Amos: I’ll Be Able To Drive EFV Replacement Within Four Years

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos today shed some much anticipated light on when the Corps could see a replacement for the cancelled Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, telling lawmakers he expects to drive its replacement by the end of his tenure as commandant.

“There are two answers to that, one is as Commandant of the Marine Corps’s answer which is Before I leave leave office four years from now . . .  we’ll have a program of record, we’ll have steel, there will be a vehicle and I’ll be able to drive it,” Amos said responding to lawmakers questions during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. “I’m trying to pressurize industry, I’m trying to pressurize the acquisition folks, I want the word to get out. If we followed the standard acquisition timeline, which in some cases got us to where we are today, it’ll be 2024.”

To avoid such a fate, the general said the Department of the Navy will be using a model similar to the one it used to quickly buy and field thousands of MRAPs during the height of the Iraq war.

“Something probably that resembles the sense of urgency that we had for the MRAP but probably a little bit more scheduled, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Now that’s not saying that Amos will necessarily be driving the production model EFV replacement, dubbed the Amphibious Combat Vehicle, but it will will be some sort of early version ACV.

The EFV was cancelled earlier this year after it was predicted that its rising costs would swallow up waaay too much of the Marines’ procurement budgets. The craft was first conceived in the 1980s and has taken billions in development cash over the decade yet remained stuck in development purgatory.

It’s replacement will draw on the lessons learned from EFV development while using available technologies to field a 21st Century armored personnel carrier for the Corps, according to Amos.

  • FormerDirtDart

    Obviously, Gen. Amos needs to provide an urine sample for testing.

  • brian

    Its believable, prototype death traps are easy to get out the door.

  • joe

    Ok, humor me here..instead of trying to make the Amphibious tracked Vehicle faster so it can travers the “over the horizon” distance to the shore in a quicker time frame how about making the Ship that carries it to combat more stealthy. Like a Submarine LST? Yes, I said it. A Sub capable of carring at least 13 tracked amphibious Vehicles within a much closer distance to shore, off load at night and the tracks only have about 500 meters to go to hit the shore. Of coarse this would have to be done very quickly so the tracked vehicles would have to be updated vehicles than what the AAAV-7s are today. Put more thought into the Tracked vehicles armour and weapons systems instead of water borne capabilities for inland operations, and allow the Sub-LST to close the distance. Of coarse the Marines would transfer from regular LSDs to the Sub-LST sometime prior to the assault so your not doing 6 month cruises on board one of these monsters…
    Hey, Just a thought anyways…

    • Nadnerbus

      They just blew billions of dollars and two and a half decades failing at a normal surface craft/tracked vehicle. You want them to start over with a submarine/surface/tracked vehicle, and a whole new class of subs to carry them? Not that the idea doesn’t have a little merit, at least in small sizes, but the whole point is cost.

      • Oblat

        What if it could fly too ! :-)

    • elportonative77

      Good idea, seriously.

    • orly?

      Innovative idea, extremely high risk, extremely high expense, and terrible timing = not gonna happen in our lifetime.

  • ziv

    How about a cheaper, slower EFV that presupposes that the fleet will have to come within 15-20 miles of the shore? The ‘over the horizon’ doctrine is killing the Marines ability to conduct amphibious landings. If you start closer in you can reduce speed from 28 mph to 15 mph thereby reducing the need for the huge, thirsty engines. Then face facts on manning, reduce the marines aboard from 17 to 15 or 16. Then reduce the weight by using a M242 25 mm instead of a 30 mm. If it is good enough for the LAV and the Bradley, then it should be good enough for the EFV.
    Would it be as good as the original EFV? No. But could the Marines afford it, and dominate with it? Yes.

    • A. Nonymous

      When the EFV (AAAV) development started an anti-shipping missile’s range was around 30 miles, meaning you could park an LHA or LHD 40 miles offshore and launch an amphibious assault (as long as you maintained air superiority). Twenty years later, the rules of the game have changed. Anti-shipping missiles with a 200-mile range are a reality, meaning an amphibious assault must now stage well beyond the range of either the AAV or the EFV (and, I suspect, well beyond the range of any proposed ACV). I think Joe is right: instead of trying to come in fast from outside the ASM kill zone, it is probably a better idea to come in slightly subsurface but at much slower speeds.

      • http://www.jameshasik.com James Hasik

        The 25-mile requirement was not meant to keep the ships out of missile range; Exocets and Silkworms have been able to go much further for decades. Rather, the 25 miles were meant to give the ships warning time to bring their defensive batteries to bear. The Navy is now saying that the combat systems on the LPD-17, and those planned for other classes, provide more rapid warning, so the ships can close the shore, “engaging the enemy more closely.” I lack the technical information to verify or impeach the Navy’s claim, but I can certainly argue effectively that no one needs to back up 200 miles.

        • blight

          The ability of sensors to find and track incoming cruise missiles has exceeded the ability of ships to destroy them before they hit.

        • leesea

          that logic would work IF modern amphibs had more than the MINIMAL weapons and sensors they are currently fitted with. The largest gun on LPD17 class is a 30mm I believe. What shipalts have been cut to “improve those boxes” weapons and sensors? None that I know of, do you?

          This standoff scheme might go over better IF the USN flat out stated that they would come in closer to support landing (as should be inevitable). I believe I saw the very recenlty in a news report (DefNews maybe?)
          P.S. the MPS and other sealift ships may well be up to 250 nmi offshore, BUT what ligherage does the USN have to lift massive amounts of cargo in from them?

          • leesea

            i got this headline from Defense News: New Amphibious Standoff Doctrine Ranges From 40 To 12 Nautical Miles
            The Navy has finished revising its vision for amphibious assaults, and has concluded that when facing a sophisticated adversary, ships must park at least 40 nautical miles offshore and then close to 12 miles after extensive shaping operations….

          • Curt

            You are mistaking size for capability. The 30mm is for small boats and such, the ASMD is based on the RAM missile, which was designed for quick reaction, high clutter environments. Assuming they expend 2 RAM per ASCM, they would theoretically, if you are very lucky, be able to destroy 10 missiles (and yes, being IR guided they work fine against stealthy missiles too as well as small boats and helicopters). How many missiles are you planning to face somewhere picked specifically due to it being lightly defended? In any event, the ACV RFP calls for a 13nm standoff distance.

          • blight

            “Picked specifically” is a lot of finger crossing to put thousands of crew in a LPD at risk.

          • Curt

            Hoping a lightly protected Helo or LCAC can survive is no more finger crossing, and the ship takes the increased risk for a few hours at a time of its own choosing. War is inherently risky.

          • blight

            yes, but it takes five years for a shipyard to crank out a LPD, and finding 2500 sailors roman another ship can’t be squeezed out of a tube. LCACs and EFVs were meant to defray the risk to the multimillion dollar hulls.

      • ohwilleke

        As others have noted, the Marines forte is not the edge it provides us in “near peer” conflicts with large, technologically advanced militaries. But the Marine Corps’ resources seem well suited to providing the core of a U.S. military response in the Third World where the locals have frigate navies and obsolete air forces to make a show of force, support a local regime e,g. to continue the flow of oil or suppressing terrorist cells, and to evacuate Westerners from places that have gone to hell. These make the key “distance from shore” consideration the range of enemy mobile artillery batteries. A sensible Plan B for achieving that goal is a combination of the proposed Mobile Launching Platform, good old fashioned landing craft, and landing craft sized brown water boat that could deliver direct fire or precision artillery munitions as suppressing fire in support of Marines engaged in a forced entry without putting something like an Antonio Class LPD in harms way. An EFV 2.0 that could manage just 5 miles on its own (and ideally could also be launched on lakes and large rivers from a reinvented C-130 sea plane) would be more than sufficient and far less technically demanding.

    • William C.

      No need to cut the 30mm Mk.44 chain gun. It’s better capabilities more then compensate for the increased weight and size. If they upgrade the Bradleys again they might as well switch to the 30mm as well.

      One of the problems with your proposal is related to the speed. To the best of my knowledge you can’t improve much over the 8 mph speed of the AAV-7A1 unless you switch to a hydroplaning design like the EFV. It is one of those all-or-nothing deals.

  • Lance

    With the budget getting cuts over the next 5 years Amos can wish for his EFV in one hand and crap in another and guess what gets full first.

    With the Corps in financial strain and being now to upgrade existing AAV7s there wont be the funds to push billions for some up-gunned AAV like the EFV was.

  • Jacob

    At the risk of possibly sounding dumb….what does the EFV do that the LCAC doesn’t?

    • FormerDirtDart

      LCACs must stop, and deflate their skirts before off-loading. A time consuming process. Basically, LCACs aren’t intended to land under fire.

    • Whiskey6

      An LCAC is not an assault vehicle. That means it is quite vulnerable to fires from the defense ashore. In addition, in the assault phase of an amphibious operation, its massive payload becomes a liability…….if you lose the LCAC, you lose the entire payload.

      One design feature of the asault amphibian is actually the size of its payload. It is specifically designed to hold a Marine rifle squad (13 Marines) plus a few attachments (machine guns, mortars, AT squads, etc.).

      It is much easier to continue the mission, if you lose a single squad than if you lose and entire company in the assault.

      The idea is to open the door with the assault, and then follow-on with a rapid, massive build up using the LCAC’s and LCU’s. Each tool in the tool box has its function.

      Semper Fi,
      Dave

  • Cole

    The Marines have investigated “chimneys” down the middle of vehicles to vent IED blasts. The Army is pushing double V-Hull on Stryker. Combine the two concepts and create a catamaran like vehicle with six troops sitting in the two sides separated by a one foot chimney down the middle with double V-hulls that function like boat hulls. Limit troops on board to 13 + crew.

    Tow four or more of these vehicles to 15NM from shore using LCS, then turn on the water jets to get maybe 15 knots the last few miles and use disposable rocket assist bottles to cover the last stretch of water with additional speed.

  • Cole

    To add to Jacob’s comment, believe an LCAC and its ship to shore connector replacement should also be able to carry two vehicles and tow one or two more.

  • Oblat

    The EFV has successfully screwed a few billion out of the US taxpayer for no effect. Time to start again for another successful failure.

    Scrapping the marines gets rid of half the failed and corrupt development projects at the DoD in one fell swoop. We just cant afford this Cinderella service that cant even take on a few Libyan irregulars.

    • jemc50

      Wrong again!!!! If the Marines were eliminated, the Army would be given the amphibious mission. The Army would then complain that they would need 10 additional divisions to be able to accomplish the mission. Plus, they would then want their own Army fleet of ships and 30 more General Officers with HQ staff. Then, they would want the F-35B/C with Army pilots and the EFV to handle the additional strain of the new missions they had acquired. Finally, the Army would have to sickness patches to avoid motion sickness in rough seas.

  • Donnell

    How about the U.S. look abroad at a vehicle, like the new German “Puma” Infantry fighting vehicle. It could be modified at a cheaper cost I’m sure, than to develope a new vehicle. It should be licensed built in the U.S. of course and it could also be adopted by the Army as a replacement for the “Bradley”. That way we save billions on development cost because the Germans have already done it for us.Also the resupply of spare parts will be cheaper because they will be produced in two country’s.

    • Curt

      You would be wrong on virtually every count. First, Pumas don’t float. Simply making them float would require redesigning the entire vehicle, so then it wouldn’t be a Puma would it. And not just float, be able to handle roughly 10ft waves like a AAV. Second, it uses a different gun so you are talking litterally billions in infrastructure costs for new ammo, new certifications, etc. At least the 30mm gun uses the same round as the A-10 (which is no coincidence). Assuming you wave magic pixie dust in the air and make the first point go away, it doesn’t carry enough people so you would need roughly 50% more on a ship of which there is no room.

      • FormerDirtDart

        All of your points are correct and valid. But, the EFV was designed to carry 30% fewer pax, while taking up 30% more deck space, and weigh roughly nine tons more, than the AAV-7.

      • Donnell

        Calm down Curt, I gave a suggestion. Don’t get your panies tied up in a knot. Whats with the fixating on the 30mm gun, what they have to have that gun? The more people it carry the more will die, if it gets hit, which is going to happen. Now let me ask you this, assuming you wave magic pixie dust in the air.Do the Corps need a ungainly IFV on land that cost more than a platoon of Abrams tanks? and less combat capable than ALL the modern IFV in use around the world? Which at some point it will have to face off against in battle…

    • Guest

      Yeah, just like the Vh-71 program…

    • Whiskey6

      How well does it come ashore in 15 ft plunging surf?

      Most “amphibious” AFV are good for river crossings or other inland waterway work. They are not capable of hanlding open ocean and surf conditions……They simply drown.

      Semper Fi,
      Dave

  • STemplar

    How about we accept the USMC isn’t going to land on a beach under fire ever again since it hasn’t in 2/3 of a century. Then we could buy some boring heavy lift helos and fly from 50 miles off shore to 50 miles inland, off load some AFFORDABLE jeep like vehicles towing/carrying heavy weapons and be parked in the enemy’s driveway in the morning when they wake up to go to their beach defensive positions.

    I get the USMC might need to come ashore in some hostile Somali fishing port, or into a capital where the poo poo has hit the fan, like say I dunno, Tripoli, but those are going to be bunker defended miles of coastline requiring 500 EFVs and 2 marine BDEs to take.

    • STemplar

      Correction-‘aren’t going to be bunker defended’

    • Whiskey6

      The Airborne units of the Army haven’t made a large scale air assault since WWII, other than a battalion-sized drop in Vietnam. That does not mean that we should not retain the capability of parachute assaults.

      We need to maintain a resonable amphibious assault capability….to be used when and where it is needed, with minimal casualties. If we are smart, we won’t be assaulting a new version of the Atlantic Wall or Tarawa, but we need to have the ability to do so if the need arises.

      By the way, the Marine amphibious assault already includes a heavy lift helo capability (CH-53)……including the ability to land LAV’s and medium artillery in the enemy’s rear. That does not repalce the need for over-the-beach landings.

      For a reference as to how well airborne/airmobile ops go without a link to the logistics chain, check out Dien Bien Phu. It didn’t work out so well for the French.

      Semper Fi,
      Dave

      • STemplar

        I believe we dropped an airborne BDE into northern Iraq during OIF and inserted a Ranger BN into Afghanistan. Pray tell what heavily defended beaches has the USMC assaulted since Inchon? Ya know, 2/3 of a century ago.

        • William C.

          We haven’t used nukes since 1945 nor faced enemy air attack since the Korean war. Thus lets get rid of nukes and our air defense systems?

        • Donnell

          You’re right may I also add Operation Just Cause, Where elements of the 82nd Airborne and a Ranger Battalion were air dropped into Panama

        • orly?

          Grenada “might.”

          Prebombardment has been noticibly easier with the new technology now you know?

          If you would like a “similar” scenario, when was the last time Airborne infantry were dropped in a heavily AA defended airspace with all enemy SAM sites intact, AAA blazing, and fighter planes with their LONG RANGE?

    • Angela

      Yeah, just like the amphibious assault Gate is talking about taking on Libya. How can you say it’s never going to happen.

  • blight

    What would probably work better at this point would be a two-stage vehicle: A motorboat-esque vehicle carrying an APC in portee and then dropping it off on landing. There is inefficiency in bulk and equipment when you try to interface two items closely; but you weigh that against trying to design a land vehicle to perform well at sea.

    • orly?

      A war towboat? With a non-amphibious APC? orly?

    • Riceball

      I had the same idea, either some sort of attachment to the back of the APC or some sort or some sort of launch that would carry 2 or 3 of them halfway to shore from way out, launch them, and then either RTB or go back for more.

    • Whiskey6

      They call them LCM’s(Mike boats). They have been around and in use since the late 1930’s. The problem is, like all landing craft, they are very limited in the range of beach gradients they can assault. The LCM’s have replaced by the LCAC’s for the over-da-beach heavy hauling. LCU’s are still in use.

      The LCAC greatly expands the range of beaches, but it is not an armored vessel. The LCAC provides the lift for the tanks, LAVs, artillery and logistics for the amphibious operation. It just isn’t designed to be an assault vehicle.

      Semper Fi,
      Dave

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      Or buy some of these:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zubr_class_LCAC

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen
      Luxembourg

  • Will

    They bought the MRAPs as urgency items because the tech & the basic designs were already in use by other countries. The only way a prototype ACV will be ready in 4 years is if the basic design is already out there. If any manufacturer in the world is trying to sell something like the EFV or even the AAV-7, what is it?

    • STemplar

      No one has anything like the EFV because only the US would even entertain the idea of buying a $25 million dollar IFV. Part of the problem is there are alot of IFVs that can ford, but to launch from ship to shore it has to be able to handle surf, it isn’t an easy or cheap thing to accomplish.

      My issue isn’t with the ability of the USMC to launch a maritime assault, it is with this notion put forward by the USMC that they need the capacity to be able to move 2 BDEs simultaneously under fire onto a beach. That is non sense.

      I don’t think Amos is being very smart by saying he’ll drive the replacement in 4 years. Saying he wants a replacement that isn’t a piece of junk, has a reasonable cost, and we are only buying to fill a realistic operational need, would have been a smarter thing to say.

      • Angela

        Not only is his 4 years unrealistic, it’s dangerous. The director of the MRAP program already stated that it cannot be duplicated because of the rush to design and procure, literally neglecting to capture what they had done to build it. He wants to do that again with this vehicle. So when failures happen they will not be able to identify the safety issues as they arise. Consequently, not being to correct a safetly hazard on all vehicles.

  • Old_Bear

    Gentlemen,
    May this humble Brit offer a couple of suggestions for alternative vehicles to be used by the USMC:
    1) That the USMC combine it’s EFV and it’s LAV replacement programmes into one. IVECO & BAE have already teamed up to offer a replacement for LAV using IVECO’s SuperAV 25 ton Medium Armoured Vehicle, see the following links for further details: http://www.military-today.com/apc/iveco_superav.hhttp://www.shephard.co.uk/news/landwarfareintl/eu
    By adapting an existing vehicle which is already being offered to the USMC, they can cut a lot of costs straight up, especially if they were using off the shelf equipment. Especially, if the USMC configures it’s MAU’s along the lines of the Army’s Striker Brigades.

  • blight

    Ekranoplanes for everyone.

    • orly?

      They don’t work well in open sea, or in “hard” weather.

  • Brian

    You have to realize the EFV was a capability that allows for the ship-to-shore movement and is needed because of the majority of turmoil is along the littorals. Mission creep and too many hands in the pot made a vehicle that was no longer affordable and would suck the majority of O7M funds from the Marine Corps.

    The new Amphibious Fighting Vehicle (AFV) is going to be streamlined, especially with Gem Amos tracking the entire process. It can be done in the timeframe Gen Amos expects and I guarantee alot of the technology will be used from the EFV.

    You also have to remember what the enemy we are challenged today has for capabilities. Although China and North Korea are a potential enemy of the future, humanitarian assistance and other 3rd world countries that do not have capabilities to defeat an amphibious landing. Technology will eventually be able to counter defenses on the Navy and the distance will not be a factor.

  • Angela

    I know General Amos is an ‘air-winger”, so he might not know a whole lot about the procurement process. The faster you want it, the higher the cost of getting the parts. So whatever he thinks it will cost, add about 4 million to that.

  • Jack

    Commandant “A Mile Off Shore” Amos still has his head up his.., I mean in the clouds as most aviators do when it comes to infantry fighting.