BAE Systems Land & Armaments L.P. is awarded a contract modification, worth around $113.5 million, by the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) for the purchase of 26 additional Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACVs).
The modification also includes other associated production costs. The Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) at Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M67854-16-C-0006). Fiscal 2020 procurement (Marine Corps) funds for the modification amount will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
The modification is awarded under the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phase of the program. This award brings the total vehicle orders for the ACV to 116, and moves the program closer to full-rate production. Work is expected to be completed in April 2022.
“The ACV provides the most survivable and mobile amphibious vehicle to the U.S. Marines Corps for supporting the warfighters’ ability to successfully execute their unique expeditionary missions,” said John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems. “This award further demonstrates our commitment to that mission, it’s an important milestone for the program and represents a major step toward full rate production.”
BAE Systems has been in low-rate production since 2018 on the personnel carrier variant in the ACV family, which is envisioned to consist of additional variants including command and control, 30mm medium caliber turret, and recovery versions.
The BAE Systems team and the U.S. Marine Corps have been making significant strides to reach full-rate production, including the successful completion of Logistics Demonstration as a critical enabler for the program to move into Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) with trained U.S. Marine maintainers. This and other major milestones such as operator training and additional testing will take place before full-rate production.
The Marine Corps selected BAE Systems along with teammate Iveco Defence Vehicles for the ACV program in 2018 to replace its legacy Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) fleet, which has been in service since 1972 and was also built by BAE Systems.
The AAV has been the go-to vehicle to carry Marines and gear from ship to shore, but with adversaries around the world growing more powerful, the ACV was created to enhance the capabilities of ship to shore missions and amphibious assaults. The main difference between the vehicles is the fact that ACV is an 8×8 wheeled vehicle while AAV is a tracked vehicle.
ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania.
The ACV will come in four different variants derived from the Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) base. In addition to the APC variant (ACV-P), there is a recovery variant (ACV-R), a command and control (C2) variant (ACV-C), and an up-armed variant with 30mm medium caliber cannon (ACV-30) to engage enemy armored vehicles.
The vehicles are equipped with a new 6-cylinder, 700HP engine, which provides a significant power increase over the AAVs. Each vehicle embarks 13 Marines in addition to a crew of three.
The ACV possesses ground mobility and speed similar to the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank (MBT) during sustained operations ashore and has the capability to provide organic, direct fire support to dismounted infantry in the attack. The vehicle will support expeditionary mobility capability and capacity with balanced levels of performance, protection, and payload.
The ACV’s significant protective assets make it resilient to direct attacks and allow it to operate with degraded mobility in an ever-changing battle environment. The vehicle possesses sufficient lethality to deliver accurate fire support to infantry, whether stationary or on the move.
The vehicle also has a unique V-shape underbelly to deflect the blast of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Since IEDs were the most lethal weapons used against AAVs, the new ACV was designed to take a blast from an IED, continue the mission and bring Marines home safely.