U.S. Marine Corps Begins EFV Replacement Process – Updated

by: Matthew Potter
March 7, 2011

Category: Business Line, Companies, Congress, Department of Defense, development program, Events, Federal Budget Process, General Dynamics, production program, Restructuring, Services, U.S. Marine Corps | RSS 2.0

Update – Clarified to correct that the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) is the EFV replacement vice the MPC. The MPC is to be used on land to move infantry around.

In its 2012 budget request the Obama Administration continued its plan to overhaul defense acquisition by proposing the cancellation of the new amphibious assault vehicle for the U.S.M.C. The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program led by General Dynamics (GD) was over budget and behind schedule.

Part of the problems the program faced was that the requirements were for a well armored vehicle that could move fast in water and on land. The EFV was really a modern Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) that also had to travel across several miles of ocean under fire at high speed. These kind of requirements often cause issues with development and the EFV was a fairly aggressive program to begin with.

Congress has not necessarily been receptive to the idea of ending the program as it would represent yet another big ticket item ended with resulting job losses and millions of dollars seemingly not invested well. They are the final decision makers and it will be interesting to see how the final budget falls out next year with the pressures of trying to reduce spending but also to keep programs going.

Of course the Marines still need a replacement for their Seventies vintage AAV-7 they are currently using which is optimized for delivery of troops to shore but not for use as an armored transport on a battlefield threatened by the IED and mine such as the Marines faced in Iraq and continue to do so in Afghanistan. Because of this need in mid-February the government released a series of Request for Information (RFI) to begin the process again of rebuilding their vehicle fleet.

The RFI cover the gamut of upgrading the existing AAV with more power, armor and weapons to replacing the wheeled LAV used for reconnaissance and troop transport to the new version of the EFV. This is currently called the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and mirrors many of the requirements that the EFV was trying to meet although the Marine Corps now says that the ability to move quickly across the water may be too expensive to pursue.

Hopefully some of the money spent on developing the EFV may also have bought things that can be used by the ACV program to expedite its development and delivery while lowering its costs. The situation is similar to the Army and the end of their Future Combat Systems (FCS) vehicle program. There remains a need and the Army had to start the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program to get replacement for the M2 Bradley IFV.

Unless the U.S. is willing to forgo a large portion of the U.S.M.C.’s mission a modern amphibious assault vehicle is going to need to be developed and built. Let’s hope the ACV has a better result then the EFV did.

Photo from RDECOM flickr photostream.

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