Amos expects to issue ACV RFP soon

Amos expects to issue ACV RFP soon

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Jim Amos told a group of reporters to expect his service to issue a request for proposals for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle in the next couple months, according to a Defense News report.

The Marine Corps’ top modernization priority, Amos plans to brief Navy Secretary Ray Mabus with the results of a “deep dive” study that Amos ordered on the program. The Marine Corps finished the Analysis of Alternatives study in June 2012. The additional study gave Marine acquisition officials more time to review the amphibious tractor’s requirements.

“I think all of this is going to happen over the next couple of months because we’re anxious to get money in the budget that we’re working on right now, the [2015] budget,” Amos said Monday according to Defense News. “We’ve got [the money], so we just want to keep it there.”

The Amphibious Combat Vehicle is the program stood up by the Marine Corps following the cancellation of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle in 2011. Better known as the ACV, Marine officials plan to build it to replace the Amphibious Assault Vehicle.

Amos understands that the Marine Corps must solidify their case for the ACV when it is presented to Congress. He has made sure Marine officials have reviewed requirements and found ways to shrink its price tag.

“We’re going to get one opportunity to do this right,” Amos said this summer. “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.”

Amos said in August that he’s placed the service’s top engineers and budgeteers to hold cost trade offs to find ways to save money on the program. He made sure to emphasize that the Marines don’t need the “Cadillac” of amphibious tractors. He wants something the Corps and the Defense Department can afford.

A major issue for the ACV, and one that complicated the EFV, was how far the tractor can travel from ship to shore and how fast. A higher speed tractor that can travel above the waves comes with a higher price tag, one the Corps might not be able to afford.

“[The scientists] have been getting into the physics of fluid dynamics. How fast a vehicle can go before you have to have a planing vehicle. How big a motor you have to have. What’s the cost tradeoffs. They’ve been working on that for a little over a year-and-a-half,” Amos said last August.

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They should look more closely at a 2-piece solution. The first and most important half being an amphibious GCV that can carry a full squad of marines plus 2–3, plus the crew, able to operate independently in the littorals and in-shore, but more important that it be able to go most anywhere rather than being super-fast in the water. The second half being an inexpensive robo-mini-LCAC, big enough to carry the GCV (but not an MBT), and able to carry that GCV much faster into shore before leaving it at the beach. The robo-mini-LCAC should be capable of near-autonomous operation (no crew), but also the GCV driver should be able to remote pilot it.

Some key points being:

1.) The GCV doesn’t need the capability of big speed over water after it hits the beach, and that speed capability would compromise other capability as well as cost.

2.) A robo-mini-LCAC would separately reusable, could return to carry more GCVs to the beach.

3.) If a robo-mini-LCAC is severely damaged while carrying a GCV, the GCV should be able to continue without it, albeit at much reduced speed.

We currently have the

AAAV — slow in the water, ok on land, good range, ok firepower, ok protection, old tech

the EFV — very fast on water, fast on land, good but not great protection, good fire power, complex, expensive

the new ACV — which will probably be slower on water than the EFV, great protection, less firepower, simpler and less expensive but we won’t see it deployed for at least 10 years, and it’ll end up just being a modern version of the AAAV.

Here’s the problem, you’re either too slow –AAAV or too fast EFV. Speed is good but it’s noisy and it’s very visible from shore i,e, the bad guys can see you coming from a long distance.

Why don’t we think about building a semi-submersible vehicle? It’ll have a very low free-board and actually travel a foot or so underwater with a snorkel type of device. i.e. a semi stealth vehicle which will be able to sneak up to the shore, albeit slowly, and emerge from the waves before the bad guys had a clue? Isn’t that the entire idea of beach landings-to surprise the enemy?

It’ll be diesel powered and will travel at moderate speeds, say 12 knots until it a few miles from shore (visible range). At that point, the snorkel will be retracted and it’ll run on batteries, at about 10 knots, and internal oxygen tank (for the crew) for the last 20 minutes to shore. It’ll be completely hidden under about a foot of water all the way onto the shore. It’ll be armed with a 25mm gun in turret with a auto mortar launcher. It’ll be built of aluminum with composite armor and be able to travel over land at up to 45mph up to 300 miles.


To do that it would require the oxygen tanks then it would need ballast tanks and then about a dozen other things and it would take 4-5hrs to get to shore. Then it would have to be a tank. Basicly the same problem as the EFV. To expensive and WAY to complex.

The main problem.….the navy has regressed to where they have no wish politicaly to clear the shore and get in under 50 mi. THAT is why the IFV had to be so fast.

Another example of stupid Navy brass idea’s of what the worlds wars should be like instead of what they are.

So to fix this build a dedicated NGFS ship with good armor and defenses, 2 gun turreted MK-71 8in. Rape shore line with 250lbs projectiles at a rate of 48 8in rounds per minute. Add in the 5 in guns it could also mount.…

But then we have those Iowa’s just awaiting for a TRUE overhaul.….

More of a waste of money. Amos is dreaming of his prides program again.

Read this on Marine times the BIG exception is sequestration which I think will come in march and another CR from congress. Face it the AAV is not leaving soon be better to upgrade and life extend them for the rest of this decade.

Even JLTV faces a axe this March. lets face it Generals thinks its 2007 while the budget is coming to 1994 levels, Overall work on a new landing craft and smaller LCAC like someone said here earlier is a good solution to the problem.

I keep hearing about bringing back the Iowas, and if you can absolutely be sure there isn’t a sub around it might even make sense. However with all the AIP subs around with torpedoes that would sink the thing with a thousand men on board it doesn’t make sense to me. Littorals are difficult ASW areas and very cheap mines are even more of a hazard. I’d want a real NGFS platform with really good sonar, quick and effective AAW capabilities and for God’s sake a really supreme level of point defense ability against anti ship missiles. None of that is available in a WW2 battleship. I love them too but their day has come and gone. I like the idea of a almost unmanned arsenal barge with a cheap GPS guided bombardment missile and targeting can be provided with drones. If you lose one to a mine or sub well they should be built cheap and the missiles should be cheap. So when you lose one ya just didn’t lose that much.

The question here then is, what programs is Amos willing to sacrifice to pay for this new vehicle program?
I’m starting to see all these bloated defense contracts as little more than make-work programs to keep our defense industry knowledge base alive.
But judging by numerous all-too-often failed end-results that get so far removed from the original requirements (easily blamed on people accused of continually altering those requirements until the broken design can meet them), I think it’s more of a maybe-work program.
Rather than so many expensive, dismally-performing revolutionary development programs, we need to solidify our industries by forging ahead instead with incremental evolutionary block improvement programs to current designs.
The Apache helicopter, the F/A-18 program from ithe first A to the latest Super Hornet E/F/G, the latest Burke-class destroyers compared to the first ships of the class, the Tomahawk cruise missle, the Standard Missile family, the AIM-9X.
These evolutionary steps have been less risky than outright revolutionary replacement programs, have kept the defense industry going and produced viable, useful, successful products, not several-years-later-and-still-broken prototypes still wrought with failures.

All that is needed is a modern amphibious IFV really. With the MPC program to replace the LAV, could you not hit two birds with one stone in making the MPC amphibious? I don’t see the point of a purpose built AMTRAC for infantry when the IFVs can be made amphibious.

I worked on the AAAV program way back in the late 80s and when the discussion about a two part solution was brought up the Marines were completely uninterested in that idea. It was because they felt that when returning to the ship from the shore it couldn’t be guaranteed that a separate high speed system would be available. They felt the concept was tactically too difficult.

Just a bit of clarification on your post: The current amphib system the Marines use is called the AAV. The high water speed replacement was originally called AAAV then renamed EFV.

That sounds sensible, but I thought the Marine were about attack, and not retreat. That said, the Marines do have landing craft that should be able to take most lightweight vehicles offshore, and the LCAC if the vehicle is particularly heavy (like an Abrams).

Submersible amphibious delivery craft for Marines would be amazingly expensive, and you’d have even more junk to haul around onshore. The present AAV’s are already ponderous and poorly armored because of the need to maintain low weight for buoyancy.

The better the craft is at getting ashore, the more bloat it will have when fighting and moving inland.

It’s not like we drove DUKW’s around Europe during WW2. Once we got on the beaches…

French LCU. Catamaran design instead of hovercraft like our LCAC.

Or the BARC.

Has nothing to do with “retreating,” but rather how much stuff they can fit in an amphib. Every ton and cubic foot has to be carefully accounted for on those ships. Everything inside the ship has to be stacked up and prepositioned for the attack. There’s no space to move things around and change your mind about what order you want to launch equipment in the middle of the assault.

There’s a big difference between being able to float in the water and having the right kind of vehicle to get to the shore in a timely manner. One of the engineering problems they had with the EFV program is that they wanted an IFV that could also swim like a speed boat almost on top of the water. In order to get that they needed an engine more powerful than the one on the M1 Abrams. Simply making an IFV amphibious means giving it the ability to not sink. It’ll zoom from ship to shore at a whopping 5 miles an hour.

Great IFV and great boat have some mutually exclusive qualities.

I’m not sure how this ties into a two-vehicle vs a univehicle system. After a two-vehicler drops off its single vehicle, it can return and move cargo if needed. The only way a two vehicle system gains storage is if one vehicle can be stored portage atop the other. If both are stored separately, it cuts into payload.

A one-vehicle system will accompany its Marines at all times, so I’m not sure how the logistical sequencing argument applies to the original “hen returning to the ship from the shore it couldn’t be guaranteed that a separate high speed system would be available”. Perhaps I am missing something.

I suppose the other modest proposal would be to take the LCS of today and use it as an amphibious platform. Drive them close to shore and deploy AAV’s? I think one or both had welldecks. It would be faster, and perhaps more survivable than chucking EFVs into the ocean and hoping that ATGMs don’t plink them from afar.

I am nervous about seeing LCS being turned into a close-range delivery platform, or a “long range Landing Ship”.

To be honest, the current LAV-25 is capable of 12 Km/H in water, while the AAV is capable of an astonishing 13.5 Km/H. An amphibious IFV would pretty much equal the current speed of the AAV, and would cut the necessary fleet of vehicles in half, as well as not forcing ground troops to use AAV-style vehicles in combat.

I guess I’m misunderstanding your statement. The Corps hasn’t liked the idea of an amtrack and an IFV as two separate vehicles. The EFV was supposed to be the do-all for seizing a beach and the inland objectives. Are you describing just using an LCAC and an IFV?

Or developing a platform that combined some kind of sea-capable delivery vehicle with a capable land vehicle. JRT mentioned a “robo LCAC”, but I was thinking more of some kind of conformal attachment that you can attach a vehicle to. Either would be expensive and possibly not much cheaper than EFV, but you wouldn’t be carrying amphibious baggage to a land fight.

That said, if the corps wants an all-in-one vehicle for the amphibious assault that can take the fight inland, then that’s what the market will give them.

I thought LAV-25 was rated for certain sea-states, or maybe just rivers.

That said, I thought they couldn’t do amphib any more after upgrades and weight gain, or is that just the Bradley?

Operational and budgetary context for this issue, arguments pro/con for EFV (actually, the desired capability being pursued by the Corps), and alternative solutions are presented on pages 58–65 of “US Marine Corps: Fleet Marine Forces for the 21st Century” (http://​www​.csbaonline​.org/​p​u​b​l​i​c​a​t​i​o​n​s​/​2​0​0​8​/​1​1​/​t​h​e​-​u​s​-​m​a​r​i​n​e​-​c​o​r​p​s​-​f​l​e​e​t​-​m​a​r​i​n​e​-​f​o​r​c​e​s​-​f​o​r​-​t​h​e​-​2​1​s​t​-​c​e​n​t​u​ry/) and midway through “Caught on a Lee Shore” (http://​www​.the​-american​-interest​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​.​c​f​m​?​p​i​e​c​e​=​859). Essentially, the Corps wants to make a quick transit from ship to shore at increased distance with a vehicle that can go directly into a fight. Problem: the vehicle must be survivable in a high anti-armor threat environment which demands sufficient protection which adds weight which makes high-speed water transit quite difficult especially at a reasonable price. This is where EFV failed. It is also the obstacle that ACV must overcome. My recommendation was to separate the problem into two parts: ship-to-shore movement via high speed lighterage that carried a combat vehicle optimized for the mission-on-dirt with sufficient water obstacle capability to make it broadly useful across a range of operating environments/conditions.

Doesn’t the Korean IFV have that approach? Pontoons for river crossings (which is an entirely different environment than the sea).

Neither version of the LCS have a welldeck.

Augh. They have “stern ramps”, not the same as a well deck.

Wonder if it is possible to roll an AAV off of one. They were intended for small boats and all, but…

Unfortunately, these guys did not get the memo:

12kmh and 13.5kmh = 7mph and 9mph. Still very slow. The EFV was supposed to go four times that. The LAV-25 isn’t an infantry carrier, is a quarter of the Bradley’s weight, and can’t do ocean swimming (can do rivers and shallows), while the AAV7 was designed to swim but is also not as armored as a Bradley or what the EFV had.

blight — you make some good points.

I sense the Marines are handicapping themselves by trying to field a sea worthy amphibious vehicle that can also serve as a top line IFV deep inland. They barely pulled it off with the AAVP7 which suffers in survivability, frankly puts too many Marines in danger (it carries two squads) and can’t keep up with the M1. The Marines make up for these shortcomings by not employing the AAVP7 as aggressively as the Bradley for instance (which has its issues).

A seaworthy amphib vehicle is mandatory for the Corps. Sacrifice survivability to keep it fast and cheap and provide very light support/mobility for the Corps. If the Corps has to serve like a second land army and conduct operations over a hundred miles from shore it should becoma an Army mission or if the Corps insists on being a second land Army it should procure an IFV in the Stryker or Bradley type categories.

I know this will cause fur to fly which isn’t my intent but questions cause that reaction from some.

I like the Iowa’s as well, but for littoral work and supporting the Marines, I doubt there would have been too many ships better suited to the job than the Des Moines class heavy cruisers. The packed a punch with 9 x 8″/55cal which could fire a full 8 rounds a minute over 17 miles, plus the class only drew 22 feet! The Iowa’s could fire 22 miles but only 2 rounds a minute and they drew over 37 feet.
While I agree with Jeff that bringing back an old ship in todays naval environment would be problematic, can you imagine what the navy could do with 60 secondary mounts? Pull out the 6 twin 5″ mounts and put in a mixture of 76mm rapides and SeaRAM’s.
It ain’t going to happen but it is pathetic that a country that built a class like the Des Moines can not build a decent corvette for littoral work.

I can only hope we get better ballistic rated polymers to the point we can create something close to the requirements needed.

Until then, let’s hope China/NK doesn’t do anything stupid.

thanks for the clarification

couldn’t we just upgrade the AAV with new electronics, a new engine and maybe some new materials and call it a day? i am all in favor of technological innovation, but i have the idea of trying to reinvent the wheel, spending $13 billion and having nothing to show for it.

should read “hate the idea” rather than “have the idea” — sorry

The problem with these articles is that they never tell us [a] what combat deficiency the new vehicle corrects and [b] how that improvement is provided in the new system. One gets the imporession the new vehicle replaces the old-just because it is old and it is the Marines’ turn to get a new vehicle.

We’ve done that at least two times now. These vehicles were originally build in the early 70s. I don’t know how cost-effective or practical it would to upgrade them yet again.

The LCS isn’t built to take a punch — its only a survivability level one sea-frame. It isn’t even designed to take the kind of hit a fleet tanker can take. Then there’s the problem with a severe lack of ability to dish out abuse: the LCS has no teeth to speak of, and even with the current stock of proposed “mission packages” it’s safe to say that it barely has *gums*.

It lacks a torpedo detection system, despite the fact that one of the mission packages is supposed to be ASW (this minor oversight does not inspire confidence).

I’m still skeptical of the idea of making a fast amphibious vehicle fight well on land. The Marines can build a vehicle that gets to the beach quickly: they’re called landing craft. Getting one that can transition to land and fight costs extra.

The original AAV is slow, and the concern is that slow vehicles will get plinked easily, especially as ships hang out further and further from shore to mitigate the missile threat.

Chances are that beaches may be so risky to hit that amphibious forces will have to land at night by surprise, or only after heavy preparation.

Please tell me what you are referring to as a “Torpedo Detection System”? Do you mean a regular sonar?

I have served on many ships including destroyers and cruisers and none of them had a seperate Torpedo Detection System and the Amphibs did not even have any sonar other than their fathometer.

Actually, Landing Craft are really slow. The only real exception is the LCAC and they are both thin-skinned and can’t carry very much.

An expensive alternative way to move armor off the ships might be to revist the XCH-62 Vertol HLH, give it capacity to fly armored fighting vehicles and medium tanks direct to objective, avoiding the littorals in the early stages of an assault.

The hull. It’s the least expensive torpedo detector you can get. Just assign someone to stand near the bulkhead and listen for the loud bang.

The problem with polymer construction is that, unlike metallic alloys, the range of temperatures at which these vehicles would be required to operate (arid desert heat peaking above 130F in the sun, sub-zero arctic temps in places like northern US/Alaska) make polymers a non-contender.
Very cold plastics became far more brittle than metals at extreme colds,
and extreme heat will soften them (not to the point the AFV would melt/turn to putty under the hot ambient desert sun, but become pliable enough that its armor rating would suffer catastrophically, with possible delamination and load bearing structural failure, under combat conditions, a serious issue).
I doubt we’ll see quantum leaps in polymer tech that would make for suitable AFV structure/armor, but more than likely we would develop newer “Chobham-esque” technologies of various laminates of metals, ceramics, and polymers to yield a more ideal armor sandwich that’s suitable for the extremes of temperature and environment that military vehicles must endure.

Somewhere several months ago there was discussion of new aluminum/titanium (and possibly tungsten in the mix?) alloys under development,…have to look for it.
And while we’re a considerable ways away from developing sutiable metallic polymers, cermaic-metal-matrix composites are more realistic and have been in development for years, as well as greater advances in “armored glass” chemistry.
So I think we’ll keep seeing evolutionary developments more than we’ll see anything revolutionary in manufacturing materials.

The problem with the Heavy Lift Helicopter is that,
like a loaded LCAC, it becomes a big, cumbersome, unarmored target easily engaged and damaged by any number of man-portable systems (from small arms to light missiles and rockets.),
And being a large airborne target, it will more readily be seen and heard (easily detected) as it slowly shuttles large heavy cargoes to a beach landing zone.

Arguments of “the landing zone will be secured first by other other elements” suggests then that trhe LCAC and its future variants are just as well the optimal choice then over any HLH (and a damaged LCAC can still float, unlike a helicopter which will fall from the sky).

Query “Ship Tos Shore Connector” to see various LCAC replacement developments.
Optimally this is probably the best route to take, and the vessel can carry out a large number of missions in addition to just ferrying vehicles.
Future development could certainly see an armed and partially armored variant more suitable for landing in hostile contested areas,…but should we even be doing that?

Find an engine power plant that has a great power to weight ratio with a drive train that is quieter than anything presently in the inventory. Keep it low profile with great maneuverability, adequate turreted firepower like the Bradley and has an mine resistant hull design.

You just listed the requirements of the EFV. It tried to do all that and swim at high speeds. It kept falling apart due to complexity of the competing systems.

Consider a two stage system. A sea worthy hull would be attached to and support a land component. The sea stage would be jettisoned on the beach. Each component could be optimized for its operating environment within the limitations of the integration of the two components. This is not a new idea. During WWII Sherman tanks were fitted with skirts to provide buoyancy. The Japanese deployed a tank with detachable pontoons. Neither system worked well but the idea is still attractive because design compromises are minimized between the wet and dry components. The design may be biased to a heavily armored land vehicle with pontoons and track propulsion or it may be a light weight vehicle carried on a self propelled jet ski.

What is required will take some serious R & D. It won’t surprise us that a composite hull construction might be one solution to keep the enormous weight issue down to a practical load bearing amphibious vehicle. We then have to consider a wheeled vs. track vehicle as part of the solution process. Would a water jet propulsion system AND a land based regular drive train be a workable dual power plant compromise to keep the weight issues down ? Provided a small but highly efficient turbine set to use as part of the water jet propulsion system, can a 21st Century version be made that will outperform all existing systems that is both stronger, faster, lighter and quieter than what is already in the inventory and STILL keep the price reasonable per vehicle ?

d.kellog… I take issue with your characterization “slowly shuttles large heavy cargoes to a beach landing zone”. Unlike a surface vehicle, an HLH could go well beyond the beach, either direct to objective or much closer to the objective. And it doesn’t have to be slow. Those two aspects are key reasons for choosing to fly rather than crawl. I do also understand that there are times to choose to crawl.

According to Army’s info at the link below, a CH-47 can fly a 155mm howitzer at speeds up to 260km/h when the load is stabilized with triple hook load attachment. I’d expect that a larger Vertol with much higher lift capacity could be designed to be able to move an armored fighting vehicle at high double digit speeds or faster.


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