BAE Has Its Eyes on the Future for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle
By OTTO KREISHER, Seapower Correspondent
QUANTICO, Va. – BAE Systems has just started building the first of the initial variant of the Marine Corps’ amphibious combat vehicles (ACVs), but already is proposing what future versions of the new gators could look like.
On display at the Modern Day Marine exposition on this historic base is an ACV with a remotely controlled turret, and sophisticated sensing and command and control systems that BAE thinks the Marines may want in the future.
“We know from the Marine Corps that there will be a family of vehicles going forward, with an eye toward three variants,” said John Swift, program manager for amphibious vehicles at BAE. “So last year, with a bit of foresight, we at BAE Systems took this vehicle and made it a command and control variant” that might shape the Marines thinking.
The model on display has four work stations and a commander’s seat with large screen displays that can be connected to the weapon station mounted on the roof, other vehicle-borne or off-board sensors and unmanned aerial vehicles, and blended into “fused intelligence,” Swift said.
The commander could use that sensor data to have his gunner fire at an identified target with the turret gun, a 30 mm cannon similar to what the Army has on its Stryker vehicles.
They could do that because the vehicle BAE developed for the ACV competition, which the company won in June, had a growth capability of 7,000 pounds, said Swift, a former career Marine tank officer.
All that is looking ahead to decisions the Marines will make, in the next decade, on what they want future ACVs to do.
Swift called the displayed vehicle an “advanced capability” demonstration to show the Marines “the realm of the possible” for the future.
Currently, BAE is under contract to build 30 ACVs in the troop transport version in a low-rate production agreement. The first components are being constructed and will be shipped to BAE’s York, Pennsylvania, plant for assembly. The first of the new vehicles will be delivered to the Marines next summer to start operational testing, Swift said.
The current Marine program of record for ACV calls for 704 vehicles, which may be increased. The Corps has told BAE they are considering command and control and recovery variants, in addition to the troop transport, he said.
The ACV is to replace the Vietnam-vintage AAV-7 assault amphibious vehicle, a tracked vehicle that proved to be vulnerable to land mines and improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and Iraq.