious combat vehicle (ACV), which will eventually replace the aging AAV. The other company, Science Applications International Corporation [SAIC] is building prototypes for ACV while performing service life extension work on the service’s existing AAV fleet.