Marine’s Conway Gives (Another) Tepid Endorsement of EFV; Capability That Is

Every time I listen to outgoing Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway talk about the perennially challenged Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program, it sounds like he really wishes there was some alternative. Problem is, there isn’t; there just aren’t a lot of companies out there building armored amphibians.

The Marines need something, anything, to transport them from ships offshore to the beachhead and then get them inland at least some distance; oh, and it has to be fast, both at sea and on land, carry lots of Marines and keep them under armor during the whole process. So, after investing lots of time and money into the General Dynamics EFV, the Marines have the EFV. It’s a costly and so far anyway, unreliable vehicle. But it’s all they got.

“It is not the platform it’s the capability,” Conway said, the Marines need an armored amphibian as the Marines get back to the sea and onboard ships. “It’s not necessarily the EFV made by General Dynamics that goes 25 knots, its the capability that we need to be wed to… if that program were canceled outright we would still be looking to come up with that capability.”

He said the new batch of eight EFVs provided by General Dynamics for extensive testing are more reliable than the original prototypes and the Marines hope they’ll show marked improvement. “It has been a beleaguered program,” Conway said today at a Pentagon presser. “We are looking at affordability of the program in the out years… we have to ask ourselves are 573 (EFVs) affordable.”

Conway said he feels very confident that the Marines, which provide planners an “asymmetric advantage” will emerge from the ongoing force structure review in pretty good shape, if not a bit smaller. A strong Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard team is the linchpin of a strategy based on engaging potential enemies far from American shores, through forward deployment and basing.

“Although we have been fortunate the last couple of times our nation has engaged that a host country would allow us to come in and build the iron mountain, mass the forces and cross the border into attack. There are not a lot of places like that in the world,” he said.

How much amphibious assault capability is enough? “Right now, that is pretty much laid out by a previous QDR that says we will have two brigades prepared to conduct joint operational access,” he said.

— Greg Grant

17 Comments on "Marine’s Conway Gives (Another) Tepid Endorsement of EFV; Capability That Is"

  1. Can't they just use a fast landing craft , 1 sled or catamaran for each vehicle that can do 40 mph, and then use a AFV that's more suitable for fighting on land and has more in common with what the Army are going to use .

  2. "If only one could just rename the program, claim it is a "new vehicle" and then point at a lower price without all of that sunk R&D cost making things look worse."

    You just have to wonder about Bill some times: For Instance why the solution to every problem is to defraud the American taxpayer. Is is it a creative visualisation thing – where if we pretend the problem doesnt exist it just goes away.

  3. crack kills. use with caution.

  4. Affordable and less mechanical nightmare is needed…the EFV is a Hydraulic Monster (if you've seen how it gets most of it's planing action from Hydraulic movement of underbelly bow plates and track skirting)…maybe a more simpler design could be used and also off the shelf proven vehicle…like, the Bradley IFV.
    Encrease the body length of the Bradly by 4 feet (to increase the Troop transport from 7 to 11), develope a underbelly floatation hull that bolts onto the Bradley (But is quickly ejected using explosive bolts once it hits land ,from inside the vehicle), and add on sponsons to the sides (Which can be quickly removed after the Beach landing and area is secured). A built in internal high speed jet propulsion system in the disposable hull. No fancy Hydraulics are needed or maintained, a proven IFV for land operations with an extended body to carry more troops. It's a one way trip to the beach anyways, so why all the fancy extra equipment once you move inland? Just a thought anyways.

  5. Adding to Joe's line of thinking;
    There are probably thousands of M113 vehicles in storage in the U.S. Why not turn them over to the USMC for land transport duties. Purchase hovercraft to serve as mini LCACS's to transport the APC's to the beach or beyond, then let the mechanized vehichles to the fighting and driving. Griffon hoverwork of Britain supplies military hovercraft to UK forces, as well as overseas customers – India's navy just purchased some as patrol boats.
    http://www.griffonhoverwork.com/applications/1

  6. Didn't we use to have M4 Shermans equipped with flotation devices to help them get to shore? Can't we do the same thing with a Bradley IFV?

  7. Jacob;

    Unfortionately the M4s used a canvas skirting to help them float, and that didn't work to terribly well in rough seas (D-Day). The Bradley had a skirt design too, but that didn't work very well either…I had proposed a detachable floating hull under the belly of the beast (leaving enough clearence for the tracks to make contact to help launch from a Amphibious ship and climb over coral reefs) and add on sponsons (Large sealed floating containers) to the sides for boyonce and inside the hull it's own powerful hydrojet system. All of this detachable thru explosive bolts within the Bradley once it makes it to shore. Turning it back into a IFV. Oh, and also increase the length of the Bradly to carry a larger amount of troops to shore.

  8. They did a long time ago with the Phalanx system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx_CIWS) and electronic countermeasures.

  9. The answer is to build as cheaply as possible small unmanned armored amphibious fighting vehicles. Get them onshore and let them engage enemy ground forces with massive air cover. Even if many of them get chewed up you haven't lost any troops and you can seriously degrade any threat in the area. Phase two can be bringing in troops by air and small boat to reinforce the area and phase three can be the arrival of landing craft with armor.

  10. Sorry- but Tarawa was 60+ years ago.

    Drop off a bunch of Strikers/LAVS from a LCAC. Then some Abrams. Take out strong points with air strikes/cruise missiles.

    I never bought the argument for the EFV and the LCAC- just classic military bloat.

  11. tribulationtime | August 25, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Reply

    Hit and sunk! better reasons ever. Thank you to take care! Kisses.

  12. On my last rotation to a-stan my company was paired up with a Polish Company equipped with the Rosomak(Wolverine) IFV. Now it was superior to the Stryker in almost everyway. I saw one get hit with a RPG-9 from 200 meter which detonated on the side of the drivers station, but did not penetrate. well we come to a river and we have to find a fiord point to cross. The Rosomak crews seal up a few hatches plunge into the river and start zipping around very fast looking for our crossing point, while we wait as a stationary target. Specs say it can get 8Kts in the water. The Polish mechanics told us they can get 35KPH in the water once they tweak to motor and have taken them 50+KM in the Baltic. These guys said they water skied from them in Poland. Comes with 30mm, 40mm, and twin 120mortar(AMOS). Sights, C3 and Armor all first rate. Costs less than $5 Million US with the mortar(most expensive). Buy them off the self. USMC problem solved. Now when a US defense Contractor gets involved we may be able to get them in 12 years for $30million a piece and it will not float(oh thats my Stryker).

  13. Also the M-113 with the electric drive is a great Idea. The Italian Alligator kitted stretch M-113 is worlds better than the current Amphip and has more speed and armor than a Stryker. There are also about 8000+ of them paid for and awaiting modification. Check out what the Dutch, Turks, Italians, and Israelis have done to M-113s, we probaly do not have to buy a new Armor fighting vehicle for any service for 50 years.1st we need to ban the top 50 defence contractors from new sales for 7-10years. I bet we would field amazing equipment for our Soldiers and Marines at half the cost.

  14. Early Dawn hit the first decision point (aka define your rqmts then buy a system).
    Standoff distance has been questioned for years and NOW senior leaders are asking what it should be? Once the distance is determined the time to get there yields speed required. OTH is a nebulous term which now plays in the world of G-RAMMS.

    Next issue with EFV is why are the Marines buying this expenisve an APC which spends 80% of its life on land while paying huge costs to move it over water? CMC has already said they can't afford as many as wanted.

    I like the PASCAT too BUT it is simply a fast LCM sized transport (55 ton payload) not amphibious. So maybe for 2nd wave sustainment lifts it will help. Which gets tot the third issue the Marines must deal with – why do ALL their landing craft HAVE to be fully amphibious? Can't some be full up on the beach/land and most not be?

  15. Could all of this have been avoided by replacing the CH-46 with a more modern Air-Assault oriented Helo 25 years ago when they really needed to be replaced? Big thanks to the Crews and maintainers of CH-46s( the B-52 of helicopters!

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