BAE Systems is set to deliver the first Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) to the Marine Corps starting in summer 2019, with the service to begin discussions on potential command and control and recovery variants by 2020, according to a company official.

John Swift, BAE System’s ACV program director, told reporters at the Modern Day Marine conference that assembly will begin in January, with a goal to eventually deliver two to five vehicles a month under the low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract as the Marine Corps looks to begin replacing its legacy Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) fleet.

BAE Systems' Amphibious Combat Vehicle at Modern Day Marine. Photo: Matthew Beinart.
BAE Systems’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle at Modern Day Marine. Photo: Matthew Beinart.

“BAE Systems embraces this opportunity, and we have now entered into a collaborative joint opportunity with the Marine Corps as we progress into the building of vehicles for LRIP Lot 1 for which the initial contract was for,” Swift said. “We know from the Marine Corps that there will be a family of vehicles going forward for ACV. And they have an eye to at least three variants.”

Modern Day Marine is the first time BAE Systems is showing ACV following the Marine Corps decision in June to select the vehicle over SAIC’s [SAIC] offering and awarded the company a $198 million LRIP contract for 30 vehicles (Defense Daily, June 19).

The first phase of the program will eventually include delivery of 204 vehicles, with the full buy of 704 ACV expected to be completed within six years, according to Swift.

Swift said the current base model of ACV is already able to demonstrate certain capabilities the Marine Corps is looking for when it moves to the program’s phase two, including the ability to launch from ship and travel 12 nautical miles.

The Marine Corps recently directed a stop work order to SAIC for the AAV survivability upgrade program, which Swift said won’t affect ACV’s timeline but signals a potential opportunity for the new vehicle to move into that territory.

“I think, and this is just my opinion, that the Marine Corps wanted to validate ship-to-shore and ship launch and recovery. And I think the one thing that was built to requirement in the ACV that the AAV couldn’t meet to the same level is survivability,” Swift said.  “So if you have a vehicle that can open swim and launch, and the ACV requirement has a very robust survivability requirement, that would certainly give them an avenue to go down.”

Swift said a decision on variants will arrive in 2020, with the Marine Corps expected to consider options for C2, turreted and recovery versions of the ACV.

The vehicle on display at Modern Day Marine showcased the potential C2 capabilities of the ACV, with a system on-board to fuse imaging intelligence from drones and robotic vehicles to create a common operating picture used to engage targets.

“At the tactical level, the operators can both see the target that’s in front of them and, on the strategic level, you can use the battle management screen to engage the target.”

With the click of a button, the vehicle commander can activate the turret to engage the target, or send the picture to another ACV in the area that may have a better chance at executing the operation. The system on board the C2 demo ACV is already integrated on certain military vehicles in Norway and Sweden, according to Swift.