Defense News lists some of the Marine Corps’ desired characterstics for the now cancelled EFV’s replacement – dubbed the “Amphibious Combat Vehicle”. They are interesting and speak somewhat to the Corps’ future…

* The ability to autonomously deliver a Marine infantry squad from an amphibious ship to shore a minimum distance of 12 nautical miles, at “a speed to enable the element of surprise in the buildup ashore.” The notice acknowledges that a high rate of speed “may prove to be unaffordable.”  I’m not sure what is meant by “autonomously” here except that it’s one of today’s buzzwords. Self propelled and self navigated? Likley. Unmanned, or artificial intelligence piloting (the most current use of “autonomous”) – unlikely. Exact speed in the water is not defined for the RFI. It will bear watching if the speed is nummerically defined in later documents – specifically designated speed unsupported by study, logic, and thought being the Achilles heel of modern acquisition - despite the comment linking “a high rate of speed” and “unaffordable”. The most interesting part of this snippet is the “minimum distance of 12 nautical miles”. More on that below.

* Protection characteristics must be applied to direct fire, indirect fire, and mines/IED threats. In order to address the spectrum of operating environments, this protection can be modular (i.e., applied incrementally as the situation dictates. The first part will be a given for the forseeable future…the key is the second part, the modular piece. The Marine Corps is admitting that they’ve gotten heavy, and too heavy and too big to fit all they want onto the defined square and cube of today’s (and tomorrow’s) amphibious ships. By being modular you can at least take the armor or defensive systems off, transport them or stow them seperately, and add them on when necessary – or able.

* …should enable the Marine Corps to rapidly integrate emerging technologies through the use of open architecture and reconfigure the interior to support alternative mission loads including logistics provisions (55gal drums etc.,) heavy weapons (mortar/rockets) and medical evacuations (litters). Also a current, and long desired, buzzword that will ideally pay dividends. For those not familiar with “open architecture” the easy shorthand is “no proprietary solutions”. The systems – navigation, mechanical, electrical, electronic, communications need to be able to plug and play with both military and civilian standards. But the level to which the reconfigurations are desired may become a cost driver if designers don’t build a big empty vehicle that can be internally configured to support these desires.

* Be powerful enough to engage and destroy similar vehicles, provide direct fire support to dismounted infantry and maneuver with M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks. This speaks to two things – terrestrial speed and firepower. Given the state of today’s art, neither of these should be daunting challenges.

OK..12 nautical miles from sea to shore. That’s the key differentiator here. EFV was somewhat hamstrung by two things – speed requirement and range. Navy and Marine Corps doctrine has for decades pressed to move amphibious operations over the horizon – to launch outside the range of shore based missile envelopes at 25 nautical miles. And that range drove the speed because studies show that Marines tend to be less combat effective after bouncing aroud in a closed box at sea for more than an hour. 12 nautical miles means that a 12 knot water speed vehicle can be part of the solution set – and that 20 knots will be acceptable. That alone may drive the costs down – if the Marine Corps can stay it’s own appetite for unconstrained acquisition.

Other than speed and range, the requirements for the ACV are nearly identical (including the Open Architecture requirement) to the original requirements for the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) which was later renamed the EFV. The only real question is why did it take so long to move away from the EFV? A system which has been in development for more than 16 years , and underperforming for 10. While our personnel systems may be slow or broken - they are nowhere near as bad off as some of our acqusition programs. 

The full RFI cand be found at the FBO website. Responses are due by close of business 22 April 2011.




Posted by M. Ittleschmerz in Uncategorized


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  • Horatius

    If you want over-the-horizon, speed, and afffordablity:

    1. Design new ACV to fit in LCAC-type vehicle in numbers.

    2. Use LCAC-type vehicle to shuttle from amphibs to off-shore launch point.

    3. Launch combat vehicles, which move to beach at slower speed. Basically a two-stage process, much like staging use in rockets trying to reach orbit. Each stage is optimized for what it needs to do (performance, cost-as-an-independent variable, etc.)

    4. Design carrier vehicle for LCAC-type vehicle if numbers desired for mass. Could be commercial ship conversion.

  • Horatius

    With my above scenario, there might be a period when the first-stage carrier vessels might be vulnerable to ASCMs (not sure what current LCAC vulnerability is). An escort vessel, such as a LCS (justifying its high speed), with suitable kit, might do the trick of protecting the package until the launch point. Presumably, after launch, the AFV will have such a low profile as to reduce ability of shore-based ASCMs to target. Trick then might be to take LCAC and reduce its profile or design new vehicle.

    Perhaps a two-stage AFV–slightly larger high-speed boat shell that wraps around a slower combat vehicle inside (both shell and combat vehicle manned). Shell returns to amphib group while combat vehicle swims ashore.

  • Horatius

    As a clarification–in the above, when I said “first-stage carrier vessel”, I meant the LCAC-type carrier, not a commercial type vessel (perhaps float-on, float-off) carrier for LCACs.

    Secondly, if the LCS is used in the fashion I describe (cover for ground assault strike packages), then perhaps they can be called “destroyer escorts”, a name that has a fine and honorable heritage that rings in American naval history.

  • http://www.stratfor.com nhughes

    As a Marine, I fully support the capability that the EFV was intended to bring to bear. But I also agree with the point that it simply cannot be allowed to consume the entire USMC vehicle budget for the better part of a decade (and I don’t think anyone will dispute the programatic failings of the entire program).

    But I wouldn’t entirely discount the value of speed. One point that is too rarely discussed is the threat of modern anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) in an opposed landing scenario. We have already seen Hezbollah get its hands on Russian Kornets (AT-14s), and further proliferation in the eight years before the EFV-replacement hits the fleet is pretty unavoidable at this point. While the range of man-portable ATGMs are probably unlikely to grow much beyond 5,000m (~2.7nm, a fraction of the transit, whether you are talking 12 or 25nm), the difference between 15 knots and 30 knots means the difference between five minutes of exposure at sea vs. 10 minutes. (Whatever the solution, the capacity to include active defense when it becomes available seems important.)

    Speed and agility have direct bearing on survivability and therefore remain important considerations for the long-term viability of the vehicle we are now seeking to develop and procure.

    At this point, we seem to be seeking to procure as much of the capability as possible for a considerably lower price. If the concept of a vehicle with the EFV’s capability — 25+nm range, 25+ knots (though I’ve heard talk of 30+ knots in better conditions) along with speed/mobility/armor ashore to keep up with the M1 Abrams — is still desirable and the requirements are viable, should we abandon them because the current cost of the technology are prohibitive?

    The EFV program was poorly managed, and the EFV is not the solution — it certainly cannot be at the current price. But as we restart the procurement process, is this a case where capabilities should be sacrificed to bring cost into line with reality or a case where timetables should be sacrificed to bring costs into line with reality?

    There is only so much more SLEPing of the AAV-7 is going to achieve in terms of survivability on the modern battlefield. Which means even as we invest in upgrading it, the scenarios in which it can be viably employed will continue to contract. So the question is this: should we SLEP the AAV-7 again and invest in a compromised capability for late in this decade? Or should we accept a near-term capability gap (and, admittedly, the risks that entails) and instead take the time to bringing a truly new, revolutionary capability to affordability and maturity in a responsibly managed manner?

    I fully believe that more rapid, realistic and affordable procurement is needed in the Pentagon. And the Marine Personnel Carrier program seems like the right solution. But pursuit of game-changing capabilities is not inherently wrong, even if most attempts to do so have been terribly managed in recent years and the result has been unaffordable and inappropriate in a changed world. But the MV-22 Osprey is the counter example, not programatically, but in terms of a long-term investment in a game-changing capability that maintains relevance. The capabilities that the EFV envisioned may have been ambitious, and they can certainly be re-evaluated. But compromise on capabilities to meet a timetable may not be the right choice in this case.

  • http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com/ Solomon

    The answer to all this is fairly easy. The EFV as designed meets these requirements. The only thing that needs to be done is to simplify its complex drive and install high speed water jets.

    The USMC should act on this immediately. Single source the requirement…have General Dynamics de-risk its product and have it in production by the end of the year.

    Additionally the MPC seems to be a vehicle in search of a mission. The Marines have proven that they can fight in the vast desert reaches of Iraq without a dedicated wheeled IFv. The MTVR while not ideal served it purpose. Additional expenditures on another non amphibious vehicle is contrary to the direction we should be going (by amphibious I mean capable of travel in the ocean).

    Oh and just for thought …the term “expeditionary” no longer has flavor…how about a return to “Amphibious” for our MEU’s etc…

  • Russell Koch

    Moving from ship to shore as described in a vehicle so protected, so fast and lethal once there, has clearly proved impossible today and perhaps forever. Seeing how the LVTP-7 (my time period of service) was such a horrible ride, and so poorly protected (aluminum), and seeing the M-1 tanks vulnerabilities in close battle in Iraq, it seems clear that the AAV needs to be replaced and NOTHING is going to protect Marines from AGMs and IEDs to any great extent in the future.
    Sooo, separate the missions, accept that there are some threats that can’t be negated and get something fielded soon. There are a lot of good suggestions like the LCAC, or old solutions like the LST, or buy some of those cool ships the Australians use. It seems clear that the armored vehicles are simply not going to swim ashore.
    If opposed landings are envisioned for the future, there has to be someone who can build a better AAV and there has to be some sailor with balls enough to get it close to shore.

  • Al L.

    Why not solve the EFV problem this way;
    http://www.informationdissemination.net/2011/01/ok-marines-so-whats-next.html#comment-127799594

    It is entirely possible a simplified version of the EFV could fit into such a solution.

    The “autonomous” requirement is probably intended to void such a concept. Why a 2 stage solution is not acceptable is questionable. Perhaps the USMC wants total control of the ship-to-shore assets in the initial assault and wants only to concede the follow on lift to the US Navy. Such a parochial construct is pointless: the USMC as sacrificed the last 2 decades building a ship to shore connector(EFV) entirely controlled by the need for the Navy to stay over the horizon. How can it sacrifice any more by conceding the lift from horizon to 10+nm offshore?

    Secondly; aren’t the Navy and USMC rapidly approaching a time when the LCAC and LCU replacements need to be developed? Could this not be tied to development of the welldeck of an LSD-x?

    I’ve been following the USMC amiphib assault doctrine for 20 years as an interested civilian. It seems to me the Corps has dithered on this platform issue to the point where it has not only missed introducing the timely introduction of a replacement to the AAV-7 but it is now trying to rush a platform into the force when the strategic situation would demand a review of what the replacement for the replacement of the AAV-7 should be.

    Would it not be wise for the USMC to take some time and review the overall need for ship to shore surface assault platforms?

    The Corps needs to realize that in the eyes of those who watch and inform their fellow citizens, the EFV program is the worst case of the waste of an opportunity by the USMC. If the Corps doesn’t get it right this time many will conclude that the only effective Marine Corps is a hungry,cash starved Marine Corps. And that, apparently,a Marine Corps flush with program cash is just another version of the Army.

  • USNVO

    Al L.,
    The two stage system fails on a number of grounds.
    1. Space. A two stage system takes up a lot more room. You end up sacrificing other things. You could build bigger ships but that takes time, money, and a requisite increase in navy personnel. All three of those things are hard to come by.
    2. Protection. Your transporter remains vulnerable to fire, and if it gets knocked out, all the remaining vehicles are stuck on the ship. If you have enough to carry all the APCs in a single wave, you don’t have the space.
    3. Speed. the point of having a single wave of Amphibious vehicles is that you generate your full combat power ashore almost immediately. If it takes multiple waves, you dribble your combat power ashore.
    4. Flexibility. An amphibious vehicle gives you more flexibility on choosing where to land. A two stage system limits you to the limits of the landing boat which is usually significantly lower for a variety of reasons.
    5. Cost. LCACs are very expensive, so are fast landing craft. Any savings you make with a cheaper shore vehicle are lost to the increase in landing craft and the expense of manning and training their crews.

    I think the current plan seems the best compromise, although I agree that it took the USMC way to long to figure it out. The real cost driver for the AAAV/EFV was the fact that they wanted excessive speed in the water (And it wasn’t just to protect the Navy ships, a long range and high speed allow for more effect use of the sea as maneuver space to steal a USMC catchphrase). Everything else is pretty straight forward.

    The way forward seems pretty simple.
    1. Set a not to exceed cost (you don’t have to tell the contractors what it is but it wouldn’t hurt). Don’t exceed it!
    2. Reduce the ACVs speed and range in the water requirements. Be flexible on what that speed is and balance it against other requirements. Refer to rule 1.
    3. Have the Navy get a little closer to the beach. You are talking about 13nm difference, but even if it was a 20nm change, the ship would be somewhat more vulnerable for a little more than 2 hrs total to launch the ACV wave.
    4. Understand that you will need to compromise on all requirements to meet cost. Good enough is good enough. Better costs more and takes longer.
    5. Always refer to rule 1.

  • Horatius

    USNVO makes some good discussion points. Now, as far as criticisms of two-stage systems go–first, I was talking of two different two stage systems.

    In the first, the amphib group transloads assault craft to a LCAC-type vehicle (LCAC-like in terms of range and speed) from ranges significantly beyond the horizon (50+) miles. Said vehicle then transports assault group to launch point (say, the 12 miles talked about above), where the assault craft are sent into the water–just as if the big amphib had moved into the same distance. I’m thus proposing a system of systems. We are going to need an LCAC replacement eventually. It should be able to do this, regardless of what happens with this RFI.

    The second two-stage concept–which might not be incompatible with the first, and the one more generally under attack–is to wrap a boat shell around the combat vehicle–presumably with the ability to get those 25+ knots desired for the EFV—in a “personalized” sort of mini-Landing Craft, Tank (LCT) way. At the beach or in shallow water, mini-LCT and assault craft separate. Assault craft would still presumably have at least AAVT water capability (range and speed), and thus you still have all the flexibility on landing points desired. Once again a system of systems. You size the purchase of the first stage carrier mini-LCT to get suitable combat power ashore on the first wave—and yes, I understand the risks in that plan (how many F-22s got bought? How many years did the F-14A soldier on with the “temporary” engine?).

    USNVO is right on some of his comments–specifically space and cost–but engineering is a world of tradeoffs (until unobtanium mines up their production). I humbly submit that if 25+ knots ingress from 25 miles–while still having robust armor and land speed–was readily achievable in one amphibious vehicle, then the EFV would be (maybe) on its way to production, and/or the new RFI would specifically state those goals as desires. It does not, which suggests that we are running into a technology limitation problem. I am trying to overcome that problem–because contra USNVO, I don’t think the ESG commander (or whatever the amphib groups are called these days) is going to be as sanguine to closing too closely to the shore as USNVO seems to be. Whether for two hours or not.

    Thus, I submit a two-stage system is at least conceptually workable. Some might not think it ideal, but a willingness to bring big ships into ASCM range (and in particular into a range where the ships can be seen visually from a sufficient height of eye ashore, aiding significantly the enemy’s targeting problem) might be equally attacked, and by people with more veto power.

    As far as the questions of mass/firepower being landed in a single pulse on shore, I agree–which is why I said that it might be time to consider commercial cargo ship conversions as transports for some of what I propose.

    If money was no object, what I propose would be the way to do it (and in fact the LCAC replacement should have the capability to be able to launch small assault craft into the water in a range of sea states (assuming, as I believe is true, that LCAC doesn’t)). Money, however, *is* an independent variable. I therefore throw my ideas out there to generate discussion–but I do not think them ideas to be thrown out lightly. With just about any amphib design that comes out of this RFI we are going to get *at least* AAAV-like in-water performance, because the technology level easily allows for that. Taking that as a baseline, how do we then get more (and especially high speed OTH) while still getting desired combat performance on land? I’ve offered a solution. Perhaps not viewed as an “ideal” solution–but at least a solution, which can, if nothing else, be used as a fallback that allows us to trade off things in the combat vehicle itself knowing that if OTH speed and range are truly that important, there are other ways to achieve them.

  • Jed

    Is it not the ‘gold plating’ of the requirement that is causing all the problems, including hight cost ?

    Why not develop an armoured vehicle that is good on land, and a separate and highly suitable vehicle to land it ? Horses for courses as the saying goes ? Someone above said fast landing craft are expensive, however new developments such as the British Partial Air Cushion Supported Catamaran (PACSCAT) and French LCAT must be cheaper than L-CACS ?

    So how about a military version of the cheaper diesel powered hovercraft that are available on the market. The Griffon Hoverworks 8200TD as used by Sweden has some ballistic protection added. Trade the 10 tonne payload needed to carry a BVS10 for additional armour, RWS and armoured vehicle like active protection systems, and a payload of a platoon of fully armed Marines. Surely such fast, maneuverable vehicles could get enough Marines feet dry on the beach to set up a big enough cordon to prevent direct targetting of inbound landing craft with RPG / ATGW / Motar fire. The landing craft then bring tracked / wheeled AIFV as required.

    The “Marine Assault Hovercraft” would have obvious roles in other littoral missions and riverine ops too. Yes I know there are probably plenty of issues, including the overall amount of well deck space available, just thought I would throw it into the post as an idea.

  • Al L.

    USNVO,

    To your points:

    1.Space.
    a. The USMC was already trading space for capability with the EFV. Prior Marine amiphib vehicles had substantial logistical capability in addition to assault capability. This was almost completely sacrificed with EFV. Its logistical capability was en extremis only. For all other missions not involving an assault the MAGTF would have to carry an alternative OR add burden to existing platforms. The EFV was a 72 hour assault vehile period.
    b.A 2 stage assault solution must be considered vis-a-vis the current lift mix. Currently the USMC/Navy has a lift mix comprised of platforms which are near useless in the initial assault (LCU,LCAC) but effective in secondary lift and assault vehicles with partial logistical lift ability. Current technology could bridge the gap in this lift mix and provide both 1st stage carriage of the assault element and rapid follow on lift to complement current platforms. A mix of 4 platforms would result: A reduced number of LCACS and LCUs, an AAV/EFV replacement, and a new lift platform modeled on a down scaled French L-CAT.
    2.Protection. You apparently failed to follow my link. My idea would involve less risk, more flexibility and less needed protection than driving 25k ton LPDs with 1200 personel 10+ miles into the the horizon.
    3.Speed. No vehicle which can generate usable tactical speed on land will ever generate speed on sea for an affordable cost. The USMC just spent 20 years to disprove this thoery. The 2 are mutually exclusive. And if you read my link you would understand that the 1st stage is not delivering the initial assault element to land nor is it breaking the horizon.
    4. see all above
    5. Cost. I doubt that the cost of a 2 stage lift would be more than a single stage when the following factors are considered: tactical risk in moving capital ships close to shore, loss of tactical surprise by moving observable assets into the horizon, limiting maneuver to the pathetic range an affordable and effective armored vehicle can swim, sea state limitations of swimming armored vehicles, the likely demand for more ships in order to provide enough departure points for effective maneuver warfare OR conversly the reduction in departure points created by the ability of large ships to close with the beach combined with limitations of the swimminig armored vehicles and the limited number of well deck ships. ETC.

    The solution is NOT to spend 20 years trying to buy a gold plated system then to toss it out and cobble together a half ass solution in 24 months. The solution is a comprehensive restructuring of lift from welldeck to 100+ miles inland across the continuum. The 2 stage lift concept in use since WW2 may no longer be valid. It’s time to consider redrawing the transitions between ship, boat, float, and wheel.

  • USNVO

    Al L.,
    Let me clarify a bit. The most basic assumption of all is that we are limited by what is affordable. Ideally we would have all the money we want, the reality is we don’t. The ships we will have in the next 20years are largely afloat today, in the next 40yrs (outside a LSD replacement) are afloat or are being purchased. That is the simple fact. Look at the last 30yr shipbuilding plan.

    Space is limited on the ships. Not just for the vehicle to park but also in the well deck. Both are currently filled. Under no scenario will we have additional LCAC or watervehicle space in the next 20yrs. So if you add anything, you subtract from what is already there. The EFV replaced the AAV since they had comparable footprint, as would any ACV you make. Bottom line, your boat will displace your LCACs reducing total lift available for follow on forces. The EFV sacrificed the logistics mission because it did not really fit with the ideas of OMFTS/STOM. Fundementally the Amphibious tractor is no longer a landing craft to deliver troops ashore but is now a APC/IFV type of vehicle integral to mission success. I think that was a mistake, at least in MOOTW, since there are places a AAV can get that you just can’t take a truck or an LCAC, it appears the USMC believes that as well because it is a requirement, or at least something desirable, again.
    2. Protection.
    Anything LCU sized is as vulnerable to missiles as a LSD and less able to defend itself. If your L-CAT idea (by the way, ships and boats don’t scale nearly as well as you assume they will). The LSD would only require one trip to launch all the ACVs, your system will require a lot more and be LCAC sized to boot.
    3. Speed. With a ACV it takes one wave to deliver 13 (nominally) amphibs ashore. Total time, a few minutes from when they hit the beach plus an hour from launch. Under your system, the buildup of combat power takes as many round trips you need. Lets say of the 5-7 LCACs carried in an ARG, you can displace 2. So, it takes something like 3-4 hours to get all your initial wave ashore, not real fast. And you still only get there with the same capability. Sometimes going a little slower gets you their “firstest with the mostest”. Yes the LSD/LPD is vulnerable, but only once and then it withdrawls and uses LCACs.
    4. Both systems would be as flexible in landing choice since they have the exact same amphibious vehicle. Factor in multiple trips and it is far better to have one 20kt ship versus 2 or 3 30kt connectors.
    5. Cost. OK, if you use a dedicated landing ship and a dedicated APC you may have an argument (poor in my estimation) that it might be cheaper albeit less flexible or you get a better IFV. Your idea is neither, you use the same amphibious vehicle, no different than what the USMC just asked for. In no scenario I have ever seen, would you use less than a company of troops (13 ACVs same as on an LSD) together, so basically, you add more stuff and complexity (new vehicle, more crews, new training pipelines, more program office personnel, new development and R&D, etc) and you expect it to be cheaper. Check out the price of a LCAC someday, your L-CAT won’t be a lot cheaper. So it merely comes down to the cost of the ship, which at 50nm is still close enough to the shore to be attacked by ASCMs. 13nm from shore, in the majority of the world, is still clear of minefields, shoals, and other nav hazards. If we are willing to send the Marines ashore, the Navy should be willing to share some of the risks. And right now, given the state of funding and numerous requirements, a good enough replacement for the AAV is good enough.

    I don’t, and didn’t, argue for the EFV. It was a bridge too far which we shouldn’t repeat. Clearly a case of better being the worst enemy of good enough. But I think the new RFI seems to point to the right vehicle with the right mix of capabilities. Time will tell.

  • Lowly USN (retired)

    Proper planning, accuracy and speed in execution are key elements in victory. The Marine Corps, I would reason, needs the multipurpose EFV.

    Is the Corps guilty of inadequate/unsatisfactory EFV Program Management? If so, how did this failure in leadership happen and why was it allowed to continue to the point of causing this valuable weapons platform to be scuttled?

    Semper Fi!!!

  • Al L.

    USNVO,

    You have good arguements, let me further explain.

    “Bottom line, your boat will displace your LCACs reducing total lift available for follow on forces.”

    Not true. Let me introduce a concept I’ll call lift density. It is the tonnage of payload a platform can carry x the speed it can carry it, divided by the square footage of well deck space the platform occupies. Using the L-CAT as an example: it lifts approximately twice the load of an LCAC in slightly less square footage at half the speed. Do the math. The delivered payload per square foot of welldeck is almost exactly the same. But it costs less.

    So yes it displaces the LCAC but it provides both amphibious assault vehicle transport to a place 10+ miles from shore up to 100+ miles from the ship efficiently, as well as equaling the LCAC in lift for the 2nd phase. Not only that but it can also provide lift and endurance competitve with the LCUs.

    The current doctrine of the USMC DOES NOT use AAV/EFV lift and LCAC lift to the defended coast from the same ship at the same time. In fact since LPD-17 is the preferred AAV/EFV platform the LCACs will have to be disembarked and orbited around the ship before the AAVs/EFVs are launched. If the ship must approach within 15 miles of the landing zone this will be a dead give away of intentions as well as an invitation for complete disruption of the assault and follow on lift by any fire from artillery to MLRS systems to ASMs (the 1st 2 being preferred by a smart opponent)(as well as a complete waste of the LPD-17 class L.O. design.)

    There is little or less cost and reduced risk in adopting a 2 stage assault system based on current waterform technologies.

    The EFV was a 1980’s concept. LCAC is a 1970’s concept. The USMC should be agile and should do better.

  • USNVO

    Al L.,

    Your points are accurate but… The LCAC, being a hovercraft can do things that a waterborne craft can’t. Like fly over outlying sandbars and reefs, approach beaches that are too shallow to float a landing craft, fly over mudflats to solid ground ashore, etc, not to mention being less vulnerable to anti-invasion mines. The L-CAT can’t. As an LCU replacement it may be fine, as a LCAC replacement, it severely limits you tactically. If there is no threat, waterborne craft are great because they are cheaper, more reliable, and carry a lot more, but they have significant limitations on where they can beach. LCACs are far more expensive, but we bought the capability to dramatically expand the available landing beaches.

    The L-CAT may be the best choice for the LCU replacement, time will tell, but it really doesn’t effect the need or requirements for a ACV. However you slice it, the USMC needs a amphibious vehicle that can be a good enough assault vehicle and a good enough tactical vehicle. The problem with the EFV program, at least in my opinion, is that the USMC was to fixed to the unrealistic requirements. You can be a good IFV, a good amphibian, or cheap. Pick any two.

    On a positive note, the development for the electrical systems for the EFV are pretty well finished. Change the hull and propulsion systems, go with a normal diesel engine, integrate the existing electronics and weapons (although I would go with a remote turret instead of a manned one), and you would have something pretty close to what you want at a price you can afford to pay. The ACV program seems to be headed this way, time will tell. But ultimately, you need a vehicle that you can afford and works with your existing infrastructure.

    The LAV was as a good enough solution. The entire vehicle cost less than the turret on a Bradley. Not great, but affordable, good enough for the mission, and with the ability to be upgraded as the price of technology allows. That is the mentality we need to use again.

  • JamesinTN

    I know my opinion is less knowledgable than some others on this site but IMHO the Navy and Marines need to reinvest in Amphib.

    A landing ship capable of carrying a troop carrier capable as stated above operating onshore and manuvering with tanks.

    And some LST’s for the Heavier vehicles a modern battlfields demands.

    This of course would require Naval vessels capable of backing up these forces. so once again i propose a new Destroyer with a couple of these.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8%22/55_caliber_Mark_71_gun

  • V, Frank Colangelo

    LCACs are indeed the most versatile transportation element in a Ship-to-Shore operation. I would like to introduce a concept described in the current ASNE’s NEJ paper in which it is shown how the existing fleet can easily double its LCAC capacity with a simple stern appendage. Yes, there would be air capability trade-offs during the sea transit, but it would be restored as soon as the LCACs were off-loaded at the theater. These surge LCACs could easily deliver non-swimmers such as a land-only EFV to shore in larger numbers than previously studied. The forced-entry emphasis is to saturate and confuse the enemy defenses.

    The paper is entitled: “The L4 LCAC System: Prospects for 3.0 MEB AEs in Sea Basing 21,” and can be downloaded from ASNE’s website. Though it mainly addressis increased capability potential for the amphib fleet in terms of meeting/exceeding Congressional dictates, it promotes the ability to transport additional LCACs, e.g. LPD 17’s 2 LCACs to 5 capability.

  • NuLight

    It is interesting that there is no discussion of the ONR T-Craft program for high-speed mass transport of non-amphibious wheeled or tracked vehicles for the USMC. The operating concept of delivering combat ready, intact fighting units to any area accessible by an LCAC, at LCAC speeds, is far more of a game changer than piling on a bunch more LCAC, replacing the LCUs, or building a new ACV that will never operate effectively in the water environment.

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