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Background on New Marine Amphibious Vehicle

From the Congressional Research Service June, 28 2013 report on development of the Marine Corps next-generation amphibious assault vehicle:

A Feb. 01, 2007 test of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) in Alaska. US Marine Corps Photo

A Feb. 01, 2007 test of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) in Alaska. US Marine Corps Photo

On January 6, 2011, after spending approximately $3 billion in developmental funding, the Marine Corps cancelled the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program due to poor reliability demonstrated during operational testing and excessive cost growth. Because the EFV was intended to replace the 40-year-old Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV), the Pentagon pledged to move quickly to develop a “more affordable and sustainable” vehicle to replace the EFV. The Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) is intended to replace the AAV, incorporating some EFV capabilities but in a more practical and cost-efficient manner.

In concert with the ACV, the Marines were developing the Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) to serve as a survivable and mobile platform to transport Marines when ashore. The MPC was not intended to be amphibious like an AAV, EFV, or the ACV but instead would be required to have a swim capability for inland waterways such as rivers, lakes, and other water obstacles such as shore-to-shore operations in the littorals. Both vehicles are intended to play a central role in future Marine amphibious operation.

The ACV is scheduled to enter service between FY2020 and FY2022 and the Marines currently plan on acquiring 573 ACVs. Total program and per vehicle costs have not yet been made public, with the Marines citing ongoing affordability and vehicle mix studies as the primary reason why definitive costs are not yet available.

  • Peter

    The Pentagon did sort of fast-track the ACV with the DARPA “Grand Challenge” of having private industry design an amphibious vehicle for a lot cheaper than the Defense Industry. $1M was already awarded to the winner of that contest. What happened to the results and is the USMC going to adopt any of DARPA’s contest technology?

    The MCV is essentially an “off-the-shelf” amphibious vehicle with some modifications. The Pentagon could procure it in a few years as there are many foreign and even domestic prototype vehicles in existence that could swim and transport troops.

    So this all comes down to leadership and industry competence, management, and funding and the #1 important aspect—knowing what the USMC, DoD, and GAO wants and sticking to it. If the all three keeps changing requirements on the ACV and MCV, then of course the program will become a mess.

  • Guest4387

    It is unfortunate that the USMC is unsure of what they want. As it stands right now, they have the AAV replacement in the form of the EFV. The actual reliability numbers and cost data used was old and outdated yet the technology was new and innovative… Can’t get something for nothing.

    • des111168

      Can’t get something for those prices, either. Any useful military weapon has to be affordable enough to be purchased in quantity. The EFV ain’t.

    • Cpl Willie

      The EFV was a disaster. One of the biggest flaws was the hydraulic system to streamline the hull so it could get up on plane. To transition the craft had to be in no less than 8 feet of water. Transitioning took up to 90 seconds where the vehicle had to sit still. A perfect target. The covered tracks may have given it great speed, but it could not cross shallow water reefs. There are a host of other major problems that would take hours to cover.

      • Guest

        You should relook at the data you are spewing. The SDD II vehicles went through an RGT (Reliability Growth Test) test period and ended with a 58 hour mean time between operational failure. They also had absolutely no issues running the rivers and streams by Camp Lejeune and Quantico. Granted the first prototypes did have their issues but that is with any major combat vehicle. It is rare that a “prototype” performs OA so early in the life, but that is where it got its bad reputation.

  • Secundius

    You could also modify the EFV with the 105mm gun system from the STRYKER series
    Tank Destroyer/Fire Support Gun System. Or, even using the as Riverine Monitors or Small Riverine Gunboats.

  • Secundius

    How about replacing the 30mm Bushmaster II turret, with the AMOS twin 120mm Automatic Breech-Loading Heavy Mortar System. I understand its a real Russian Army Crowd Pleaser (The Russian Are afraid of the damn Twin Mortars)…