Cancel Marines’ EFV Already: Analysts

Cancel Marines’ EFV Already: Analysts

The Obama administration will inherit a broken defense portfolio, the result, Anthony Cordesman recently wrote, of years of “mismanagement… incoherent force plans and unrealistic budgets.” Some programs are likely to be curtailed or cut altogether. A number of analysts have recently said the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle should be near the top of the chop list.

For twenty years the Marine Corps has been developing the EFV, an amphibious assault vehicle to replace its ageing AAV-7A1 vehicles. The Marine Corps intends to buy 573 of the new vehicles at a cost of $14 billion, or about $22 million a copy. The EFV is supposed to launch from ship up to 75 miles off shore and then race to the beach at 25 knots by going up on plane on the water like a “go fast” boat, all the while carrying 17 Marines. Once ashore, the vehicle would have mobility and firepower similar to the Army’s Bradley fighting vehicle, with a slightly larger 30mm auto-cannon.

The EFV is a key component of the Marine Corps amphibious assault doctrine, “Operational Maneuver from the Sea,” intended to restore maneuver warfare to the battlefield by exploiting vast ocean spaces and off-shore “seabases.” Instead of the classic “Tarawa style” amphibious assault with lengthy shore bombardment and predictable landing spots, Marines would present an opponent with multiple locations along a coastline where they could land with their speedy EFVs and then maneuver onshore with speed and agility.

The EFV program has been beset with cost overruns and reliability issues. The EFV can only reach high speed across optimal glass like water skiing conditions. The EFV prototypes are “only going between 4 and 10 hours before breaking down,” said House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Gene Taylor.

The biggest problem for the Marines and the EFV is that the development of potential threats, both off-shore and on land, have outpaced EFV development over the past two decades. As CSBA’s Dakota Wood points out in a report (.pdf) on crafting a future Marine force released last week, a growing challenge to any vessels operating off hostile shores is the increased range, speed and precision of anti-ship missiles, which means the littorals are becoming a hotly contested zone and the contest favors the shore based defender. “Some anti-ship missiles currently in use by China and other nations can range out to 200+ km (125 miles) with closure speeds of Mach 2.0 or more.” Ships operating close to shore would also be vulnerable to stealthy diesel electric submarines, Wood says.

The EFV was designed to cut transit time from ship-to-shore to under an hour or less at 25 nautical miles. With the proliferation of modern anti-ship missiles, that 25 mile gap has been “upended” by three or four times that distance, Wood says. “The investment that was put into creating a vehicle that can go up on plane has been overcome by the at sea threat and then when it gets ashore its completely ill-suited to anti-armor guided munitions found ashore,” he said at a conference in Washington, DC last week.

This was a point RAND’s David Johnson made recently in an interview, the EFV is no better protected than the Marine’s current Amtrack in the face of anti-tank guided missiles or even RPGs as its armor is quite thin. The EFVs hull has a flat bottom so that it can get up on plane, but that low-to-the ground flat hull design has been proven deadly on vehicles hit by IEDs in Iraq. The Marines designed a vehicle primarily for crossing the water, not for fighting on land, and certainly not against opponents armed with modern anti-armor weaponry, Johnson said.

As Naval Postgraduate School lecturer Craig Hooper writes in the current issue of Proceedings (.pdf), the Marines’ maneuver over-the-sea strategy “froze the EFV concept” so it remains a far too highly specialized vehicle. “The EFV design is tied to achieving high over-water speed. Eliminate that requirement, and the Marines might as well start with a clean slate,” Hooper writes. He recommends killing the program. “Between the Marines’ increasing desperation to field an amphibious means of forcible entry and the unpopular option of cancellation, something has to give.”

CSBA’s Wood also recommends the program be cancelled. Funds should redirected to develop a combination of platforms optimized for their combat environments. That would be an at-sea platform for landing troops and equipment from ever greater distances off-shore and a seperate fighting vehicle that is survivable on the modern battlefield.

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With President Obama in charge the Marines for sure won’t be doing any expeditionary landings so what’s the rush to complete this super amtrac?

Well, Here we go again . We spend money for years trying to get the bugs out of new equipment so that our troops don,t have to end up running around in worn out, obsolete equipment and then decide at the last minute to cancel it after years of development. Meanwhile, our enemies around the world are developing new weapons and equipment at an alarming rate. We seem to be our own worst enemy; especially since we just elected a new politically correct administration which probably cancel every defense program it can get its hands on.

There has to be a more cost efficient and reliable vehicle for landing Marines. If the EFV is a lame dog, kill it and get a new one.

That’s why the Army uses Choppers.

What the hell happened to helicopters?? Holy Smokes… If our enemies have such sophisticated equipment Im sure that could blow a slow moving troop tank out of the water in no time.. Why do we continue to try to fight wars in the World War II style„ wakeup guys its 2008 not D-Day.. Also, unmanned equipment is the weapon of the future„ we need to stop worrying about having our soldiers in harms way and use technology, gees I hope Obama straightens out these idiots out at the Pentagon..

Cancel the EFA! The Marine Corps has been developing this program for more than 20 years and enough is enough! Don’t be surprised that President-elect Obama cancels the program during his first 100 days of office.

The EFA should have been researched, developed, built, and deployed within a five year period not 20!

The problem has been on-going for this program from the beginning by the top brass of the Marine Corps and the prime contractor. Now with billions spent and NO EFA what’s going to happen during our next war that may require an off-shore amphibious assault with Vietnam-era amtracts–DISASTER for the Marines! Cheap $100 Russian-type RPGs will be the problem.

The EFA sounds like the troubled and canceled Sgt York program in the 80s.

Just as before, the USMC/USN is SNAFU again. Instead of simply buying available South African MRAPs to deploy in the theatre NOW, they were spending millions developing their own, which MIGHT be ready in 2009. Plus, NOT ONE Pentagon flag officer was held responsible for these idiotic decisions. Meanwhile, hundreds of Marines were killed or wounded by IEDs in Iraq. UN-f***ing-believable !!!

Luc, Bill, you obviously are not too educated in amphibious operations. Helicopters are fine but when the ceiling is too low (i.e., clouds or fog) to safely fly helo’s ashore because you cant see them flying, you need an amphibious vehicle to move personnel and equipment ashore. Put a deadline on the fixes, it it cant be met, scrap the progream and use the evolved technology to design an alternative.

We better hope the new administration and congress has enough sense to stop funding systems that have been overtaken by time and technology, nevermind not meeting contractual goals.
We don’t need to waste money just because the end user is DoD. That doesn’t do anything positive for national security and it surely doesn’t address one’s patriotism.
Obviously there are those that advocate buying a bucket w/ holes in the bottom if it says Made in the USA on it as opposed to buying a bucket w/ no holes, even though the need for buckets is in question.

22 million per unit. Are you insane? A rpg7 to blow off a track, $450.00. A French anti ship
Exorset $500,000.00. A Russian Coronet package/kit, $30,000.00. A few land mines or sea mines. Very little. You could kill one of these with your American Express Card. Not to mention the people inside and their equipment. These things are made of aluminum. Aluminum burns. The British found out the hard way in the Falklands.
The USN and Her Royal Majesties Navy got rid of quite a few new Frigates and engagement type vessels after that outing in the Atlantic. The Argentine s just fired Exorcets at random. They found something to sink. 15 ships later. The British went home with a bloody nose. Navy and Army procurement is corrupt to the core. If it’s not a design from a certain company, from a certain financial pedigree it will never make it. Better designs exist. You need smaller less expensive vehicles. And more of them. Your chances of success are greater with a bunch of vehicles with fire support for each other. Than a few that are easy to defeat. Plus design something that is semi submersible. Not something that is 1000 hp and sounds like a
county fair mud bog tractor pull down the street. Real stealthy. The Navy, and DOD in general are hard headed and narrow minded about
anything new or different. The only saving grace is the Russians and Chinese are even more hard headed. And archaic. If the Navy would like to hear about a better design? I have one.
But they wont pay for anything they can steal.
And they try. Just treat inventors better. And you will be buried with excellent modern designs. But the DOD is run in a way that serves the people that don’t fight. More than the people that do. If certain companies with certain financial ties don’t get their cut.
The design never gets past the first level
of procurement. Or the technology is striped and given to the company in higher favor. With years of delays and cost over runs in the process. So it’s not about merit of design. It’s about distribution of money. Politics, and international welfare. Fewer and fewer countries are buying American made defense products. The Pentagon has to buy this stuff. Then give it to Mexico and other countries that can’t afford it. So the People that design this stuff have little incentive to build a a sensible vehicle. Or one that can help with bringing down production costs. So if their is a call between selling a few expensive ones or allot of cheap ones. You get the first. Every one else Except the Germans go for Quantity over quality. Their is a compromise hear. It is called brain drain. And Defense monopolies. The whole system is corrupt to the core. At every level. The solders suffer due to this. The people that run this stuff have more money and influence than brains. Look at what they build.
Armored Humvees. I rest my case. It never ends.

Sentences and words missing from previous response. A accident, I am sure.

I read a lot about how antiquated the ideal of an amphibious fighting vehicle is and how the cheaper MRAPs should be considered or some other solution which takes in to account the modern nature of present day combat. The problem that seems to go unanswered is when it comes time for the primary marine mission to be preformed, capturing and holding forward ports and securing beach head using the three pronged nature of the over the horizon assault, how is that going to work.

Many of these same issues about the out dated approach of amphibious landings were voice by the great military minds in the 50’s until MacArthur landed in Inchon chaining the course of the Korean war. Or the threat of a landing gave pause to the Iroquois and held them long enough that by the time they knew what happened it was over.

Then there is the whole problem of where all those very large container ship are going to off load. These are just a few of the the reasons why DoD still look at AFV’s.

Another problem that is over looked is that it is a lot easier to get blown out of the water in a AAV7 doing approx. 7 knots then it is in say a EFV doing 25 knots. If you have ever ridden inside of one waiting to ass out my guess is we would not be having this conversation.

A final note, yes the Brits took a hit in the south Atlantic however two points were left out. First, they not only completed the mission quite handily. Second, MoD saw the need for carries and amphibious ships and embarked on a still on going program to build next generation LPD and CV.

I just want to throw out a few things here. I work in the establishment responsible for DoD procurement and sustainment of small arms, on the Government side. Many of the flaws we all see in the way DoD practices acquisition of new systems are Congressionally mandated. Military officers are commissioned by Congress, not the President. Senators and Representatives, unlike the President, are elected by popular vote. Before you vote in the next election, query your prospective Senator and/or Representative on their knowledge of things military. If they can’t give you answers that pass the common sense test, don’t vote for them. If they haven’t been down range, don’t vote for them. If they won’t let their sons or daughters serve in the military, don’t vote for them. If they haven’t read Clausewitz or Sun Tzu, don’t vote for them. If they haven’t read Stackpole’s “They Met At Gettysburg”, don’t vote for them. It’s all about choices. I see the impact from the inside of poor choices made by the electorate. Make no mistake, the electorate occasionally puts the right people in office, but not often enough. More ood for thought: When Teddy Roosevelt was President, he did a remarkable thing; he told the Conbress to piis off. At that time, the Navy was coal fired. Congress slashed the Navy budget to the point where it couldn’t get enough funds to acquire sufficient coal to function as a blue water force. Teddy sent “The Great White Fleet” half way around the world, and they were almost out of coal. Teddy told the Congress to either fund the Navy adequately, or he’d leave the ships on the other side of the world with our coasts undefended. Amazingly, the funding was forthcoming.

It shouldn’t take such an action to get Congress to do the right thing. We hold in our hands the power to make sure Congress gets it right. Don’t elect the wrong people. That’s the whole point of this writing. It’s good to point at things going wrong, and say that it shouldn’t be that way. BUT, each of us needs to take responsibility for the way things are.


You are correct in indicating that we all need to take responsibility for the way things are. At no point did you indicate that your establishment responsible for DoD procurement was responsible in any way for these fiascos.

And I don’t think the problem with a program that has taken 20 years to get to this point is a lack money. Unless you want to think about how much money has been wasted with this pig.

The problems with LCS, ARH, JSF and all other acronym projects is not a lack of money. And that is especially true in a fully Republican controlled goverment.

Congressional issues with military procurement is more focused on their need to please their constituents. That means funding military programs because they bring jobs to your district or state. It has nothing to do with a lack of funding.

Quoting what Teddy did 100 years ago is just your way of avoiding responsibility.


If you add how much was wasted from the beginning
of this project with administration costs and research and development prototypes. The unit price would make you puke all over it! And solders go without. So FMC and BAE can make a AAV boatload full of money. The welder that welded the hull makes more than the captain that will command the vehicle in a mission that could result in his death. The banker that loans the money to buy the materials to build these units will make more money than the whole Battalion in their lifetime. The Company will spend almost as much in lobbyist suitcase money to senators and POCs and PMs than the profit of the project. Hoping to sell parts and services after wards. That is when the real program starts. Every time the DOD does anything their is waste. Just start following the dollars.
A trucking friend of mine transports Combat vehicles and trucks for the USMC. He had to pay the Dispatcher $25.00 to $150.00 per load or he would not be called back. The guy who payed the most kickback got called first and often. Shoot that dispatcher. And work your way up.

Well, I have heard nothing of the EFV not meeting its performance goals on land or water. Really, to be honest all I’ve seen is it wouldn’t do well vs APG’s and/or Heavy Tanks. Which, sounds like the same agrument against the Bradley Armor Vehicle. Which, has turn out to be wildly successful! When you think about it I can remember controversy over just about every major military program. Like the F-16, M-1 Abrams Tank, Spruance Destroyers, etc. etc. etc.

So, we are to spend billions to cancel right at the end of developement! That would be wasting alot of taxpayer money!!!! Personally, you would have to show me in black and white that the program is a total failure.

Also, like one pollster pointed out! If, not the EFV what else? We going back to the drawing board and spend billions more and another 20 years.….……

Well, I have heard nothing of the EFV not meeting its performance goals on land or water. Really, to be honest all I’ve seen is it wouldn’t do well vs RPG’s and/or Heavy Tanks. Which, sounds like the same agrument against the Bradley Armor Vehicle. Which, has turn out to be wildly successful! When you think about it I can remember controversy over just about every major military program. Like the F-16, M-1 Abrams Tank, Spruance Destroyers, etc. etc. etc.

So, we are to spend billions to cancel right at the end of developement! That would be wasting alot of taxpayer money!!!! Personally, you would have to show me in black and white that the program is a total failure.

Also, like one pollster pointed out! If, not the EFV what else? We going back to the drawing board and spend billions more and another 20 years.….……

I tell ya, the writer of this article surely got it wrong.

Anti-ship missles? Are you kidding? This thing is screaming along on the water at 30 knots, and still maneuvers with agility. Plus, there’s like 50 of them coming at once for a typical incursion. Even a well-placed sophisticated system couldn’t pick ‘em off. And that’s the point of the EFV… you can’t anticipate the location of the landing!

Also, the writer insists that the seas must be like glass for the EFV to go on plane. Nonsense! It makes the ride rougher, but the machine is fully capable of on-plane operation in very heavy littorals.

The EFV is vulnerable to RPG attack (for now), it’s true. But the point is moot for IED vulnerability. The EFV is a lethal incursion tool. IED’s are set up along known convoy routes.

Vehicles very similar to these were used in Vietnam. Regardless of how many Knots they go in water. The solders in Vietnam had to ride on top of there aluminum chariots to keep from burning to death inside. Ammo for the main gun, fuel,batteries, MG ammo, hydraulic oil, electrical. And how thick is that aluminum floor?
For 22 million each,I think any rag head would love to whack that thing and everyone in it. And then scream Allah Akbar while the guys run out on fire. The vehicle is a total rip off of taxpayers money. 22 Million. People talk like that is suppose to be a deal or something to applaud. Performance. The thing has so much horse power that it barely goes straight. They use two water outlets that fight each other and bounce the vehicle from side to side. Don’t get all fuzzy over this one. This isn’t the only way to approach a beach and say here we are.
OK. Lets do some math. 22 million times 50. That is over a billion. You can go to the local real estate office in most countries of people
who don’t wear shoes. And buy the whole country.
Like Somalia. Better yet! Ask everyone you know that has about 22 million. Hey Dude, em… ya,
wanna buy this cool AAV? I might be able to get you 10% off if you buy fifty. But the oil filters are from Germany. So look on EBay first. I sure you can get a better price.
No body else in the world wants one of these things. NO BODY. And if they DOOOOO? The U.S. Tax payer via the State Dept. Through the Pentagon buys them. And gives them to Israel or Mexico. Then they pay BAE or FMC or some other
$600.00 dollar a day mechanic to work om em for them. Any more armor on this thing and it won’t float. It barely does now. Pay BAE a billion dollars. They can go F up their country like they F ed up ours. You won’t eve have to invade it. They will over run it with their Pentagon pimps! And bleed the country dry so they can
fend off any any all threats. The world is getting smarter. 22 Million. Your on crack!

I am simply amazed at the piss and vinegar comments toward the Marines and Navy. I have always been taught that you seek improvement. Those that say it should be done in “five” years have obviously never worked in engineering. Those that say we should use exhisting technology would have us riding around in Sherman Tanks. Those that say what about “choppers” prove my point by thier use of the term. They are old school. They would prefer we still drive the “model T”. Straight air power is not the answer. You have to have boots on the ground and those troops need superior fire power when they arrive. The Amphibious assault provides that. This along with para ops will secure the airfields and ports for a follow on force. It just goes to show how ignorant some armchair quarterbacks are. They would prefer a Normandy style assault but forget the lives that we lost by the thousands. “The objective is not to die for your country but make the other poor bastard die for his!” The suggestion that we use MRAPS provided by another country again shows the lack of knowledge and forthought. Do you really want to depend on unstable governments to provide your weponry and are you not aware that we produce our own weapons and vehicles. You would probably prefer the cheaper Chineese vehicles never mind the possibility of war with them. I am sure they will hook us up with weapons to fight against themselves. WOW you must all be Democrats.

Typical of the sites that allow comments, most of the people making the comments speak on topics for which they have no knowledge. Let’s start with cost.

The $22M quoted by many on this site is not a per vehicle cost post development. This cost includes all development and NRC associated with the program from initial contract award to present. When the decision to buy half the original number of vehicles was made, the developmental/NRC cost doubled. And contrary to some peoples believe, when you cut program funds to support wars, program cost do not go down.

BAE is not the prime contractor; General Dynamics is the prime contractor.

The EFV has no problem obtaining plane (necessary for high speed water mode) in all sea states in which it would be launched. This KPP was achieved years ago and only four years after the award of the initial contract. Recent design changes have made that capability even more robust. On land, the EFV will out run nearly all armored vehicles and will keep pace with the M1A2 Main Battle Tank (another combat vehicle built by GD that was chastised on Websites such as this; its legacy speaks for itself).

The issue that stopped the EFV from going to LRIP 2 years ago was reliability. That was they only KPP that was not satisfactorily demonstrated during SDD Operational Assessment. But let me put that shortfall into perspective. 10 SDD vehicles were built for developmental testing and to perform operational assessment. Not long after the SDD contract was awarded, the Afghan war began. For the next 7 years, the EFV program experienced a number of substantial budget cuts to help support that war and then the war in Iraq. As a result, critical funding was not available. These funding cuts were felt in all areas and in particular, test vehicle support. For 4 years the 10 vehicles were literally beaten down with depleted funding for adequate overhauls and then the vehicles were turned over to Marines to perform operational assessments. For all intents and purposes, the EFVs used in OA had nearly as many hours on them as 35 year old AAVs in the fleet. Basically, the EFV had already reached the end of any rational service life model. One last comment on reliability. 4.5 hours MTBMCF is not even close to correct and falls into the same 1+1+1=2 math used to compute the vehicle per unit cost.

The question here is not whether the EFV is or will be ready to serve the Marines. It is and it can. The only question is whether the Marines still need an amphibious fleet. I am sure that many on this site believe they know the answer, but I do not. I will leave the answer to that question to the pros. What I do know is that if the answer is, “yes the Marines need an amphibious capability,” then the EFV is the correct choice to fulfill that requirement.

The problems with the EFV and all other acronym’d programs are two-fold. Working from the inside, I see this all too well. One major problem is that the Procurement office keeps adding more requirements and systems after the initial contract. Each new system added requires that the project be started over again to try and cram another 10 lbs of crap into an already overloaded box.

The second major problem is that the companys making the subject programs lack proper direction and oversight, allowing them to waste time and money.

If the government would just put in charge someone who has a technical background that has the power, insight and willingness to call “bullshit” when the programs are going off-track, most programs could be brought to conclusion years earlier.

The Marine Corps mandated several handcuffs that have handicapped the EFV program from the beginning, such as using an engine that they had developed rather than allowing other alternatives which would have reduced weight, increased troop space and made a much better vehicle.

The company itself is mostly responsible since they didn’t say, “No” to costly add-ons that add years to the deployment runway and focused on “getting the prototypes built” for some progress payment deadline instead of getting the engineering finished correctly first before wasting time and energy (read money) making prototypes that have to be modified over and over again during the initial builds.

To answer those who think that the EFV is not a needed program for the Marine Corps, there are a few things that should be remembered. The Government is traditionally short-sighted.

It is true that WWII style landings are a thing of the past and never to be repeated. The problem is that with our sights focused on warfare in the deserts, we lose sight of warfare in other environments. River operations in a jungle environment as well as other water operations in a multitude of environments is still a reality for the Marine mission on a world-wide view. This capability must be maintained else we hamstring our strategy when this option is the correct one.

It is true that the current needs of the Marine Corps is for a different platform than the EFV, but this could change tomorrow or in a year. Better to have the technology in your pocket for when needed.

Too many Marines in one huge target with inadequate armor on the sides/front and a flat bottom vulnerable to IEDs and sea mines.

Too far from shore to reach it in a timely manner. With new air-cavitation torpedoes and missiles, even the mother landing craft ship are highly vulnerable anywhere near shore. Many opponents have diesel-electric subs. Unattended sea vessels are coming.

Combat engineer bridges cross rivers. In both OIF I and recently against the Taliban, our 12Bs build bridges rapidly under potential fire. Ribbon bridges cross larger spans.

Landing craft air-cushioned, joint high speed vessels, and larger rotorcraft are the partial solution. Pulling up to the dock in a neighboring friendly country is the main solution. Then fight with a smaller, better armored, more capable vehicle.

Come on board with FCS manned ground vehicles.

i feel obligated to point out this plum plucked monday:
“EG&G, Dumfries, Va., is being awarded $5,193,076 for task order #0070 under a previously awarded contract (M67854-02-A-9011) for Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) support services, a key element of the Marine Corps Systems Command PM Advanced Amphibious Assault (PM AAA) … includes the support services to advance the use of technology to improve system performance and operations, achieve design-to-unit production cost objectives, and to define mature production and manufacturing processes … expected to be completed in December 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.”



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Just one comment because it’s evident the author is bias and doesn’t have the facts. I for one, (being close to the program), can state that this program hasn’t been in 20 years of development. Cut that time almost in half. The armor is not thin. The technology in this vehicle allows this 35 ton tank to transfer from water mode of 25+ knots to land mode in seconds, with the capability of driving on land as fast as the M1 Abrams tank.

P.S.…Use helicoptors as one commented ??? They get shot out of the sky just as easy…

I have worked on this project and the vehicle can work. The problem is managment at the program office and other levels. They seem to have their heads up their asses. Plain and simple. Clean house and finish the project with new managment. We, taxpayers, can’t afford to cancel it, already neck deep in it.

Talk is cheap, but that is what america si all about,talk it out then act.

The Marines are the shock troops… Meaning the first one in when the enemy is at it’s strongest. Going by air isn’t the most reliable means of transportation. They’d most likely be blown up if they’d try to use air as the main route of transport. You have to set up your forces on land before you can get into the air, best way is to get on to the coastes. Best way on getting there is by sea. That’s why they need tracks.


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