Inside the Navy - 04/25/2011

ACV price tag: $8 million to $10 million

Marines Plan For Four Battalions Of Lift On MPC, Eight On ACV

The Marines have set their initial requirement for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle at the same number as their final requirement for the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle before that program was axed, according to numbers recently released from the service's developing Ground Combat Tactical Vehicle Strategy.

Briefing slides used by Brig. Gen. Daniel O'Donohue, director of the Capabilities Development Directorate, at an Institute for Defense and Government Advancement conference on April 19, show the vehicle requirements laid out in the GCTV strategy across the range of the Marines' ground fleet. They show an approved acquisition objective of 573 ACVs, which will be complemented by 579 Marine Personnel Carriers to provide 12 battalions of amphibious lift.

Chris Yunker, mobility section head for the Marines' fires and maneuver integration division, told Inside the Navy last week that the numbers reflect four battalions of lift capability in the MPC fleet and eight battalions traveling in ACVs, which seat twice as many Marines as MPCs.

According to O'Donohue's slides, the ACVs will carry between 15 and 18 Marines. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos told reporters in February that the ACV was expected to carry 13 passengers. A request for information for the MPC put out in February called for each MPC to tote nine Marines to the battlefield.

O'Donohue's slides say the MPC's timeline has been moved up by three years following the Marines' revamp of its amphibious vehicle buying strategy in January, when the EFV program was canceled. The briefing shows that MPCs are now expected to hit the field in fiscal year 2018, while ACVs follow soon after in FY-21.

The timeline laid out for the ACV shows that an initial capabilities document is expected by the fourth quarter of this fiscal year, with a capability development document planned to hit the street near the end of FY-13. The program should hit milestone B in mid-FY-14, kicking off the engineering, manufacturing and development phase, and milestone C, allowing low-rate production to go ahead, in FY-18.

The slides also offer the first glimpse at what the Marines expect to spend on the ACV, pegging the goal at $8 million to $10 million per hull.

-- Cid Standifer