via Marine Gazette by Capt Brent Goddard II
The Marine Corps has limits; it cannot walk or air assault everywhere on the battlefield. Walking leaves friendly forces vulnerable and lacks speed/tempo. Vertical envelopment, while effective to reach an objective, leaves forces exposed, lacks direct firepower, and lacks high-speed ground lift support. Whether it be a high-end kinetic fight or humanitarian operation, the Marine Corps needs a form of high-speed cross country mobility that is survivable, provides squad-sized lift, and delivers direct firepower and shock effect.Story here.
The solution to the issues of contemporary enemy armor, modern ATGMs proliferation, and the continued requirement for high-speed survivable lift is to develop FOVs from the ACV and to influence the Army when they develop a new main battle tank. An ACV FOV gives the Marine Corps options to accomplish the mission. As the Nation’s scalable middle-weight force, the Marine Corps needs armor options that can accomplish the mission at hand.
ACV 1.1, currently in prototype testing as an 8-wheeled personnel carrier,8 should replace the now 30-year-old legacy LAV-25. The Marine Corps should develop and equip the ACV 1.1 as an infantry fighting vehicle with an automatic cannon in the 30mm to 100mm caliber range. This size will enable ammunition with air burst capability against dismounted infantry formations and retain kinetic and chemical energy armor-piercing rounds. This ACV will provide the lift required with the speed and security for the infantry forces.
The ACV 1.2 is planned to be the Marine Corps’ swim variant.9 As a ship-to-shore connector, it will provide high-speed squad-sized lift and assume the missions of the current AAV. This variant can be the Marine Corps swim/lift choice employed during amphibious operations or when landbased mechanized operations are necessary.
Similar to the LAV mortar and anti-tank (AT) variants, ACV mortar and AT variants should be developed. The ACV-M should be large enough to embark the 120mm expeditionary fire support and its ammunition. This will provide fast, responsive, and organic indirect fires to a mechanized force. The ACV-AT variant should be able to fire four TOW missiles without reloading and provide long-range AT missile support to mechanized forces. This FOV will provide the Marine Corps with its swim and medium armor options.
The heavy armor option will remain the M1A1 MBT for the Marine Corps. The M1A1 life cycle has been extended to the year 2050. In the meantime, the Marine Corps needs to continue upgrading its tank ammo; fire control system; lighten its logistical footprint; and its sights, survivability, and communications suite to remain relevant on the modern battlefield. The U.S. Army leadership is discussing the possibly of developing a light tank to exponentially increase the effectiveness of infantry formations. BG Scott McKean, USA, Chief of Armor/Commandant, stated,
The Army should also innovate with direct energy, a new infantry fighting vehicle, and a future tank with autonomous capabilities ... I saw firsthand the impact a light tank brings to an infantry force and how it exponentially increases the formation’s effectiveness ... 10
It is essential that the Marine Corps begin to influence and show interest in investing in the development of such a tank
A very nicely done article.
It does raise some interesting points though. I also wonder...it was said that 1/3rd of the force will land by helo and 2/3rds by surface. Has this changed by the move toward an aviation centric force?
Next thing is the Captain doesn't list a timetable on when this should be done. I'd like to think that a sense of urgency is gripping HQMC around the neck and that they'll push forward on this buy as soon as possible.
As fars as teaming with the Army on their proposed light tanks? Absolutely awesome thinking.
This guy is channeling my thoughts. Hopefully someone with stars is listening.