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Polmar's Perspective

LCS Near Selection

Monday, September 21st, 2009

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In an attempt to bring order to the Navys problem-plagued littoral combat ship (LCS) program, the Navy has announced that it will “down select” a winner from the two LCS designs.  The selection, in fiscal year 2010, will determine which design and hence which firms will be responsible for the construction of a planned 51 additional frigate-size warships.

The LCS designs provide for a “seaframe” platform that can be fitted with modular mission “packages.”  The current packages are for anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, and anti-surface craft. The packages would be shifted from ship to ship as necessary.  Another set of modules is being contemplated; among the set are one to support special forces operations, a naval fire support module, and a medical-disaster relief module.

The first ship, the Lockheed Martin Freedom (LCS 1) built at Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, has been commissioned and the second, the General Dynamics Independence (LCS 2), is being fitted out at Mobile, Alabama.  Each LCS team was been awarded a contract for a second ship. 

The Navy had earlier cancelled contracts for the LCS 3 and 4 because of massive cost overruns and program delays with both designs.  The Navys original goal of $220 million per shipwithout modular packageshas at least tripled.  And, both designs are several years behind schedule.

Down-selecting to one design for the additional ships of a planned 55-ship program will be difficult and could be politically explosive.  At down select, a single prime contractor and shipyard will be awarded a fixed-price incentive contract for up to ten ships with two ships in fiscal 2010 and options through fiscal 2014. 

The LCS 1 has not yet been fully tested and is several months from her first operational deployment while the LCS 2 at this writing has yet to complete her builder’s trials. Some observers believe that the selection decision will be “obvious” — the LCS 2, with a trimaran hull design, is much more complex and cost more than the LCS 1, a current estimate of more than $700 million compared to an estimate of $640 million for the LCS 1.  Further, the LCS 2 has an aluminum hull and superstructure that some marine architects feel will not withstand open-ocean transits and high-speed operations as well as the steel-hull LCS 1 design.

The Navys announcement on 16 September of the down-select quoted Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus: “LCS is vital to our Navy’s future.  It must succeed.”

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Russian Defense Industry in Crisis

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

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The Russian defense industry may not have long to survive. Long the provider of massive amounts of weapons to the Soviet armed forces and those of satellite nations and much of the Third World, today some experts believe that only a massive infusion of funds from the Russian government can save the industry.

Further, the best showcase for new Russian aerospace products has fizzled. Writing for the Military Periscope online database, Russian expert Reuben F. Johnson reported on the recent Russian aerospace exhibit (MAKS 2009) in the Moscow suburb of Zhukovsky:

The ever-multiplying layers of security and clearance procedures that the Russian government now requires of its contractors helped to generate a largely disappointing event. Various Russian industry representatives had been talking for six months or more about 20 new
weapon systems and other innovations that would appear at MAKS.

None saw the light of day.

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DDG 1000: On Target

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

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Amidst the Navy’s leadership attempt to explain — some would say rationalize — the massive cost increases and delays in several major shipbuilding programs, the Zumwalt (DDG 1000) program appears to be on cost and on schedule. Writing in Navy Times, Christopher P. Cavas observes, “Often overlooked in all the chatter is that, methodically, steadily — and even quietly — major components of the first ship are taking shape all across the country. When ready, the parts will be shipped largely by barge and rail to the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard at Bath, Maine, where, since February, shipbuilders are welding together the steel that make up the ship’s 600-foot-long hull.“

Cavas interviewed DDG 1000 project manager Captain James Syring for his 17 August article, who ticked off progress on 13 major engineering development models critical to the DDG 1000, all but three of which have begun production. The status of these projects are highly significant because the DDG 1000 introduces many new systems to the fleet.

For example, development is complete on the ship’s 155-mm Advanced Gun System (AGS), which will be the largest shipboard gun in the fleet. Each DDG 1000 will have two of these weapons, developed by BAE Systems, which will fire Lockheed Martin’s Long-Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP). That “bullet” has a range goal of 83 nautical miles and a rate of fire of ten rounds-per-minute. The 155-mm gun weapon will partially compensate for the Navy’s ignoring the surface fire support requirements. Cavas reported that in July the LRLAP was fired at a White Sands, New Mexico, test range to its threshold range of 63 nautical miles; further “tweaking” of the rocket motor’s chemistry should push the shell ten miles farther, Syring said.

Another innovative feature of the DDG 1000 will be the Peripheral Vertical Launch System (PVLS), now in production at Raytheon, and seven of eight Peripheral VLS modules are being welded together at Bath. The PVLS replaces the Mark 41 VLS systems now found in U.S. missile-armed cruisers and destroyers. The Mark 41 has 25-inch VLS canisters while the PVLS will have 28-inch canisters that could permit the development of larger weapons for the DDG 1000. Reportedly, the PVLS also provides enhanced survivability against a missile hit.

A third innovative feature of the DDG 1000 will be its radar/computer capabilities. The ship will introduce the AN/SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar (MFR) and the AN/SPY-4 Volume Search Radar (VSR), combined with the dual-band radar, the effort led by prime contractor Raytheon. The radars have been installed together since January 2009 at the Wallops Island Engineering Center on the Virginia coast. Cavas quoted Syring saying that the SPY-3, an X-band radar, completed at-sea testing in the spring of 2008 off the California coast aboard the test ship Paul F. Foster (DD 964). The first two SPY-3 arrays for the DDG 1000 are being assembled; “Minor production issues” on the MFR have been worked through, Syring said. “We’ve had no operational issues.” The SPY-4, an S-band radar, developed by Lockheed, is in production, and six arrays — for the Zumwalt and also for the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) — are under contract.

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A Threat to America… or?

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

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Two Russian nuclear-propelled attack submarines have appeared off the U.S. East Coast.  American newspapers and blogs have announced the deployment with headlines that ran from the words threat to ho, hum.  A few have even asked is this a return to the Cold War confrontations?

The answer to the last is absolutely not.  The Cold War was an in-your-face confrontation between two super powersthe United States and the Soviet Union.  Both had nuclear strike forces that could absorb a surprise attack by their opponent and still devastate the otherand most likely the rest of the world as well.
 
Today there is but one super power: the United States.  While perhaps half of the 14 U.S. Trident strategic missile submarines (SSBN) are at sea at any given time, Russia has been unable to keep a single SSBN on continuous patrol.  And, while the two Akula-class submarines (Russian designations Bars and Project 971) that were patrolling off the East Coast may be armed with land-attack cruise missiles in addition to torpedoes, the threat from such craft at this time is negligible.  Indeed, except for SSBNs no U.S. and probably no Russian warships have nuclear weapons on board.

The two Akula-class submarines apparently remained more than 200 miles from the coast.  And, one of them is reported to have continued southward to Cuba for a port visit.  The 200-mile distance may be significant as naval ships can legally operate to within 12 miles of another nations coastline in peacetime.  But the Chinese government has recently implied that it claims the 200-mile Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) as its territorial waters.  That action followed Chinese attempts to stop U.S. Navy surveying and bottom-mapping operations in international waters but less than 200 miles off the Chinese coast.  Could the Russian submarine operation be intended to support this claim by remaining that distance off the U.S. coast?  During the Cold War there were periodic incursions by Soviet submarines and, on occasion, intelligence collection ships much closer to the American coasts.

Meanwhile, the two-sub operation follows last winters deployment of small Russian task groups to the Caribbean and to the Mediterranean.  The Caribbean group was led by the nuclear-propelled cruiser Petr Velikiy (Peter the Great), with a displacement of 28,000 tons full load this is the worlds largest warship except for aircraft carriers.  The warship made a port call in Venezuela in conjunction with the Russian presidents visit to that country.  Also last winter, Russias only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, operated in the Mediterranean.

These warship deploymentsincluding the two Akula submarines off the U.S. East Coastalong with numerous Russian long-range aircraft flights off the coasts of Alaska, Great Britain, and other areas are intended primarily to demonstrate that Russia is still a world power, albeit not a super power, and that it can project some military capability into forward areas. 

But the naval deployments also appear to be a means for the Russian Navys leadership to argue for more funds for warship construction and maintenance.  Since the end of the Cold War, marked by the fall of the Soviet regime in December 1991, the Russian Navy has deteriorated rapidly in both size and operational capabilities.  At the same time, new ship construction and weapons production have lagged far, far behind plans.

Apparently, the Russian naval leaders hope that these long-range operations, to areas where Russian military aircraft and ground forces cannot go, will confirm their claims of the significance of modern naval forces to support national political-economicas well as war-fightinginterests.  Such recognition could bring additional funds for naval ship construction and force modernization.

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‘Cross Strait’ Relations Changing

Friday, July 17th, 2009

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Despite recent at-sea incidents off the coast of China — such as Chinese harassment of the U.S. research ships Impeccable (T-AGOS 23) and Victorious (T-AGOS 19), and alarmist press coverage of the Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile effort — the probability of conflict involving China is decreasing rapidly. The threat of a Chinese assault against the island of Taiwan, some 100 miles offshore, has long been considered a threat that could ignite a major conflict in the Western Pacific.

With little fanfare, a passenger-cargo ship departed the Chinese mainland from the port of Mawei in Fujian Province on 13 July bound directly for Taiwan. The voyage — of approximately ten hours — marked the inauguration of regular merchant ship service between the “two Chinas.” On board the New Golden Bridge II were 630 passengers plus cargo bound for “Nationalist China.“

The voyage follows the mutual approval last December of direct air transport and postal services between China and Taiwan. These exchanges come as Taiwanese businessmen are investing large amounts in various mainland businesses and corporations. 

The government in Beijing has claimed Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s communist forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist regime fled to Taiwan. China has long vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary, with the island being considered a province of the mainland.  In the 1950s there were threats by the Nationalist regime to invade the mainland to defeat the communists, and by Beijing to assault and conquer Taiwan. Conflict, however, was limited to islands off the mainland coast, and some air engagements between Taiwanese and Chinese aircraft.

Today there are rumors that “cross strait” political and possibly even military talks will occur soon. However, earlier in July, Taiwan’s senior China policy coordinator, Ms. Lai Shin-yuan, chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), said while in New York that “Taiwan has no timetable” for starting political talks with China.   The MAC coordinates Taiwan’s policy toward China.

Ms. Lai continued, “Conditions for the leaderships of the two sides to talk about political issues have not yet matured and we are in no hurry for that.”  Meanwhile, officials from Taiwan and China have engaged in talks during the past year through the auspices of the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits. 

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A New ‘Submarine’ Threat?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

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The increased use of semi-submersibles to bring drugs into the United States has raised the specter of similar craft being employed to transport terrorists, explosives, and elicit funds into the country. But the likelihood of terrorists going that route is extremely unlikely.

Writing in The Washington Post (6 June), William Booth and Juan Forero said, “U.S. law enforcement officials say that more than a third of the cocaine smuggled into the United States from Colombia travels in submersibles.” These craft, manned by a crew of four or five, and carrying up to ten tons of cocaine, are being produced in the jungles of Colombia. They transit with their decks awash or just below the surface, employing snorkel-like tubes for air for the crew and the diesel engines.  Habitability is spartan, with simple bunks and stocks of food being provided. There are no sanitary facilities.

Employing GPS for navigation, the craft sail northward-up to 3,000 miles-to rendezvous points off of the Central American coast to transfer their cargo to fishing craft or pleasure boats, which will bring the drugs into the United States. Radios are provided, but are used infrequently and then for brief, coded transmissions. There are reports that unmanned, radio-controlled craft of this type are under development for use in cocaine smuggling.

Up to 100 of these craft may have departed Colombian waters in 2008; about ten percent of the known or suspected semi-submersibles were intercepted that year. Some of their successes may have been due to being escorted by counter-surveillance vessels-fishing boats that sail with them to provide warning of the approach of U.S. or other search ships or aircraft. Upon warning the semi-submersible will stop its engine and drift noiselessly until the danger is past.

The construction of the semi-submersibles — which are built in ones or twos at specific sites — are changed after use to avoid detection and are relatively expensive to build. Estimates are about one to two million dollars for construction of a semi-submersible and to pay the crew.

Writing in the Naval Institute Proceedings (October 2008), Navy Captain Wade F. Wilkenson observed:

Experts conservatively estimate that each [semi-submersible] costs roughly $1 to $2 million to build, equip, and crew, so a ten-metric ton [craft],   fully loaded, is a $20 million investment. Deploy five vessels at a combined total lay out of $100 million, successfully deliver one, and you double your investment. Having all five successfully reach their destination nets a nine-fold return on investment.     

Yet, despite the success of these craft in smuggling drugs into the United States, there is little likelihood that they will be used for terrorist activities. Terrorist organizations do not appear to have the funds to construct such craft. Faced with the increasing probability of detection or even accidental loss in rough seas, would such organizations be willing to risk carrying funds or operatives in semi-submersibles?

And, people or explosives that are sent by semi-submersible must first be transported to Colombia or another starting point in South America. Also, arrangements must be made to procure the semi-submersible and man it, and then to arrange transfer to another craft for the run into the United States, and possibly arranging for an escort vessel for the semi-submersible. All of these actions would involve contacts with non-terrorist individuals, increasing the likelihood of a “leak” and possibly even blackmail in an effort to obtain more money from the terrorists for the arrangements even after a contract was made.

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John Lehman’s Solution

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

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John Lehman, Secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987, has addressed “What the Navy Should Look Like” in response to the service’s current array of problems. Under Lehman’s guidance in the 1980s, the Navy almost reached his goal of 600 active ships, including 15 aircraft carriers and four battleships. He rejuvenated Marine aviation with both the F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier, and provided modern aircraft and ships for the Naval Reserve.

Speaking at a Hudson Institute conference in Washington, D.C. that addressed Navy shipbuilding problems, Secretary Lehman called for a three-phase program to rebuild the Navy, maximize its capabilities, and boost its image.

First, the Navy “should look the same to everyone,” according to Lehman. He explained that everyone should realize that the U.S. Navy “can visit unacceptable violence from the seas.” That image should comfort actual and potential friends, and should intimidate and restrain actual and potential enemies.

As Lehman has indicated in the past, naval forces provide persistent presence, for sustained periods, without the need for overflight rights or foreign bases. This is in sharp contrast to those who propose “virtual presence” by long-range aircraft or missiles based in the United States.

Rating the Navy’s capabilities, Lehman gives the service high marks for strategic deterrence (i.e., Trident missile submarines). But at lower levels of warfighting, there are “lots of holes,” and “this is inviting potential enemies to move into the vacuum.“

Second, the former Secretary of the Navy called for “competence” in U.S. military and naval, strategy, and in developing and building ships, aircraft, and weapons. Problems in Navy hardware programs, he contends, are due to a lack of competence among program managers and engineers. “The Navy looks incompetent managing (its) resources,” he said. Lehman, however, is quick to point out that the other military services are worse.

The Navy should return to “simple line management and accountability,” cutting out layers of bureaucracy. And, he said, the service should concentrate on cost analysis and engineering, not sexual harassment counseling.

Third, Secretary Lehman believes that the Navy must (again) become an “elite organization.” It must be viewed as a glamorous service — “a calling,” and not simply a trade. The Navy must attract interesting and creative people. 

In discussing the reasons this is not now being done, he cited the many uniform issues that have brought criticism from Navy enlisted personnel.  Lehman was stronger in his criticism of the Goldwater-Nichols legislation that forces officers to have “joint” duty before they can screen for command. This takes them away from important assignments and experience, and it adds to “the constant bureaucratic growth” by increasing shore staffs.

In addressing fleet size — the principal subject of the Hudson conference — Lehman said, “Numbers do count,” and called for a fleet of 350 ships. This, he said, is the minimum needed to carry out the current and predicted Navy missions. But he believes that there will be continuing fleet reductions unless the Navy can develop a realistic shipbuilding strategy as a starting point.

– Norman Polmar

Shipbuilding Program is a Mess

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

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The Navy’s shipbuilding program is a mess. That was the consensus of several highly qualified speakers at a recent Washington seminar sponsored by the Hudson Institute. And, it was agreed, the current Navy and congressional efforts will not rectify the situation.

The fiscal year 2010 program recently presented to Congress calls for $14.9 billion in shipbuilding funds for eight ships:

1 SSN attack submarine
1 DDG Arleigh Burke–class destroyer (a restart of that program)
3 LCS littoral combat ships
2 T-AKE replenishment ships
1 HSV high-speed vessel

With a planned average ship service life of 30 years, this building rate would sustain a fleet of 240 ships. This is less than the Navy’s current 283 ships and far short of the long-standing Navy “requirement” for 313 ships.

The distinguished speakers at the Hudson conference on 22 May made it clear that without a massive increase in shipbuilding funds a larger fleet was not achievable. Dr. Eric Labs, senior naval analyst at the Congressional Budget Office said that about $25 billion per year for new ships is needed to reach the Navy’s goal.

Now is the time for “hard choices,” Labs said. We “cannot fix problems with simple measures.”  He observed that the ship procurement dollars being discussed do not include a new class of ballistic missile defense cruisers, and “it is not unreasonable” for those ships — now designated CG(X) or, if nuclear propelled, CG(X)N, to cost $6 to $7 billion per ship.

Former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, under whose direction the U.S. fleet had reached almost 600 ships in the 1980s, outlined a “new look” for the Navy (which will be discussed in a future commentary). With respect to shipbuilding problems, Lehman blamed the constant bureaucratic growth of the Defense Department, including the Naval Sea Systems Command, and the lack of “line decision makers” — people who have the authority and responsibility to make key decisions. Only then can the continual flow of changes be made in ship requirements and construction be halted.

Lehman called for “freezing” designs and making only “block” changes in new construction programs.

Congressman Joe Sestak, a retired vice admiral, believes that the Navy could carry out its missions with a 240– to 260-ship fleet if “we bought cyberspace.” Calling for the development of methods for tracking every surface ship — both military and commercial, an expansion of the Automated Identification System (AIS) now used for large merchant ships — and for the continuous location of submarines, he said that such information could reduce the U.S. Navy’s ship requirements. 

Still, “owning” cyberspace would be expensive. And, the only way to undertake such an achievement would be to remove “cyber war” operations from the service budgets and consolidate the effort under a Department of Defense executive, according to Sestak. 

A consensus of the presentations and the questions and comments from the audience included the following points:

The Navy’s flip-flops on the Zumwalt (DDG 1000) and Burke (DDG 51) programs have hurt the Navy’s image and credibility of its shipbuilding program.
The Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan, required by Congress, is unrealistic and of little value.
Poor management of the Navy’s shipbuilding efforts have resulted in ship delays and cost overruns
The Navy has failed to effectively “sell” itself as a key factor in America’s political-military effectiveness, in part because of the above factors
Ship numbers do count and the controversial littoral combat ship (LCS) is the Navy’s only hope for increasing fleet size.
The Navy’s leadership can fix the procurement mess, but must take bold and innovative action, including demanding firm fixed-price contracts and the use of second-tier shipyards and contractors to spark competition.

– Norman Polmar

China’s ‘Increasing Naval Threat’ Overstated

Monday, April 27th, 2009

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China’s Navy — officially the Peoples Liberation Army’s Navy — held an impressive naval review in the historic port city of Qingdao on 23 April, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PLA Navy. By any criteria, the event was a great success. Beyond a Chinese contingent of 2 nuclear and 2 diesel-electric submarines, 5 missile destroyers, and 6 frigates, there were 21 ships representing 14 other nations at the review. The U.S. Navy’s contribution to the anniversary celebration was the Aegis missile destroyer Fitzgerald (DDG 62).

By the criteria of many American newspapers and, of course, bloggers, the event revealed the increasing “threat” to Western interests from China’s Navy. Indeed, a Time magazine blog showed an Associated Press (AP) photo of a Chinese warship with the caption, “A Chinese navy soldier guards on a battleship at Quingdao port…” The photo, however, shows what is probably a frigate. China does not have any battleships; nor does any other nation.

Other articles — some citing official Chinese statements indicating that aircraft carriers will be constructed “in the future” — tell how the Chinese Navy is about to overtake the U.S. Navy, although by which measures is usually ignored. Indeed, one AP article declares that Chinese nuclear-propelled submarines “are considered just a notch below cutting-edge U.S. and Russian craft.“

Reality is quite different. First, simplistic numerical comparisons are too often misleading. But quantity does provide a quality. For example:

  • Nuclear aircraft carriers (CVN)
    U.S. = 11 China = 0
  • VSTOL/helicopter carriers (LHA/LHD)
    U.S. = 11 China = 0
  • Guided missile cruisers (CG)
    U.S. = 22 China = 0
  • Destroyers (DDG/DD)
    U.S. = 60 China = 27
  • Frigates (FF/FFG)
    U.S. = 30 China = 48
  • Ballistic missile submarines (nuclear)(SSBN)
    U.S. = 14 China = 3
  • Attack/cruiser missile submarines (nuclear)
    (SSN/SSGN)
    U.S. = 57 China = 6
  • Attack submarine (non-nuclear) (SS/SSK)
    U.S. = 0 China = 55

Second, numbers alone to not convey an adequate comparison. For example, each U.S. CVN-type carrier can operate 60 or more high-performance aircraft. All U.S. cruisers and destroyers have the Aegis advanced radar/fire control system; only a few Chinese ships have the equivalent. Similarly, all U.S. cruisers and destroyers have vertical-launch systems for firing long-range Tomahawk strike (land-attack) missiles as well as surface-to-air missiles. The Chinese have no ship-launched strike weapons and their surface-to-air missiles are inferior.

Further, there is no public evidence that the Chinese SSBNs have an operational missile, and none is known to have undertaken a long-range patrol. No long-range patrols have been reported of nuclear torpedo-attack submarines (SSN), and relatively few are made by diesel-electric undersea craft.

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Gates Opaque on EFV Call

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

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One of the decisions not yet made by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is the future of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), the new “amtrac” being developed for the Marine Corps. The EFV program was initiated in 1996 as a “high-speed” combat vehicle to carry Marines from amphibious ships offshore to the beach and, once ashore, operate as an armored personnel carrier.

But speaking at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, on 17 April, Secretary Gates said, “[W]e have to take a hard look at where it would be necessary or sensible to launch another major amphibious action again. In the 21st century, how much amphibious capability do we need?” The U.S. Marine Corps has not made an opposed amphibious assault in more than half a century — since the landing at Inchon, Korea, in the fall of 1950.

The Marine Corps has operated “amtracs” — amphibious tractors — since 1942. Production and the introduction of new types of LVTs for landing vehicles, tracked (with those mounting heavy guns called LVT(A) for “armored”) continued, with the last model being the LVTP-7 (the “P” for personnel), introduced in 1967. The designation was changed to Assault Amphibian Vehicle (AAV-7) and when its successor was initiated it was designated as the Advanced AAV. On 10 September 2003, the planned AAAV was changed to EFV, according to the official Marine Corps web site, “in keeping with the U.S. Marine Corps cultural shift from a 20th century force defined by amphibious operations to a 21st Century force focusing on a broadened range of employment concepts and possibilities across a spectrum of conflict.“

While the gobbledygook explains little, the Marine leadership continues to give the EFV a high priority, saying that it is vital to provide an amphibious capability into the 21st Century. As recently as 12 March of this year, Lieutenant General George J. Flynn, the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, wrote that, “This nation requires the ability to rapidly project combat power ashore from U.S. Navy ships to ensure our security against international threats. The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle remains a vital capability to accomplish that amphibious mission and is the commandant’s top ground combat priority.“

But after more than a decade of development and the expenditure of many millions of dollars, the prime contractor, General Dynamics, has not yet produced an operational vehicle. The principal difficulty is in making the EFV a high-speed water vehicle, that is capable of traveling from ship to shore at just under 30 m.p.h., and upon climbing onto the beach become an armored fighting vehicle, capable of 45 m.p.h. speeds on good roads.

It has a complex configuration to achieve those speeds in water and to then “transform” into a land vehicle. The vehicle’s diesel engine produces 850 horsepower through a complex transmission in land mode and an impressive 2,700 horsepower through twin pump-jets in the water mode.

The EFV is intended to carry 17 combat-laden Marines and is operated by a crew of three. It would be armed with a 30-mm Bushmaster II M242 cannon and a 7.62-mm M240 machine gun.

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