Friday, February 22, 2019

Marines Declare Current ACV Design Meets All Ship-to-Shore Requirements

via USNI News.
The Marine Corps has put the Amphibious Combat Vehicle through its paces in the eight months since the service selected BAE Systems to build the new wheeled vehicles, using the original 16 ACVs to conduct high surf testing and cold weather/cold water testing around the country.

The vehicle has performed so well in these tests that the service is officially ditching the original plan to gradually insert the full ship-to-shore swim capability – that robust in-water performance was not required in the original ACV 1.1 and would instead be introduced in a later 1.2 increment – and has instead certified that these first vehicles can perform all ship-to-shore missions without assistance from a connector.

BAE Systems is expected to deliver the first vehicles to the Marine Corps in late May or early June, after winning the program in June and being awarded a second Lot 2 contract in December. Even as the York, Pa., production line is churning, the Marines haven’t wasted any time learning more about the vehicles or beginning to train Marines how to operate them, Col. Kirk Mullins, ACV product manager, told USNI News.
Impressive.  But the good news continues...
 “As a part of the 1.1 effort, it was to test the vehicle to the 1.2 requirements, which really centered around a more robust swim capability in the ocean,” Mullins said. The vehicle had already proven it could swim 12 miles in the ocean and be launched and recovered from an amphibious transport dock (LPD-17) during testing done before BAE Systems won a downselect against SAIC. Among the final requirements was a high-surf test that required six-foot significant breaker height waves – which the Marines struggled to get at Camp Pendleton, so they brought the vehicles to Vandenberg Air Force Base about 250 miles up the coast of California. The vehicles performed well in the testing, allowing Mullins to declare that all ACV 1.2 criteria were met and the ACV could be collapsed into a single increment.
And for doubters about going from tracks to wheels (I've had serious concerns myself)?  A quick and dirty history lesson from Col Mullins...
 Wheeler said the Marines have had the legacy AAVs since the Vietnam war, and though they were used in the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003 and 2004, by 2006 local commanders didn’t want them anymore because they couldn’t keep Marines safe in the face of roadside bombs.

“I don’t want to say they benched us, but said, hey, let’s find a different way,” Wheeler said.
“This vehicle brings us back to the forefront – as far as the AAV community, we are relevant again to make sure that our name is heard and we can get the Marines to the fight and bring the fight to the enemy.”
Story here. 


These vehicles are coming in at the Marine Corps price target, are exceeding expectations for this increment (remember this program developed from the Marine Personnel Carrier requirement...these vehicles were only supposed to be able to cross inland waterways...extra credit was given if they were able to swim from ship to shore) and so far BAE is leaning in to making sure that they're not only on schedule (they look to be nailing things) but also training up Marines so that the transition will be smooth.

Moving from tracks to wheels will be a learning process but the Col's reminder of the past is instructive.  IEDs are real on the modern battlefield and the AAV was unable to deal with that threat.

We have our ride for the future and the USMC is moving forward with it at quick pace. 

As much as I bang on leadership they deserve credit for how they've managed this program (I was betting that it would at least be delayed if not outright cancelled), been good stewards of the taxpayer's dollar AND increased the lethality of the Marine Corps.

You want to see a modern weapon acquisition done right?

Look no further than the US Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.