Marine Corps Scraps Tracks for Amphibious Combat Vehicle

050627-N-1397H-313The Marine Corps is walking away from the high-speed Amphibious Combat Vehicle it envisioned – at least for the time being – but Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos said a wheeled version will have to do in this budget environment.

“We elected to switch and go to a wheeled vehicle,” Amos said on April 1 during a House Appropriations Committee hearing. “These are commercial off-the-shelf … they’re already being made by several different manufacturers.”

Unlike the planned ACV, the vehicle the Corps now calls the ACV 1.1 will not be able to deploy quickly from ship to shore from up to 12 miles out and it will not move on treads once landed. But what makes it a sound alternative is that the Corps already has other means to deploy it over water rapidly, Amos said. And the fact it will move on wheels makes it more survivable in a combat theatre.

Following it’s now cancelled Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, the Marine Corps seem to have abandoned efforts to quickly develop an amphibious vehicle that can both swim at what the Corps calls high water speeds of 13 to 15 knots and survive substantial land threats once ashore. Instead, the Corps plans to field a less-ambitious interim vehicle and simultaneously work on research and development aimed at reaching the desired combination of attributes for the future , senior leaders have said.

And then there’s the cost. Amos said the 300 ACV 1.1s he anticipates buying will cost about $3 million to $4.5 million each. The original ACV, the Corps had envisioned, would have cost between $12 million and $14 million each, he said.

“It’s the way to go, and they are highly mobile, and that’s the direction we’re going,” Amos said.

It does not appear that the Corps thinks it is technically feasible or cost-effective to attempt quick delivery of a vehicle that can both swim at faster speeds for ship to shore missions and also function as a sufficiently survivable land vehicle.

The ACV, as initially conceived, would be able to swim to shore from as far out as 12 miles. While the ACV 1.1 will not do that, Amos said the Corps’ fleet of connectors can. These include some 81Landing Craft Air Cushions, or LCACs, that are capable of transporting up to 150,000 pounds and as many as 180 Marines. Powered by four gas-turbine engines and two four-bladed propellers, the LCACs can travel over water, ice, snow, sand and tundra.

Additionally, Amos told lawmakers during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, the Corps has two Joint High Speed Vehicles currently out at sea and another eight under contract.

“Those will go fast, they will haul a lot of Marines and vehicles,” he said. “That gives us the ability to maneuver from a sea base that could be pushed out as far as 100 miles because of an enemy threat.”

“So what we’ve done is we’ve changed the paradigm in the way we thought, in that we have to swim all that way in our amphibious combat vehicle,” he said. “Well, it’s impractical now. Can we get on a connector, and the connector take us in? And the answer is yes.”

Amos still plans for the Corps to get the ACV it originally wanted. That’s now called ACV 1.2.

Amos said he came to the tough decision a few months ago to scrap original plans for the ACV. What made it more difficult is that just two years earlier the Corps called it quits on the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle after spending about 15 years and more than $3 billion in research, development and testing.

Amos has not identified the companies who may compete for the ACV 1.1 contract, though in the past Lockheed, General Dynamics and BAE Systems have done so, according to Manny Pacheco, a spokesman for the Corps’s Program Executive Office Land Systems Equipment Modernization.

Pacheco said an RFI for the ACV 1.1 is still a few months off.

About the Author

Bryant Jordan
Bryant Jordan is a reporter for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @BryantJordan.
  • oblat

    So the new marine acv is the lav Lol

    Scrapping the acv was a good start now we just need to finish the job and get rid of thr rest of the clueless marine corp.

    • DDL

      What about the reckless, unscrupulous US Congress? What about the criminally negligent US president?

    • Bobbie Curtis

      Learn to spell.

    • g. bake

      were you referring to the Marine Corps?

    • Blake

      Hey Oblat. The Marine Corp may not be made of Albert Einsteins, but don’t insult them.
      They work hard and give their best. Can you really ask anyone for more than that?

      If you want to complain, complain to the ones in charge not the ones following their orders.

    • James Hasik

      Is Oblat a pseudonym for Mike Sparks?

  • clueless marine corp… wow.

    • I;d like to point out that I was referring to oblat’s post. I meant my comment as “did he really just say that?” No offense was meant to the Corp.

  • Rob

    clueless? tell that to a combat Marine and you’ll be eating your teeth.

    • Majrod family

      So they are bullies then? Congratulations.

  • hibeam

    The Marines had the guts to admit that what they have developed to date is not good enough. Back to the drawing board. Bravo! That’s how its supposed to work. Carry on.

    • Dfens

      Yeah, it’s not like they gave a defense contractor free money for 15 (some sources say 25) years, for which the US taxpayer got absolutely zero return. Oh wait, it’s exactly like that. And no one is accountable. What a surprise.

    • Rod

      Indeed. R&D money is great for any contractor but being able to sell the mass produced, final product is the real prize.

      Let’s get General Dynamics and BAE to make the ACV 1.1. The irony of Lockheed getting a contract as a result of a program not being able to meet technical specifications and costs overruns.

    • Hi-beam: Wait, aren’t you that guy that dings other branches for canceling programs.

      The hypocrisy is drowning you out.

    • oblatt22

      Just laughable 20 years of screwing around with taxpayers money and they come back to the LAV. And they don’t admit it they call it the ACV1.1 as if its some sort of derivative of all that money.

      The Marines are all PR and spin.

    • tmb2

      Hibeam, Amos just admitted the primary requirements for the EFV were nice to haves and not combat necessities. Taking 20 years to come to that conclusion is not how it’s supposed to work.

  • Hunter76

    A smart decision. Money is the 1st reason. Mobility is another. 0.1% of the time tracks have a advantage over wheels. If we ever get into a big war, we’ll want vehicles that can travel hundreds of miles on existing roads.

    • blight_

      Most of the money savings comes from giving up on a high speed hydroplaning hull. Even if EFV had wheels it would have still been an insanely expensive monster.

      Edit: In a contested landing, there isn’t much that’ll actually work without firepower on tap or a weakly contested beach. Short of bringing ships close to shore and pounding the hell out of whatever is contesting the landing, sending ashore ACVs that are slow (or EFVs that are fast and unwieldly on land) is an attritional proposition. There’s probably a reason why the Zubrs have weapons, and that’s to make the contested landing and to deliver “normal” AFVs.

      That said, “existing roads” will probably be the first thing to go. Scouts, IEDs, ATGM teams anyone?

      • Hunter76

        Existing roads have been used by armies ever since they started fighting. That truism has not been nullified by recent inventions.

        Mobile forces ranging over hundreds of miles? They’re going to stream most of their traffic over roads.

    • Hunter – I don’t know if this is a “smart” decision at all. How do the Marines conduct a contested amphibious assault with LCACs (hovercraft) with troop carrying armored cars?

      And track advantages over wheels when it comes to mobility is a lot more than .1%.

      • commenter

        How often have they needed to do it in the last 50 years? Not that that fact totally invalidates the potential need, but it should not be the requirement that drives the cost and design.

        You need to design for the likely scenario(s), not the improbable that you could work around.

        Based on past doctrine and assuming the US would conduct an amphibious invasion, odds are the US will not be invading any high contested beaches. The US would conduct an initial air war to knock out the enemies ability to coordinate and react and to weaken their forces. Odds are air cover would be maintained during the entire operation to control the battlespace. An armored amphib is certainly nice to have in these situations, but not critical.

        • Don’t confuse the lack of use with the requirement to maintain the capability. Using that logic there’s no need for nukes.

          I wasn’t even thinking a heavily held beach assault which is the last thing anyone wants to do. Doesn’t take much for a lightly defended beach to fire one missile to take out an LCAC where a couple dozen AAVP7’s provides too many targets for a lightly held beach. That same force can secure a lightly held beach for the LCAC’s to come in safely.

          • Steve B.

            That same missile is just as effective as a tracked landing vehicle.

            The rub with the the EFV was that the MC realized after the fact that the vehicle, otherwise a good design, was very vulnerable to IED’s and there was no retrofit. So Bye, Bye !.

          • “That same missile is just as effective as a tracked landing vehicle.”

            Probably even more so but the track vehicle hit kills about 14 at most while losing an LCAC could kill hundreds.

          • Steve B.

            True, but the issue becomes the minute the missiles start flying, there’s no way to know how many more will come, so what was a “lightly defended beach” is no longer thought to be so. Thus the whole operation becomes questionable.

            But I tend to agree with you that a few EFV’s can determine the viability of the beach defenses.

          • If you start adding missiles you aren’t talking about a lightly held beach.

            You CAN determine how many enemy are present before the assault. That’s what reconnaissance is all about.

            I did not say EFVs. I said AAVP7.

          • Tracker1stmardiv


      • orly?

        I don’t like the implementation of this idea without the ACV 1.2 landing parties taking the beach first either.

        Again, LCACs are not supposed to be the first wave.

        Unless these LCACs are going onto an well prepared beach with aerial escorts (usually Super Cobras).

      • Andrew M

        Tracks have a huge advantage to wheeled vehicles on a beach, especially in wet sand in the surf and coming out of the water onto the soft sand. Not to mention if there are barricades and if the beach has been been shot up by the ships off shore. The current AAV can climb a 3 foot wall and easily drives though wet sand and through craters. I also agree that roads will be very spotty at best if not completely destroyed or non-existent. I have driven and seen many Amtracks get through rough terrain that a wheeled vehicle would easily get stuck.


      • Hunter76


        The Marines are far from just beach assaulters, their primary role is as shock troops. I predict their next insertion in a major conflict will be by C130s or similar, not by landing on some beach under fire.

        Marine vehicles need to be armored, well-armed, fast, multiterrain, and swimmable. They don’t need to swim at 12 knots. Wheels v tracks always involves trade-offs. I think wheels beat tracks esp considering cost, weight, reliabililty, fuel.

        • commenter

          This ^ is what it comes down to.

          The fully amphibous assault vehicle and capability would be great, but the cost is too high. Compared to a similar land wheeled vehicle the amphib is 3x the cost. When you consider the frequency this capability is needed (never in 50+ years), it is not worth the price.

        • I never said the Marines were only beach “assaulters”. That is their core competency unlike anyone else.

          The Marines primary role is Shock troops? No, that’s propaganda. “Shock troops are units created to lead an attack. “Shock troop” comes from the German Stoßtrupp. Specially trained troops/units from WWI that used infiltration type tactics to close with the enemy and open up holes in enemy lines. I’m not saying certain Marine units aren’t “shock troops”. I’m saying they aren’t all “shock troops” or the only ones. Look at our history, even recent history. Marines did not typically initiate offensives.

          BTW, M1’s, HMMWVs, MRAPs, all the medium and heavy trucks (the overwhelming majority of vehicles the Marines own) don’t swim.

  • Dan

    Clueless Marine Corps? I would love to see you say that to me or any of my fellow Marines. You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • Dfens

      Nice terroristic threat by a “public servant” to one of the taxpayers who pay his salary. It’s good we have people like you keeping us “safe”.

      • 6113

        You Sir, are awesome! You absolutely get a ‘thumbs up’ from this Devil Dog.

        • Dfens

          So the difference between the Marines and the Mafia becomes even less distinguishable. You people are an embarrassment to this country and to the Marines. Instead of professional soldiers you are nothing more than thugs.

          • Barry

            You forgot to specify that they are “childish and insecure” thugs. Witness all the chest beating above. If these heroic guys were so tough and smart … we wouldn’t be having these conversations about outrageously wasteful programs like EFV, LAV, JSF-B and other but ineffective toys for a service that is still out there looking for a valid mission.

          • Dfens

            Fortunately I know enough Marines to know the vast majority aren’t like these who supposedly posted the crap above. Not everyone does, though, unfortunately.

          • oblatt22

            >nice terroristic threat

            Calling marines clueless is a terroristic (sic) threat LOL

      • DDL

        Freedom? In the USA? YOU don’t know what you are talking about!!!

        A high-tech police state is already in place and in your face!! And it couldn’t have happened without the help of clueless propaganda junkies who know nothing more than regurgitating some official BS like how the US is a “model of freedoms and democracy”

    • oblatt22

      The marines and who’s army ? we know they cant go anywhere until the army has secured the ground and even then it takes 5 months.

      • El Gato

        You must be confused. It’s the other way around.Always

      • Mule

        Babble on clueless. No Marine Corps, no USA. You just weren’t good enough to be one of us!

        • The Marines have won many battles but no war. The nation exists because of the Army. There were no Marines at Yorktown or Appomattox, wars that if had gone another way would have been the end of the USA.,

  • Roger

    quit feeding the troll

  • Dfens

    Just in case the 10% the defense contractor managed to skim off the top of the last $3 billion the Marines spent leaving the US taxpayer with nothing to show for it, don’t worry, defense contractor, because there’s more free “research” money where that came from.

    • OH, Please.. Look at the amount the Army has wasted, trying to figure out camouflage or to find out the M16 is still the best option, or that the M2 Bradley works…. I could fill this page with their screw ups, The Navy and air force have their fair share too. At Least the Corps adapted and went a route that still modernizes what they wanted replaced…. And don’t make me mention the fricken F35 that could be toasted by an F14D or the Mission less LCS And If you scraped the Corps who would save you asses this time.

      • Dfens

        Oh, well if everyone if screwing the US taxpayer then that makes it ok.

      • oblatt22

        If you scrap the marines you get rid of half the bad procurement problems. You dotn get rid of all of them but its a big improvement up front.

        • Dfens

          With each branch of the military having their own special forces for rapid deployment and since we have a standing Army, something that was not envisioned when the constitution was written, then it would seem the Marines are a bit of an anachronism.

  • CaptainDoc

    We need to look at the Russians for designs for this type of vehicle as they have several to choose from that are wheeled(6 or 8 wheels) and cost several million $$ less per unit. The Russians have engines that do not meet Californicate emission standards, manual transmissions, under water operation(snorkel’s), NBC environment self contained, very good mileage per gallon, glazing that will deflect 7.62 rounds, move very fast, seat more troops and so on.

    • Dfens

      Yeah, because the problem is we don’t have any engineers smart enough to design an amphibious craft. It has nothing to do with the fact that we pay defense contractors a profit for every day they drag out this so called “research and development” of a vehicle. GD laughs at you all the way to the bank.

      • mule

        I’m sure it had nothing to do with the Program Office changing leadership every few years and modifying requirements every few months. I have no doubt that GD added their own pork to the project, but the Marines did a crummy job of managing the program. Contractors will be contractors. They try to make money. It’s up to the customer to make sure that what they want is very clear, and that the contractors are delivering something.

        • Dfens

          While you make excellent points about what the program office is supposed to be doing, it becomes almost impossible for the program management to do their job because of the inherit conflict of interest that exists when a for-profit company is provided a cost reimbursement plus a profit on research and development. Basically the company’s job becomes dragging out the R&D for as long as possible to maximize profit. From what I have seen, the program management office seldom has any say in the type of contract they put in place and their ability to manage well connected defense contractors like GD is limited, and a some of that is related to the constant circulation of new people into the program as you mentioned.

    • blight_

      Russians also use Zubrs to deliver their stuff to the beach, since they don’t have amphibious assault ships like the Navy does. They opted for landing ships (LST-like).

      What may make more sense is for the Marines to pair Abrams and Bradley like army does, and keep a handful of ACV’s to simply secure the beach.

      Taking a beach with what is essentially an armored personnel carrier with infantry doesn’t seem wise. Clearing infantry with mechanized vehicles isn’t as hellish as the Russian experience, which may suggest that bringing 17 infantry per vehicle isn’t critical to beach clearing.

      If the landing is contested by armored vehicles then the landing vehicle is pretty much toast, along with its infantry. (Edit: The original ACV MPC proposal was to use a limited number of ACVs supplemented by MPCs ashore).

      The alternative may be to change ACV’s role from an 17-person carrier to a smaller footprint such as LAV-25, then replace LAV-25 in LAR when used ashore but use it to get to the beach. ACV would then come ashore and hold the beach while LCAC (or something bigger like a Zubr?) brings up Abrams and Bradley (regular bradley, turretless bradley, or their future replacements) to bring serious power where required.


    Great idea. Just make sure they don’t go anywhere it is sandy. Or muddy. Or anyplace that has trees or rocks or buildings that you would need tracks to get through or over. Ever seen a tire try and broach a steep riverbank when the vehicle is floating? Make sure there are ramps at every riverine landing site too. There a reason Marines say YATYAS-You Aint Tracks, You Aint S—l!

    • ATF


  • blight_

    Anyone have more information on this ACV 1.1 proposal?


    And for laughs, some DARPA stuff.

    And a PLA vehicle of interest:

    It doesn’t transport a full squad of Marines, but it’s worth thinking about.

    • I saw the MPC by BAE at the Maneuver Conference at Benning in September. Did a little blurb on my blog

      • blight_

        Hmm. I was referring to the ACV Survivability demonstrator. Curious to see what shape they think the ACV will take.

        • I think this article is saying the ACV is dead for now and the MPC is the solution.

          • blight_

            It’s still going to come from over the sea, so it feels like they want to preserve that capability. Not sure how much better it’ll be than AAV. I was under the impression that MPC had fording capability, but wasn’t intended for open ocean.

          • The MPC can handle a sea state 2.

  • Jango Puller

    Wow, I see a lot of anti Marine comments all over the place. yes, there have been some bad decisions, but does it go deeper? Is it because it is one of the last places to find some integrity? No offense to other branches at all. I worked some Army Personnel that were outstanding, but it seems that the Corps is hated just for being the Corps.

    • Hunter76

      I read ONE anti-Marine letter.

    • Nah, all the branches take heat when programs fail or money is wasted, You’re just very sensitive to any criticism and most people are intimidated to say anything negative about the Marines.

      Every branch gets criticized at one point or another.

      FWIW the Marines had largely withdrawn from Iraq before Op New Dawn. There were 13 trainers that withdrew on the last day. The Marines were the only branch to suffer no casualties in Op New Dawn.

    • Jeff

      Yup, lots of Marine haters, Germany (World War I) Central America (before WW I and between the world wars) Japan (WW II) North Korea and China (Korean War) North Vietnam (Vietnam War) Iraq (Desert Shield and Desert Storm) and last but not least, the latest love fest, OIF, OEF and The New Dawn (whatever that means). Yup, lots of people hate us, and we kicked the s&$@ out of them at every opportunity. I find it funny when the trolls talk smack over the Internet. If they had an ounce of balls, they’d put their money where their mouth is

      • Dfens

        This nation’s military consists of 15% actual fighting men and 85% uniformed bureaucrats. When that 85% wastes the US taxpayers’ money as it was clearly wasted on this EFV program for 15 years to the tune of $3 billion, then if I were you I’d hold the people who wore the same uniform as I did accountable for making me look like a damn idiot. Instead you think you can threaten the US taxpayer who is tired of getting fleeced for this crap, and that is supposed to make you look like something other than a thug shaking this nation down for “protection” money?

    • Everyone hates the best

      Semper fi

  • Hydrodynamicist

    To understand the EFV folly, trace back to its predecessor, the AAAV. The Marines’ concept, which they stubbornly held to for over 25 years of R&D, could be summarized thus: “Start with a Bradley A3, upgun it to a 35 mm main armament, stretch it accommodate 17 Marines, no propellers allowed, so find room for waterjets with exhaust ports as big a 55-gallon drums, and give it 2500 HP so it can plane in to the beach from over the horizon. Make sure it conforms to length, width, and height limitations so we can get enough of them aboard our new amphibious transport ships. BTW, keep the cost down.”

    • Dfens

      They are all valid requirements. Just because they can’t all be accomplished in a single vehicle doesn’t make them any less valid. You’re not implying that perhaps the system doesn’t work, are you?

      • Steve B.

        It was, as BTW essentially accomplished. In the design and testing process, the Army as well as the Marines learned a very important lesson on the dangers of IED’s. The EFV could not accommodate a design change to deal with that, so they are back at the drawing board.

        • Dfens

          You mean they found an excuse for the inevitable failure of this program and they took it. I don’t believe for a minute that American engineers are so stupid they couldn’t figure out what makes for a more mine resistant vehicle without having to watch as foreign designed vehicles put theirs to shame. It’s all part of the learned incompetence. Stupidity pays better than success and innovation, so guess what GD prizes above success and innovation?

      • RWB123

        As far as the ‘requirements cannot be accomplished’ etc. Please do an internet search for ZBD05/ZBD2000.

        • Dfens

          So are you saying China uses our system of procurement but gets a better result? Hell, they laugh at us. They can’t imagine why we are such idiots. To them its just more proof that we need to be exterminated.

          • RWB123

            No, I saying that China has a working equivalent to the EFV. In fact they have an entire family of them. Seems it doesn’t swim as well as the EFV was supposed to. On the other hand, the EFV averaged less than 12 hours between break downs, so you could say the US version doesn’t swim at all.

            And I’m sure that they do laugh at us. They went for a much improved amphibious fighting vehicle and they got it. Have had it in service for about a decade. God only knows what improved designs they’ve thought of as a result of their practical experience with the vehicles.

            We went for the next gen/leap ahead/breakthrough design and got nothing.

            I guess you could say they did have a better result.

          • Dfens

            Well, my point was not so much that the requirements were the problem, but the system of the military generating requirements and then funding a private company at a profitable level to turn these requirements into a vehicle is itself a flawed approach. The contractor has negative incentive to actually come up with a vehicle of any kind, revolutionary or evolutionary. Hell, if the Marines had gone out to the free market and said, “we’d like a vehicle that would be significantly faster and have more range than what we’ve got,” and arranged to provide a $100 million prize for anyone that could come up with such a vehicle, they’d have leveraged probably 10 times that $100 million in research and development dollars spent by free market companies to win that prize. Concepts like that completely elude our military.

          • tmb2

            Do our procurement laws even allow for that kind of scenario?

          • Dfens

            I’m not sure. I’ll check with some people who would know. I was thinking it would fall under the standard commercial contract, but I’m not certain.

          • tmb2

            Aside from the services not knowing what they want or knowing if it’s feasible (and the contractors being more than happy to oblige), I wouldn’t be surprised if procurement process requires the services to go through this insanity.

          • Dfens

            They definitely are not required to do the crap they do now. For many years the Army and Marines designed their own tanks and rifles. They, for the most part, still have the facilities that used to do this kind of design work. It’s just that these days they outsource all of it because the defense contractors want that free money they get from doing research and development. Also the military has available to it commercial contracts that allow them to buy cans of beans and figure out which brand has the best beans for the price and buy those beans. Today they only use those contracts for beans, but they used to use them for procuring weapons too, back before they started paying a profit on R&D.

        • The ZBD vehicles are VERY lightly armored nor do they carry the required number of Marines.

    • Lee

      I worked on AAAV prototypes in the early 90’s. It had no relationship to the Bradley and it was not under development for 25 years unless you are counting the efforts on the AAV (totally unrelated). I worked at GD. We built the first prototypes at the Lima Army Tank Plant using M1 Abrams machining centers. I left in ’94 but at that time it was looking promising. Then the MBA’s took over the program and I guess it did not turn out so well.

      • Dfens

        I’m not sure where the 25 years comes from exactly. There was an article I read where Rep. Murtha accused the EFV of being a 25 year long program. Maybe I’m just repeating a mistake he made.

  • Lance

    With this pacific pivot I would NOT want a wheeled vehicle for my assault force coral reefs will chew up and immobilize the wheeled AAV and so we have a Tarawa every time we land in the Pacific. Another Army plant into the Marines came up with this crap. face for most combat vehicles its preferred to use tracks.

  • The Marines need an amphibious troop carrier. The EFV was a poorly managed program. The ACV was/is a good idea. It “might” be a good decision to back off from the ACV for now. It would have been nice if the article expounded on why the Marines insist on “high water speeds”. That’s going to make any solution technically challenging and expensive.

    Going with wheeled personnel carriers and LCAC’s (hovercraft) must have implications on the Marines ability to conduct contested amphibious landings or forced entry.

    Finally, Amos is incorrect when he said, “the Corps has two Joint High Speed Vehicles currently out at sea and another eight under contract.” The Army actually paid for the first one and transferred it to the Navy that now owns the two built. The others are under Navy contract and are for use by both the Army and Marines.

    • blight_

      “Those will go fast, they will haul a lot of Marines and vehicles,” he said. “That gives us the ability to maneuver from a sea base that could be pushed out as far as 100 miles because of an enemy threat.”
      “So what we’ve done is we’ve changed the paradigm in the way we thought, in that we have to swim all that way in our amphibious combat vehicle,” he said. “Well, it’s impractical now. Can we get on a connector, and the connector take us in? And the answer is yes.”

      Since JHSV can’t unload directly on a beach, the plan is to send MPC’s off the well-deck to go the last few hundred feet towards shore, or something like that. JHSV better be prepared to fight.

      • The JHSV doesn’t have a well deck.

        • blight_

          It appears to have provisions for a ramp instead. Oh well.

  • oblatt22

    The fact is that the marines don’t have a mission – someone else does everything the marines do better. They are an anachronism like horse cavalry.

    The marines have adapted to this fact by investing heavily in PR and contractor relations. Every marine is told hes Cinderella just waiting to become a Princess if only the right war would arrive where he could throw himself onto a beach against dug in Japs.

    There is a good reason why the marines will loan hollywood anything they want to get on the screen because their survival doesn’t depend on defeating the Taliban it depends on conning the American taxpayer.

    After 25 years and 3 billion dollars they are suggesting an amphibious assault force that can only swim lakes and needs a boat ramp to get out of the water ? – perfect fit for the marines – if they get bogged they can just stop the cameras and get a tow out.

    • Tony, not to defend oblatt who’s a troll and hates the military but the Corps hasn’t been in the forefront of every engagement. None the less it has a VERY distinguished history and contrary to oblatt does do amphibious warfare better than any force.

    • What are you smoking? Clearly you have never seen the Marines fight.. And they do it Any time, Any where, and on short notice. Where do these people come from?

    • oblatt22

      >They have been in the for front of every engagement this country has been in from our revolution to Iraqi to Afghanistan.

      Yea in the movies. Just have to laugh at marine PR.

  • Snafuperman

    Wow, while you clowns argue about the merits of tracks to get you out of the water, you totally missed that this vehicle was never going to be in the water, and would instead be delivered by LCAC, over the coral, out of the water.

    • Barry

      And you — Master of all Clowns? — plus the entire USMClown Army missed the point that their job is storming the beaches, which you can’t do in a LAV or ACV or whatever you want to call that glorified pick-up truck they’re proposing to buy.

      • blight_

        Next up is speedboats with guns and rockets to deliver dismounted infantrymen to secure the beach while LCACs come in with armored personnel carriers.

        “Naval infantry…from the sea”

        (Or in supervillain style, LCS rolls up to within spitting distance of target beach, disgorges Sea-doos with marines on them. Maybe even have a parafoil or two)

        • tiger

          Sounds like a GI Joe cartoon from back in the day.

          • blight_

            LCS is a Cobra invention

  • JohnnyRanger

    I can’t believe that the Chinese can make this:

    but we have completely thrown in the towel.

    Yes, I know it’s smaller than what the USMC would want, but surely it could be scaled up. It just seems impossible to me that with all the technology available, we can’t make what is basically a faster Amtrak/Duwk

    • AAK

      That would be stealing the intellectual property of another country. The Chinese wouldn’t like that.

      • JohnnyRanger

        Lol. Good one!

    • Dfens

      We haven’t thrown in the towel. Research is continuing. Didn’t you read the article? The free money will continue to flow to the defense contractor. After all, that’s what our military actually exists for. It is a welfare program for the richest of the rich.

    • The ZBD2000 is VERY lightly armored and doesn’t carry enough Marines.

      • RWB123

        It’s better armored than the EFV, and what’s wrong with carrying fewer troops? Much better to lose a squad than half a platoon when the vehicle is taken out.

        • No it is not. It has lighter armor across the frontal arc and on the flanks.

          Marine squads are 13 men strong. The ZBD2000 carries a 6 – 8 and that doesn’t necessarily apply to American troops wearing body armor.

          Splitting squads is a mortal mistake. After commanding a Bradley company I can tell you it’s a huge problem trying to link up squads under fire as well as maintain momentum. The Army learned its mistake and fixed it which is why the Stryker carries the full Army Infantry Squad and made carrying a 9-man squad a non-negotiable for the cancelled GCV program.

          I don’t think the Marines have to repeat the Army’s mistake to learn the lesson.

  • With all the talk of storming the beaches I feel like I’m in the 1940s again. What beach is going to be contested after a couple precision air strikes these days? “Oh noooo, a fortified bunker”. Air strike… Walk around… Done. Of course I’m over simplifying to make a point but I just don’t see the need to prepare for a fight that just isn’t happening or going to happen anytime again.

    • hibeam

      Yes sir. But after the beach is made mostly safe you still gotta hit it with mounted cav and move inland.

    • RB – If precision air strikes were as good as you say we wouldn’t need an Army or Marine Corps.

      History teaches us that no amount of bombardment will destroy every enemy position nor will we know where every enemy position is.

      • orly?

        Still, doctrine dictates the constant presence of friendly air assets.

        Cobras, Harriers, Hornets.

        Tanks show up on thermal, etc.

        Will the landing be perfect? No.

        Will it be a slaughter? No.

        • Tanks show up on thermals if they are running or if the sun is beating on them making them hotter than the surrounding environment.

          I think the rest of your post is directed at someone else. I don’t contest those things.

      • tiger

        Sadly the Navy lacks real Naval gunfire platforms today. A true 4-6 5″ gunned DD or CA of old. Designed not for air defense of CVN’s but 24/7 on call support when the birds do not fly.

    • tiger

      The ability to do so can be used as in the Gulf War as a ruse. The Iraqi forces in Kuwait were prepping for a Sea assault in to Kuwait. Thus drawing attention from the real attack. A Armor thrust from the desert West.

  • barney

    I can see both points. But, my view is that the marines need tracks, period. During a beach assault, (if they plan on doing them any more)there might not be enough lcacs to go around, and the marines would be forced to swim the vehicles to shore any way. And, besides…and wheeled vehicles are not the way to go anyway…they would get too bogged down anyway in sand, mud, coral. or un broken ice.

    • tiger

      Tracks are harder to maintain & chew up roads. Most fights will be in urban eras in this century.

      • “Most fights will be in urban eras in this century.”

        Evidence? Where’s the analysis that supports this statement?

        • tiger

          Most of the world’s population lives in urban areas today. Would you not agree you’re more likely to face battles like the Iraq invasion & the fight for Baghdad or even Inchon; than a repeat of Tarawa or Saipan. Very few coasts today and unoccupied or not developed.

          • Most cities are near the water or on a river. Does that mean we should predict a greater need for riverine forces? I think not.

            Why did you not mention Afghanistan, Gulf I or the multitude of recent conflicts where conflict wasn’t centered around an urban area? Crimea was not limited to the cities. The reality is that cities or even populations are not always the center of gravity. Frankly, it depends.

            That’s why I asked what analysis you could refer to that supported your opinion. We may very well fight in urban areas in the future. Tracks work on roads AND rubble, wheels don’t.

  • tmb2

    “But what makes it a sound alternative is that the Corps already has other means to deploy it over water rapidly, Amos said. And the fact it will move on wheels makes it more survivable in a combat theater.”

    Soooo, the EFV was redundant and dangerous to take into combat? When did you determine that?

  • Fritz

    Lance has it right. The pivot to Asia requires tracked combat vehicles. Anyone tried to navigate a rice paddy in a wheeled vehicle? All those wheeled armored vehicles belong to forces dedicated to Europe, where they can run the roads and Afghanistan, where they have no reason not to.

    The USMC requirement is [a] armored to protect against an RPG, [b] carries a squad and its ammo, but [c] can swim in rough seas after being dropped off an LST. Such a vehicle contradicts the laws of physics.

    • Godzilla

      Fact is the Russians had a lot of lightly armored wheeled vehicles losses in Chechnya. That was why they bothered developing the tracked BMPT.

      • RWB123

        The BMPT is a tank that has been optimized to kill infantry at close quarters. It is not an APC or troop carrier.

  • Yatyas

    The need to land against a fortified beach died in WWII. I am a 23 year amtracker. Loved it lived it. As well as my son after me. The need is gone due to smart weapons. We just need to get to the land and use a vehicle that can protect us

    • Sandy

      brutha, you are forgetting Gulf one – fortified beach, but the reason thy didn’t go ashore was due to the Manata mine threat; hence, the Navy built an entire fleet of MCM ships which they now mothballed. The arguement that we will never hit a fortified beach again is short-sighted – I remeber one of the original ST-6 guys telling me before Gulf 1 tht “we will never do hostage rescue again – it’s passé….he was wrong. Our problem in our military is that we love “the flavor of the day” – after gulf one…we don’t need ground forces, the air will take care of it, thus they cut the Corps and the Army…along came Bosnia, and we ultimately needed ground pounders to say nothing of AFG and Iraq..we need balance to meet a variety of threats, then, when confronted with a real operation, surge what is needed. the selling of all these MRAPs, for example, is just plain stupid. I do believe the Corps needs tracks, not wheels, as LCACS are very vulnerable to any ground fire. They may need to swim from a few miles out. the AAAV concept was a bit out of control by the “good idea fairies”….GOD Bless

  • Can we just up turrent the aav7p with a more modern torrent with a larger weapon? Seems we can just buy the MPC for ashore and keep using the aav7p’s for contested beaches. I do agree though that smart weapons and other weapons change the dynamic some.

    What I think the Marines really plain on doing is using there v-22’s wisely to quickly take whatever beach they want and then quickly re-enforce the beachhead with lcacs. With heliborne assault you can pick the landing place of your choice and kick in the door that way.

    • tiger

      1. The AAV7’s are old, worn out from use & lack the speed & range the Marines were looking for. Nor is it a IFV. IT is a APC that floats. Air gets you inland, but can not carry heavy vehicles.

    • Amtracker

      it is possible to upgrade the turret. There is a more “modernized” non coax .50cal/40mm turret w/ an NSN that exists in the DOD inventory. Unfortunately, it is only more modern than the current turret and it will increase the load on the electrical system to the limits of the vehicle’s current capabilties. To mitigate this the generator, alternator etc would need to be upgraded. There is also an upgraded remote 25 or 30mm turret that latches onto the top of the vehicle. Not sure if it prevents opening the top hatches but I assume it will max out the electrical system as well. So yes, you can upgrade the current turret but at the expense of having to upgrade other systems to support the new system.

  • S O

    To everybody here who admires or defends the USMC:

    Their string of programs to develop huge lookalike amphibious tracked APC/IFV things actually goes back to 1973, the year after AAV-7 entered service.

    Here’s a ’78 document about LV/A:

    This racket is even worse than the MV-22 story. The USMC is terminally incompetent in big ticket development programs.

    • tmb2

      Then they’re in good company. USAF, USN, and USMC are building an airplane that is nearly double original cost estimates; USAF, USN, and USA have spent a few billion on uniforms that don’t camouflage you from anything, it took the USAF over a decade to get a new tanker which is based on an existing plane, USN wanted to build 55 ships that now they’re not sure what they’ll even be used for yet they’re still going to build 32, the USA spent 20 years designing the Bradley because they wanted it to do a little bit of everything and so far has spent tens of billions in failed attempts to replace it. The list goes on and nobody is special.

      • chaos0xomega

        Yeah, I think the USMC is over-rated and redundant too, but this isn’t one of those areas where thats the case, considering how much more R&D work the other branches do, and how regularly they screw it up.

        • Dfens

          They all pay more for failure, so it’s no surprise when they all get the same result.

  • Drt

    I’ve never been in the military and know nothing. That said I know about developing things that didn’t exist before. Take an engineering estimate of time and money on any new project. My rule of thumb is triple it. Boeing, the premier builder of passenger jets was how many years late? 4 or 5 years. You are trying to get a few years ahead of “current” because it takes 3-5 years to get to market. Then you’re behind already and it has to last 25 years. So quit bad mouthing Marines. How much should “research” cost? Imagine trying to test an airplane without an engine? Test a car without wheels. Development is expensive because testing can’t done until the components are assembled. The integration of electro-mechanical devices is challenging. Theory is great but not real world. You don’t just flip a switch and turn on a brushless DC motor. You have to have motor controllers. Isn’t it better we spend our taxpayer dollars on developing and maintaining our technological and manufacturing capabilities? Military programs fund PHds, engineers, material specialists, blue collar machinists, coders, mechanics, and thousands of other specialties. It funds colleges, through research, it employs our young and our old. Compare that to building a damn road where a few low skilled illegal immigrants push around millions of pounds of rocks, aggregates. I’ll put my money in the Military Always!! Same with the space program. So stop being ignorant and read something. I recommend Milton Friedman as a good start to understanding economics moving on through to data posted on FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data.

    • oblatt22

      Every American should read this to understand why the Chinese economy is leaping ahead. Incompetence has been accepted and institutionalized in America.

      • Dfens

        Incompetence at our expense. Don’t forget that part. And don’t forget the part where the leaders of these incompetent companies make billions of dollars for their mistakes, taking our money from us at the point of the federal government’s guns. But hell, just because it is our money and just because this is supposed to be a republic, apparently that doesn’t give us any right to question how the money is spent. We need to leave that to the obviously thoroughly (in)competent hands of, in this case, the Marines.

        • SteveInFL

          Yes we should listen to the people who hate the military and probably America too

      • SteveInFL

        Or could it be that China pretty much uses their population as near slave labor?

  • PFC Smuckatelli

    Meanwhile at 2nd tracks were all living in the field.. Train train to be disband, yatyas

  • chip

    before buying new equipments, especially for european forces, may be useful to understand in the long future what kind of WWIII will engage the players. who will fight who? and why? where? Once we know why, who, where, about the future war, it’s possibile to suppose what kind of objectives aggressors will look for? what kind of equipments will they need to get the victory?. On comparing now and tomorrow, it’s possibile to understand what kind of capabilities do they need in the future? How many time do they need to get them? When WWIII will explode?! So at the end of the long analisys, it could also appear a big surprise, for example it may happen no future amphibius operations will engage any forces in one kind of WWIII.

    • blight_

      It is safest to assume that everything that was used in the past, until disproven as irrelevant, may be used in the future. We have been burned before by assuming that today’s equipment will always be usable in the long term, without thinking about how the paradigms of war may have changed. It is also easy to assume that “technology changes everything” and thus old ways of doing business are completely irrelevant.

      For instance it is safe to assume that we will have to occupy territory long after dispersing a nation’s army into dust. Therefore, COIN isn’t going anywhere, and nation-state warfare isn’t going anywhere. However we aren’t always the best at balancing two skillsets at opposite spectrum of firepower. COIN places strong requirements on accurately picking off individuals or cells with minimum collateral damage, and having the intelligence capability to assess very large populations to detect small cells or connected cells. For nation-state combat, the intelligence collection is targeted to governments and very overt, hierarchical organizations and not necessarily individuals, and the firepower requirements are to destroy armored vehicles and large collections of opposed elements.

  • Cpl. Big T

    Why not ask the guys who operate the pig, on a daily basis, what would you like?, what don’t you like?, what would you change? It just floors me that the guys at the top, know what are the best options for a vehicle that they have never had any experience with.

    That being said, I volunteer at least two weeks of my time to General Amos and the Marine Corps to come up with a revamped AAV for the next decade. I know that it has been 6 years since I have touched a gator, but I know everything about it, just like it was yesterday.

    The Mk-19 has got to go. The idea was novel, but not practical. The turret would be more useful as dual 50’s. We would be tickled if we could get some type of gatlin gun type of weapon and/or cannon.

    For water speed, double the impellers and make the engine stronger.

    Those are a few of many changes that we would want.

    Any tracker would agree that she is old. She has done more than she has been asked to do. We never asked for anything new, we just need upgrades to keep up with the times and technology. The platform itself is fine, there is no need to scrap it. It will be cheaper to build off of it.

    To the guy complaining about 3 billion dollars “wasted”, you are crying over 3 billion, not trillion. Government waste has been an issue since the beginning, so crying about it will get you nowhere. I look at it as a 3 billion dollar education, we learned just another way not to do something.

    Semper Fidelis from the Amtrack God

    • Dfens

      Screw you. You don’t get to waste MY MONEY and then tell me, “it was only $3 billion”. Who the f are you to tell me that?

      • Cpl. Big T

        I bet you cry a lot, from the sound of it. You pay barely anything toward federal taxes and you will never dictate where any of it goes. So, If you want to throw a pity party over something you can’t control, seek therapy.

        At least with my posts, I try to throw out good ideas verses being another heinous member of the peanut gallery.

        If you can’t stand with the troops, we welcome you to stand in front of us.

        • Dfens

          Genius ideas like, “it’s only $3 billion”? If that’s what “standing with the troops” is all about, then it’s about damn time we hired some troops WITH BRAINS!

      • Cpl. Big T

        I bet you cry a lot, from the sound of it. You pay barely anything toward federal taxes and you will never dictate where any of it goes. So, If you want to throw a pity party over something you can’t control, seek therapy.

        At least with my posts, I try to throw out good ideas verses being another member of the peanut gallery.

        If you can’t stand with the troops, we welcome you to stand in front of us.

      • Drt

        As I said before. Who are these geniuses you speak of that know the future, know the requirements, know what technology will be developed? I agree, we must be every vigilant about waste, but getting something “wrong” isn’t always “incompetence or waste”. It’s the inability to see the future!! Cpl Bit T has it correct, it’s only $3B!! And it’s not all waste. New technologies are challenging. Again I want to make the point that I’d rather spend 3 trillion on improving military hardware than buying Obama phones. Or building chevy volts. All that wasted money went to good hard working americans (hopefully). China is accelerating. Sure. I’ve been to China and you get to ride a bicycle to work, work like a dog in a polluted factory, wait 5 years for an apartment. China just landed a rover on the moon. Doesn’t work. The US did it 45 years ago and landed astronauts with its rover. Then brought them back. China has had all these years to copy our technology, has stolen the f-35 data, can work an aircraft carrier. Yes, they are up and coming while we spend our money on welfare instead of industrial output. You’re hearts in the right place but the picture is much bigger. Get 5 people on this thread to agree on the what the Marines need and I’ll be impressed. it’s tough. Couldn’t hellfire missiles know out tanks swimming around in the water? I don’t know. Put a battle ship on track and roll it onto the beach with 16″ guns. Let me be clear. Waste is bad. Development is hard and not always fruitful. The corporations are not all evil and I’d rather pay my money for the military, which is a Constitutionally mandated activity than give it to egypt.

    • blight_

      With that attitude the pennies start adding up to dollars, and the dollars add up to…

      That said, water speed and the desire to maximize internal space is what killed the EFV. If we are canning amphibiousness for the time being we might as well give the Marines Bradleys to put in their LCAC’s.

      • Dfens

        Nothing has “killed” what never existed. Research continues. The article said so. This program is about one thing and one thing only, routing the US taxpayer’s money to General Dynamic’s pockets. It will continue that process until the taxpayer’s finally get tired of being fleeced.

    • amtracker

      additional upgrades available:
      new turret exists with an NSN using 40mm/.50cal.
      another remote turret exists with 25 or 30mm capability.
      new engines, generators, transmissions etc exist as well.
      better ammo can be used to increase lethality of the turret.

      JUST REMEMBER for everyday you extend the life of the current vehicle you are pushing back the need for a replacement vehicle.

  • chaos0xomega

    Was hoping this was an indication that they would be moving back to riverines/shallow-draft fastboats… they have the advantage of being faster and having longer range, still being able to provide serious firepower to a beach landing, -and- best of all, they aren’t limited to inserting along a shoreline, as they can penetrate into inland waterways to strike vital (and less protected) locations deep behind enemy lines. Yes, you do lose the benefit of APC’s once they hit the ground, but I imagine if you build some slightly larger boats you could just as easily strap a Stryker, LAV, or what-have-you to it and then disembark it close to shore.

    And then there are LCAC’s…

  • Charles

    Joint High Speed Vehicles (JHSV), aren’t to my recollection built to military standards.

    From what I recall, they are basically civilian designs that were beefed up some, and are intended for inter-theater transport.

    Not exactly what I’d be thinking of using for a contested landing…

  • Kostas

    It is disappointing that in 2014, the USMC is still considering some outdated designs. These designs are overqualified for a low threat environment where LCACs carrying conventional MBTs and APCs would do the work much better. On the other hand there is no way these vehicles would survive in a real high threat environment. So what is the point of spending money on them?

  • Cpl. Big T

    To PFC Smuckatelli, keep your head up. When I was in Amtrack school out at Del Mar, the AAAV program was in the works. They had working prototypes that they tested in the jetty there. They were no doubt fast and cool. Two main problems with them off of the bat was they relied on computers too much and had too much hydraulics. The hydraulics was being ran at dangerously high levels and always broke down. I thought that the AAV was going to go away as well, but it didn’t. So get to know your war hog and know it well. It will give you as much as you put into it.

    The Corps is slow to change. 2nd Tracks, tip of the spear. Remember that it can always get worse, time is relative, and live by the 14 leadership traits (JJDIDTIEBUCKLE).

  • Tracked vehicles have their place, but ever since the second world war it was clear, tracks do not work for everything.
    Speed is more important now than ever.
    Vietnam was a classic example, the Tet offensive overtaxed the US logistics ability, leaving a gap in supplies.
    Once they were able to capture the rear, they simply took what they wanted, mostly US field radios, and took over.
    The Marines did an outstanding job as did everyone else, but this was the beginning of the end.
    Speed in battle can make or break.

    • Tet left a gap in supplies? Evidence? How is that relevant?

      You do realize we won Tet? We kicked the crap out of the NVA and the VC ceased to be a viable force. The North was unable to hold on to any of its objectives and failed to incite a popular rebellion.

      The only victory they had was in public opinion and the revisionist history that portrays Tet as a loss.

    • tmb2

      Cow Thief, the VC and NVA units that took part in Tet only captured a few of their objectives (there were hundreds) and even then only held them for a few short weeks. They lost nearly 100,000 troops from the offensive. By the summer of 1968 the VC was irrelevant as a fighting force until we left. What does your perceived supply gap have to do with Tet? And what does that have to do with a new amphib vehicle?

  • Only if there are better plans in place so Marines have the tool to get the job done. What are the cost of life insurance of marines I had 2million at E-4 1993.

    • Cpl. Big T

      Standard was 400k. I left active duty in 08. Rank had no matter in the amount you received.

  • WBR

    It’s time to get rid of Amos and put someone else in the drivers seat.

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  • Thanks for finally talking about >Marine Corps Scraps Tracks for Amphibious Combat Vehicle | Defense Tech