Questions raised over Marine Personnel Carrier’s future

Questions raised over Marine Personnel Carrier’s future

QUANTICO, Va., — The Marine Personnel Carrier prototypes on display here at Modern Day Marine shared a striking similarity — each one looked a lot like the Army’s Stryker except for the addition of two propellers on the back.

The Marine Corps knows it has a tough sell ahead to Congress on the Marine Personnel Carrier. With defense budgets tightening, Congress and Pentagon leadership have made clear that it wants to cut out repetitive capabilities and will look to adapt current vehicles to new roles.

All of this leaves defense analysts to question if Marine officials will continue to link the hulking 8x8 wheeled personnel carrier to the Marine Corps’ top acquisition priority, the Amphibious Combat Vehicle.


William Taylor, the Marine program executive officer for Land Systems, said that remains the plan when asked about the future of the program.

“The Marine Corps was very smart in linking the MPC acquisition strategy to ACV. So no decisions with respect to MPC precede the strategy and decisions of ACV,” Tayor said. “They’re linked and they are complimentary. I don’t think I can give you a definitive answer other than wait and see. MPC’s future is tied to how ACV pans out.”

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos has made it clear he will carefully lay out his case for the ACV to ensure it does not meet the same fate as the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, which was canceled.

“We’re going to get one opportunity to do this right,” Amos said in August. “I want to make sure when we go to Congress with the requirement that Congress looks at it and says it makes complete sense to me and I fully support it. I feel like we are right where we need to be.”

The Marine Corps has aligned the ACV and MPC under the Amphibious Assault Vehicle program manager. The move was made after the Pentagon canceled the EFV program due to spiral costs and missed deadlines.

Marine leaders see the MPC as the second wave of vehicles to land behind the ACV in an amphibious assault. An MPC will carry eight to nine Marines inland once the squads reach the shore. Corps officials want the APC to drive up on beaches, navigate over land and cross rivers.

The Corps awarded four technology development contracts in September to Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, BAE Systems and SAIC. Marine officials plan to run their vehicles through blast and swim tests this summer, industry representatives said.

Three of the four companies do not plan to develop vehicles from scratch for the competition. Lockheed, BAE and SAIC each plan to adapt personnel carriers used by foreign armies. General Dynamics has not yet specified what vehicle they plan to put forward for testing. BAE and Lockheed had prototypes of their MPCs displayed here at Modern Day Marine.

It’s telling to hear how little the MPC is mentioned by Marine Corps leaders in public speeches. Rarely, if ever, is the ACV left out when Amos or other Marine officials talk about their acquisition priorities.

It draws parallels to the way Army leaders regularly mention the Ground Combat Vehicle, but leave out the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle from speeches. Defense analysts also doubt the Army will be able to deliver both the ACV and AMPV.

When asked to compare MPC to the ACV in terms of its importance to the Marine Corps, Taylor, in some ways, made the case against the MPC when Congress considers its future.

“MPC is not satisfying a ship to shore requirement. I think the term is inland waterways,” Taylor said. “It’s envisioned to satisfy a much more limited requirement in terms of mobility.”

Congress has not proven too keen toward investing in the development of vehicles that fulfill “limited requirements.”

The Marine Corps’ deputy assistant commandant for Programs and Resources made the point at Modern Day Marine that the expected defense spending cuts will force leaders to deliver the “best Marine Corps the country can afford” hinting it will not get every modernization program they may want.

Taylor made the point that acquisition officials must be prepared to make trades to keep programs alive. Compromises made between the Army and Marine Corps to salvage the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle serve as an example.

Many wonder if decoupling the MPC from the ACV to improve its case to Congress is one of the trades the Marine Corps will be forced to make.

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Well easy to say this is a waste of money since the Army striker is based on the current Marine LAV-25 APC. SO a Upgrade of LAV is cheaper and easier than buying the same vehicle new for hundred of thousands more in money. With sequestration hitting soon I think the Marines should spend what money thy have to upgrade and maintain there current fleet and wait for at least 10 years before assessing what they need. The AAV7 and LAV-25 are fine for this decades armed warfare they can last.Well easy to say this is a waste of money since the Army striker is based on the current Marine LAV-25 APC. SO a Upgrade of LAV is cheaper and easier than buying the same vehicle new for hundred of thousands more in money. With sequestration hitting soon I think the Marines should spend what money thy have to upgrade and maintain there current fleet and wait for at least 10 years before assessing what they need. The AAV7 and LAV-25 are fine for this decades armed warfare they can last.

I think this is a great option. The current LAV-25 is suited well for its role in this decade, but not the AAV. The AAV is a vehicle made in the early 70’s and designed in the 60’s. We’ve piece-mailed various components to an aging platform that is falling apart as a second generation vehicle after the RAMRS rebuilds 10 years ago. The vehicle now costs too much to maintain, many parts are not available so selective interchange is the norm, and it creates a low quality of life for Marines in the MOS.

you are kidding right? the LAV-25 is about 10 tons lighter than a Stryker. the only thing they have in common is that they’re both built by the same company. additionally how can you compare the Stryker to the MPC when the MPC is to be able to operate in sea state 2 (at least). moving on to the AAV. do you know that the baseline vehicle the LVTP-7 was designed in the late 1960’s? it was upgraded a couple of times but its old in the tooth, under powered and under armored.

The Marine LAV-25 is based on the Candan AVGP from the early 1980s and the Army Stryker is based on the Canadian LAV III which was first designed in 1992. The Stryker is an infantry carrier and the LAV 25 is a recon vehicle. The base model Stryker comes with a couple machine guns and every version of the LAV 25 comes with a 25mm in a turret. The LAV 25 can swim, the Stryker cannnot. Both have different engines and suspension systems. They are branches of a common ancestor. One is not based on the other.

Yet again the marines are reinventing the wheel. Pick an off the shelf euro design. minor mods. issue to troops.

Rinse and repeat.

tmb — I’d like to add even the metal is different in the hulls. The Stryker has greater survivability (and can’t float)

We’re kind of back to the whole “when ever are we going to send MPCs out at Sea State 2″? There’s a reason we went for the expensive EFV.

DUKW dual purpose type vehicles have too many compromises. If you want amphibious entry, design LCACs to give as good as they get or procure speedboats that can hang out in the well deck, roll up to the beach and drop Marines with rockets, ATGMs and fifty-cals (or miniguns) for support.

The MPC is unlikely to be particularly fast, and shoehorning duties into its platform will probably cause more losses.

Yeah but both based on the same design just upgrade the LAV to Striker levels.

You’re not listening Lance. They’re based on similar designs, not the same design. Bolting more armor on a LAV25 doesn’t turn it into a Stryker. The engines come from different manufacturers and the engine compartments are different dimensions.

Besides tmb’s points…

Yeah, a non floating platform is really going to help the Corps. (facepalm)

all the vehicles in the competition are based off existing designs. the Patria AMV, the Iveco BAE SuperAV, the Terrex…only the General Dynamic entry is a mystery and its suppose to be from an existing design too. you’re off on the reinventing the wheel Joe.

I thought that issue with OIF was due to the lack of armored vehicles to smash through the opposition…the Army didn’t use a lot of bridge-building to get ahead of the Marines.

The Marines lost time around Nasiriyah as well…

Lance: You’re suggesting is akin to saying that a Bradley is like a M113, even though both had slabby sides , one is aluminum, one is steel, one weighs 3 times as much and one has a turret and TOW launcher and the other carries 13 men instead of 6.

Yeah, just uparmor the M113 until it turns into a Bradley…

I’m not sure what the Marines will do about AAV replacement. I remain convinced that they should ditch the idea of a dual purpose boat-tank and go with a low-draft boat that can get close to the shore and throw down the firepower, and use that to cover LCACs and other craft that deliver the goods.

Of course, I’m partial to heavily armed LSTs.…but I don’t think the Navy has LSTs anymore.

The last contested large-scale amphibious assault conducted by the US military was just over 62 years ago, at Incheon.

Huge changes have taken place since then.

In 1950, moving assault forces over the littoral and shore by the then quite new “helicopter” was something only distantly envisionable. Not any longer.

In 1950, the concept of an anti-ship missile was only crudely developed, and having large transports stand in close to shore was feasible. Not any longer.

In 1950, precision guided shoulder-fired antiarmor missiles with multi-kilometer range were the stuff of science fiction. Not any longer.

No one doubts the valor of the Marines. There are increasing reasons to doubt their planning capabilities.

Army lost time there too. i remember two crossings.…again the Army made the big loop, Marines drove straight through. the issue is getting Marine infantry in armored personnel carriers and not riding in MTVRs. the Army is much much more mechanized than the Marine Corps and even if the full allotment of vehicles is bought you still will have a huge portion of Marine infantry that will be relegated to riding in soft skin vehicles.

you’re not counting properly. there have been well over 100 amphibious landings. not contested like Inchon or Tarawa but amphibious landings none the less. i’m going to get a bit pissy now but you deserve it. you should keep up with what the US Army is doing in its planning to be relevant in the Pacific. THEY’RE BEGGING TO GET ABOARD SHIPS.. TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MARINE CORPS PLANNING FOR SEABASING. i don’t see it happening and to be honest the Army is about to be a force without a future. before its all over with it’ll be much much smaller and the premier unit will probably be the 82nd cause they can fly in and you’ll see the Stryker go the way of the dodo bird. additionally unless the ARMY can get it planning together they’re going to get frozen out of the budget discussion. everyone talks about the Marines but how can the Army justify the Ground Combat Vehicle when the Bradley has been modernized. how can they justify the AMPV when the Styker still has new car smell on it. and don’t get me started on the JLTV that they’re forcing down the Marine Corps throats without a rationale for. if a service needs proper planning its definitely the Army. the Navy, Air Force and Marines all have roles in the Pacific. WHAT’S THE ARMY’S??????

And.

Now the enemy has Fighters, surface to air missiles and radar guided AA guns. According to your way of thinking obviously air assualt is out.

Well i guess we should use speed boats.…..i mean NO ONE can shoot down anti ship missiles or spoof them with EW.

Well glad No one has tanks anymore i mean everyone can kill a tank now right so they cant function on the battlefield any longer.…

There have been no large contested amphib landings for 62 years because A) there has been no major nation states with the ability to launch them stage one. B) the US the only who really is versed well and has the equipment and men (US Marines, US Navy, US Army-yes they have amphib boats or atleast did) has had such overwhelming power that it was simpler to look for other ways.

War, tactics, strategy isn’t a + — game. complicated.

A few I think. The Army still maintains a sizable stock.

I’m an Army Cav Dog and proud of it, but we are now over a decade into a new century, with not only new technology but new OpFors as well. On one hand this thought galls me to the core because of my simple pride in what I am, but on the other hand, with the actual theaters we are fighting in today, with the enemies we are facing…it is more than past time for all branches of our military to start looking at working more closely together instead of pointing out flaws in the other branches. Each branch really needs to start looking at future possibilities (I’m sure they are) and instead of everyone trying to come up with their own unique toys, perhaps really and honestly look closer at joint vehicles so that there can be more interchangeability. This –should– help cut costs because everyone could work together to maintain and upgrade the different platforms in use. With the cuts the DC is dropping on all four branches, it may not be that much longer until Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp and perhaps even the Coast Guard are forced into become one unified military fighting force. Something to think about, especially in this election year.

Well, unless the Marines opt for something dead simple (or existing, or near existing), they’ll have a very difficult time selling congress on a new buggy — especially after the EFV debacle. They’ll most likely have to suffer with upgrades of existing equipment if the recent past is any indication.

However, the real problem is in acquisition: the system as is frankly stinks. The redundant efforts across each of the services branches would never survive in the business world, and the still-resulting incompatibilities between the various service branches equipment are breathtaking. The US needs to adopt a system similar to the British, where they use a threat analysis board comprised of civilian and military experts to examine threats and determine the personnel and weapons (etc) to defeat them. This eliminates a huge amount of redundancy, and would remove congress from the picture for everything but funding (that last part is especially tough). But the advantage is that you don’t have new features being added throughout the entire acquisition process (including construction), which could also save a lot of money.

More recently, the Navy has shifted the ship building program to a more design up front and order/fund multiple units at a time methodology, which has helped a lot (the LPD-17’s and Virginia-class SSN’s have been coming on time and on or under budget). The rest of the service branches (let alone taxpayers) could benefit from the above, while saving a lot of money.

Actually pretty much all of the services are bughouse nuts and not living on Earth when it comes to procurement planning. If the USMC was really worried about planning they would’ve never asked for the B model F35 because a $150 million stealthy STOVL aircraft that will never be stealthy because you have to carry external munitions to actually fulfill the USMC air wing mission is about F-ing stupid.

how many MPC will fit on each of the new SSC? How much does each system cost?

sorry this was left off the above:
How many SSC/LCAC will fit on the current amphibs in an ARG say?

More importantly how much time will it take and tonnage will be lfited ashore?

So you are saying the Marines want to get more mechanized? Isn’t that more of an Army mission? More mechanization also means less deployable.

If one acknowledges the Marines want heavier protection why not use common solutions?

This is confusing. If Marines are willing to accept the MPC that carries an eight man squad (Marine squads are 12 men) with relatively light armored protection AND an ACV maybe it should look at the Chinese approach, ZBD2000. I personally don’t like its light protection but it does what the ACV and the MPC do in one package.

Snafu — the question was about ampib ops before you went on your Army rant.

BTW, the Army has always had a great portion of its forces based on ships. How do you think the Army got more firepower into Saudi Arabia before the Marines back in ’91? As for the Pacific there are more soldiers with more firepower than Marines in theatre on any given day.

It’s not an all or nothing situation. Marines are fully capable of smaller ops, as well as the Army but I can admit there are situations where the Marines are preferable. We can also fight together in smaller contingencies and any significant op against a significant opponent is going to require the Army.

Marines seem to get very nervous whenever their assumptions are challenged and the knee jerk reaction is to wildly strike out at the Army. Don’t be so sure the Army doesn’t have a future. I like the Corps but they on their own can’t protect the nation. The Army can and historically has. Just because we don’t incesantly talk about how great we are doesn’t mean the curtain’s closing.

BTW, you might want to worry about your own budget issues. The marines are also facing personnel cuts. That F35 has some issues and two vehicles to do virtually the same mission isn’t looking good to a budget conscious congress.

Assuming 1 Wasp, 1 San Antonio, and 1 Whidbey Island in the group (I think they are ESGs now, BTW, not ARGs), 9 LCACs (3, 2, and 4, respectively) w/ no room for any other types of watercraft.

That’s what’s possible; I don’t know if it’s necessarily likely.

Agreed. I’ve said it elsewhere, and I’ll say it again — leave the strike mission to the Navy and the CAS mission to the Marines. For CAS, they should’ve just gone with an upgraded version of the OV-10. It can operate from an amphib flat-top, can carry plenty of ordanance, can fly low and slow, and can loiter. For about a fifth the price of an F-35B (a guess, but I’ll bet a month’s pay that if I’m off, it’s because the guess was too conservative).

Totally disagree. Upgraded with modern ECM, perhaps with LO features, and supported by ground– and air-based air defense, air superiority, and SEAD assets, it would be as survivable as an A-10 or an attach helo.

If the Marines are looking for an IFV like the US Army, they can go with a joint buy and buy in with the US Army. The ones they can look at are the MOWAG Piranha, Stryker family system, Namer IFV, Combat Vehicle 90 and the German Boxer IFV.

Do you buy the 45 kph on water? No chance with the small impellers and the weak ass bow flap. And even the hype videos don’t have it planing, which would be required — especially for a planing hull vehicle…

In general I agree that the acquisition system stinks and that there is too much redundancy but the statement “The redundant efforts across each of the services branches would never survive in the business world” just isn’t true. Look at the US railroads and you’ll see even worse redundancy, especially in their software systems.

In general I think you’re right but private industry isn’t the magic/silver bullet a lot of people claim it to be.

The Navy got rid of LSTs about 10 yrs ago. There were a couple in the mothball fleet but I think they are gone by now as well. The Army does not have LSTs any more either. They do have LCUs where are much smaller than an LST and not armored. I’m not aware of any armor on WWII LSTs but having deployed with US Navy LSTs in the post Vietnam era, I can tell you that there was no significant armor installed. They were absolutely NOT designed to go in to the beach with the assault echelon (first wave)

I mean, of course, “attack” helo…

You’re probably right. I was thinking of this equipment:
http://​www​.transchool​.lee​.army​.mil/​o​c​o​t​/​D​o​c​u​m​e​nts

A good idea in theory but the problem comes in that the Marine Corps and the Army have different needs and requirements in their vehicles. Most notably, the Corps will require that their vehicle be amphibious and can swim which is something that the Army doesn’t need their vehicles to do and might result in design compromises that would be unacceptable to the Army. It might be possible for them to go in on a joint buy based on the same base platform but make mods to it based on each services need ala the F-35 but I suspect that would end up working as well as the F-35 program is.

Problem is the Army is going with a Bradley design the Marines didnt like the IFV too heavy. Your idea wont work.

You need amphibious capabilities TMB2. Strikers or GCV dont have that. a updated LAV would be fine for USMC ops.

I didnt say that I said for mortar carriers and base defense a M-113 is fine the Bradley is fine for a APC no need to replace both with a over heavy and too expensive GCV.

Fair enough — but consider the difference: the military isn’t supposed to be competing against each other as commercial businesses do — though in a number of cases — they compete all the time. This is why I think the acquisition system needs major overhaul — to reduce the wasteful/redundant efforts that happen all the time that provide no real benefit to the taxpayers (and in many cases — so the respective service branches).

What is the Army’s role? The Army already has 6 Stryker Brigades, a heavy brigade and an airborne brigade in the Pacific as well as 2 combat aviation brigades and various special forces units, sustainment units and ADA units. The most likely area of conflict for the US is in Korea which is pretty much entirely an Army and Air Force show. The Army already participates in numerous exercises all through out the Pacific with allied nations. And guess what? Last time there was a war in the Pacific, the Army made up the majority of the ground forces because the USMC just aint that big. And nothing has changed since then.

I never said we didn’t need amphibious capabilities. I like the LAV25. The Corps does too. You said upgrading the LAV would be easy and cheap because it was just an older Stryker. They look a lot alike, but there are enough differences that you can’t compare the costs of upgrading one based on the other. They are two distinct vehicles based on a common ancestry, but with 10 years and significant design and role differences between them. Adding new systems and armor to any vehicle changes the shape, weight, engine/power requirements, suspension, and a few other important characteristics so it’s not as simple and inexpensive as you might think.

I agree with Riceball to a point. The Marines prize amphib and light criteria more than the Army on the other hand when they found they were vulnerable to IED’s they got heavy QUICK especially when they are applied as a second Army.

I said it before, I’ll say it again. An Army platform is not suitable for an amphib assault vehicle for the Corps. On the other hand developing a SECOND personnel carrier (MPC) for inland operations and amphib ops is either redundant (what’s the ACV for) or a weak substitute (when vehicles couldn’t deal with IEDs the Marines went to MRAPs quick).

There’s two possible approaches. Develop one amphib vehicle that does both missions (like the Chinese ZBD05 http://​www​.ausairpower​.net/​A​P​A​-​P​L​A​-​A​A​A​V​.​h​tml) or buy the ACV and a vehicle that will serve as an APC that can actually survive inland which is likely what the Army is using (the inland battle is the same for both services).

Personally, I don’t understand the “inland” requirement unless the Marines are trying to flesh out a second Army type capability.

Oh, the irony… The A-10 isn’t survivable against modern opponents either. Their attrition rate in ODS attested to that.
As an side, I wasn’t aware that a combat-loaded OV-10 could take off from an amphib.

We are a unified fighting force. We are just separated into branches. What’s frivolous is we won’t share uniforms or equipment. Service dress differences I understand, but each branch having its own camo? Stupid.

Four A-10’s were shot down during ODS. Out of 8,000+ missions, that’s an attrition rate of 1/20th of 1%. I would hardly call that not being survivable against modern opponents…

As for the Broncos, I honestly don’t know what kind of load they were carrying, but they could operate from an amphib as built. I am not an engineer, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that a modernized equivalent would probably have more power and therefore sufficient range & payload.

Kenya just conducted a contested Amphibious landing over the weekend, and the Sri Lankan Civil War had several. Anyone who says landings don’t happen anymore isn’t paying attention.

I think a joint buy would be a Marines best option because they can buy a common IFV, but have an Amphib version and an Army version

excellent point

SOOOOOOOOO stupid.

I count at least six A-10s lost in ODS, including OA-10s, and at least fourteen damaged (summarized at http://​www​.rjlee​.org/​a​i​r​/​d​s​-​a​a​l​o​ss/ and the much more authoritative study at http://​www​.afhra​.af​.mil/​s​h​a​r​e​d​/​m​e​d​i​a​/​d​o​c​u​m​e​n​t​/​A​F​D​-​0​7​0​912.... Chuck Horner refers to that number in the June ’91 Air Force Magazine interview– “I had fourteen airplanes [A-10s] sitting on the ramp having battle damage repaired” after going up against the better-defended Republican Guard units. A damaged airframe isn’t lost, but it’s out of the fight for a few days at a minimum.

In the permissive environment, where the A-10 was designed to operate, it has a lot to offer. The same is true of the OV-10, and there are clearly niches that they fill very well. I certainly concur that a modernized OV-10 would offer some interesting capabilities, but I think they wouldn’t be of much use against an opponent with competent air defenses– unlike the platforms the USMC is already acquiring.

Unless they blow up 8 of them on the ground at one of the best guarded FOBs in an operational environment the USMC could have like occurred in Stan a couple weeks ago. Brings the point of the Corps spending the sums of money they are going to on the F35 into real question. If those Harriers two weeks ago were F35s, that attack besides the human toll would have cost the US $1 billion. A couple dozen guys with RPGs and AKs.

a vehicle that does it all is not possible. a attack with hundreds of marines, landing on a beachead, is not going to happen unless there is a war declared, when one is then we should proceed with buying a vehicle that will suit the purpose of terain we are going to invade. buying something for any purpose is foolish, it will be outdated before it is produced. wait until they try a tandem wheel in the dry sand when they go to turn it…spending many $$ for something that will not work the terain we will be in is just another waste of the money that could be better spent on troops. all services should be using the same inventory. we need something to drive out of an airplane and use for all services the humvee was headed in that direction but got way layed and made into a vehicle for all purposes that simply could not make everyone happy. an american service person is famous for making what they have work.

“unless there is a war declared, when one is then we should proceed with buying a vehicle that will suit the purpose of terain we are going to invade”

This isn’t WWII where you have a couple years to find the right weapons to fight back.

Actually the Turkish invasion of Cyprus was very contested and had a landing force of 8,000 troops. Tired of all the Army vs Marine BS. But I do remember seeing Marine AAV-7s gutted all over Iraq(not just during the invasion). Many dead and wounded Marines would be alive if the had been in Bradleys, Strykers or M-113s. The Marines need a better vehicle period. The Patria AMV, Iveco SuperAV and the Terrex would all be a significant improvement to the current death traps.

Help me understand this. We are sending 400 tanks to Eqypt along with 64 fighter aircraft and only God knows what else. They, meaning Egypt want’s Isreal wiped of the face of the earth, we then tell Isreal that we will protect them from their enemies, WITH WHAT !

I’m still wondering who the fool was that got the Army to buy 5600 Mine Resistant Vehicles at $800,000 each with a service life of only 12,000 miles. They’re so heavy that off-roading is prohibited. Also top heavy. What will be done with them all once Afghan is over?

Probably the same fool who got calls from angry Congressmen who got angry calls from vets or their families who were coming home from tooling around Iraq in unarmored humvees in the middle of an angry populace.

What’s the big deal, we’re giving the MRAPs to local police departments and every government agency is ordering millions of rounds of ammunition.

The 400 tanks are export grade M1’s, presumably lacking a great deal of digital doodads, in addition to lacking depleted uranium inserts. The same is true with Iraq’s M1’s.

That said, an Egyptian armored force would have to roll through Gaza and turn it into a free-fire-zone. I can’t imagine that being particularly popular with the Israelis.

Maybe the Israelis need stealth aircraft. All their neighbors are acquiring better radars as time goes by, can’t count on EW for SEAD forever.

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