The Marines will soon be hitting the beach with sleek new wheeled Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACVs) to replace their venerable, if not vulnerable, Vietnam-era, tracked Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs). More closely resembling the Marine Corps’ Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs) or the Army’s Stryker vehicles, the new ACVs should enhance the Marines’ offshore and onshore mobility and survivability.
#BREAKING: Amphibious Combat Vehicle approved for Full-Rate Production.
The approval by ASN (RD&A) James Geurts means the Marine Corps can build and field higher quantities of the ACV at a sustained rate over the next several years. pic.twitter.com/FNKbPk3orM
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) December 10, 2020
Designed to launch from ships offshore with a load of Marines, using these types of relatively slow amphibious carriers in highly contested battle spaces is becoming a more dangerous proposition.
One of those older AAVs was involved in a fatal accident off the coast of California this summer. Military.com noted that:
Eight Marines and a sailor died with the vehicle rapidly taking on water on its way back to a ship, sinking with several personnel trapped aboard. The accident remains under investigation, and AAV water operations were paused in its aftermath.
This was the Corps’ deadliest training accident in the history of the AAV.
But, as Military.com also reported, Col. Kirk Mullins, program manager for Advanced Amphibious Assault at PEO Land Systems, said the new eight-wheeled vehicles will be more survivable than the Marine’s decades-old AAVs. Mullins added:
We’re providing Marines with a modern, armored personnel carrier that offers tremendous capability with respect to survivability, The ACV gives the Marine Corps a capable platform operational across the full range of military operations.
The new ACV has remote weapons systems, can go 60 mph on land, 7 knots at sea, and can carry 13 Marines in armored, blast mitigating, individual seating. The ACV also has a V-shaped hull to reduce blast damage from mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The new Amphibious Combat Vehicle is off the tracks. pic.twitter.com/7B9WrvLn2W
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) March 14, 2019
In a Tweet, the Marines stated that:
The ACV provides organic, direct fire support to dismounted infantry. Its ability to leverage waterways to carry Marines and equipment make it well-suited for various operating environments, including Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations.
The Marine Corps is keen to quickly replace the older AAVs, awarding BAE Systems a nearly $185 million contract for full-rate production of 36 amphibious combat vehicles, reports Military.com. This is expected to jump to 72 vehicles in early 2021, with up to 80 vehicles being produced annually over five years.
This means the service can now build and field more ACVs “at a sustained rate over the next several years.”
The Marines added, the ACV “is net-ready, secure, interoperable, operationally effective and built for future growth. In the future, the Corps intends to develop, procure and field three additional variants that specialize in command and control, recovery operations and increased firepower.”
Looking forward to getting all those ACV variants deployed with the Fleet. Marines deserve the best, most lethal, and survivable ship-to-shore transport available.