Marines' New Amphibious Combat Vehicles Set to Begin Full-Rate Production

New Marine Amphibious Combat Vehicle

Militarymedia.net - More Marines will see the decades-old amphibious assault vehicle upgraded after a new agreement is reached that will move production of the long-awaited amphibious combat vehicle to a new phase.

The Marine Corps awarded BAE Systems a nearly $ 185 million contract for the production of 36 full-level amphibious fighting vehicles. The agreement, according to the Marine Corps, means the service can now build and deliver more ACVs "at a sustained pace for the next several years."

This first full-rate production lot, according to BAE Systems, is expected to jump to 72 vehicles by early 2021, with an option to produce 80 vehicles annually for five years.

Colonel Kirk Mullins, program manager for Advanced Amphibious Assault at PEO Land Systems, said the new vehicle would be more durable than the Marine Corps' Vietnam-era AAV.

One such AAV was involved in a fatal accident off the coast of California this summer. Eight Marines and a sailor died in a rapidly submerged vehicle on the way back to the ship, drowning with some of the personnel trapped inside. The accident is still under investigation, and AAV's water operations were temporarily suspended afterwards.

"We provide the Marines with a modern armored personnel carrier that offers exceptional capability with respect to survivability," Mullins said in a statement about the ACV now replacing the vehicle. "ACV provides the Marine Corps with a platform capable of operating across military operations."

ACV only reached operational capability early last month. A platoon with the 1st Marine Division, headquartered at the Marine Corps Air Combat Center at Twentynine Palms in California, was the first in line to receive one of the new vehicles, Military.com reported in September.

The eight-wheeler is designed to move Marines from ship to shore. The contract issued last week is for a variant designed to carry personnel.

Three other variants are in the planning stages, said Barb Hamby, a spokesman for the Marine Corps Land Systems Executive Officer Program. That includes a command-and-control vehicle, one with a 30mm medium-caliber turret and, finally, a recovery variant, he said.

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