Friday, February 22, 2019

What to do with the legacy AAV? How about turn it into a Robotic Combat Vehicle (AAV-RCB)!

via Shepard Media.
US Marine Corps representatives are looking at the possibilities of equipping the ageing Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) fleet as autonomous combat platforms as well as continuing to explore other high water speed vehicle options.

This comes as the service has cancelled its AAV Survivability Upgrade programme and is currently consolidating its Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) 1.1 and 1.2 programmes into a single line of effort,

The exploratory efforts were outlined during the recent West 2019 conference by Maj Justin Davis, deputy director of the USMC’s Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch.   

According to Davis, the AAV Survivability Upgrade was recently cancelled ‘per [direction of] the Commandant [of the marine corps], that we really invest in new technology. So instead of putting money continuously into a 40-year old platform, [he directed] let’s move on with new equipment in the marine corps. And we are really throwing everything we’ve got behind the Amphibious Combat Vehicle’.

Noting that many current Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch efforts are focused on the ACV, Davis pointed to other ongoing test activities on platforms ranging from the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, now slated to begin USMC fielding on 28 February, to other possible uses for the AAVs.

‘We are testing the Autonomous Amphibious Assault Vehicle, the legacy AAV’, he said. ‘There is an initiative within the marine corps to essentially make that vehicle autonomous and turn it into a breaching vehicle, so that we no longer have to have marine personnel be that first wave.

'We can essentially turn these vehicles into demolition vehicles if you will, put a [mine clearing] line charge kit on the back of them, put a mine plow on the front of them, and that will be the first wave ashore. It will not be actual marines going into that first battle to breach the obstacles and take the shore. It’s going to be an autonomous AAV’.

In addition to exploring autonomy for the older AAV platforms, Davis noted that the marines are still exploring high water speed assault capabilities.

‘The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle was really the latest take we had on trying to have a high water speed vehicle’, he said. ‘High water speed is still not lost on the marine corps. Actually we are working with the Japanese and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to still really perfect the high water speed technology and make it reliable. That’s an expensive technology but the Japanese are helping us out with that’.
Good news on two fronts.

1.  They have a plan to use those surplus AAVs.  Making them Autonomous is thinking outside the box.  I like it.  Strip the interior and make a few amphibious trucks I would think would be nice too. 

2.  They're working with the Japanese on a high water speed APC/IFV.  That's good real good.  The Japanese will bring new eyes to the problem and since they're one of our few allies that's actually working the problem their help is much appreciated.

Drink it in boys.

We're in the middle of an armored vehicle renaissance.  It's only gonna get better....we just have to make sure we're leading and not following.

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