Marines Buying Dozens More Amphibious Combat Vehicles as Test Phase Nears

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The personnel carrier variant of the Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle in Alaska. (Courtesy BAE Systems)
The personnel carrier variant of the Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle in Alaska. (Courtesy BAE Systems)

The U.S. Marine Corps recently awarded a $120 million contract to BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP for another 30 new Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) as the service readies for initial operational test and evaluation next year.

The Corps in 2018 selected BAE Systems, along with teammate Iveco Defense Vehicles, to build a replacement for its aging Assault Amphibious Vehicles, also built by BAE.

The ACV is an advanced, eight-wheeled vehicle equipped with a new six-cylinder, 700-horsepower engine, which provides a significant power increase over the legacy fleet currently in service, according to BAE. This is the third order under the low-rate initial production contract for the personnel carrier variant, known as the ACV-P, the release states.

"This award further validates the Marine Corps' confidence in the vehicle's proven capability in meeting their amphibious mission and represents an important step toward fielding the vehicle in the Fleet Marine Force," John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems, said in the release. "The ACV is a highly mobile, survivable and adaptable platform designed for growth to meet future mission role requirements while bringing enhanced combat power to the battlefield."

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BAE officials said the Marine Corps has instructed them not to say how many vehicles will be delivered under this contract award, but the Oct. 29 Defense Department announcement states that the award is "for the purchase of 30 Amphibious Combat Vehicles and associated production, fielding and support costs and depot support products." It adds that the work is scheduled to be completed in January 2020.

Initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) for the ACV, which is scheduled for next year, is the program office's final evaluation before fielding the vehicle, Marine officials said in an October release.

"Marines will operate the vehicle in realistic environments and go on realistic missions so that we can evaluate the operational suitability and effectiveness of the system and see if it does what we want it to do in the way we want to do it," Maj. Scott Jennings, a project officer for the Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity, said in the release.

— Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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