Whichever course the Marine Corps takes in replacing its aging fleet of Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV), it will have to come at a cost that saves money to allow the service to pursue other vehicle programs, the Marine deputy commandant for combat development and integration said yesterday.
The AAV replacement is “going to have to fit into a strategy of financial restraint,” Lt. Gen. Richard Mills said, as the Pentagon is looking at $480 billion in spending reductions over the next 10 years.
The Marine Corps has been conducting an analysis to determine the requirements for a new Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) since the Pentagon a year ago announced plans to cancel the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), which had faced cost concerns.
A host of concepts are under consideration, from wheeled vehicles to landing craft and self-deployable tractors, or “a slightly improved AAV to a vehicle designed perhaps to give us what we need right now that we can add to in the future to give us what it is that we want,” Mills said at an event hosted by the Navy League.
Keeping costs in check on the ACV will help the Marines leverage savings that can be used to procure other vehicles, such as the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) being developed with the Army and envisioned as the eventual replacement for the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HUMVEE).
Congress has been skeptical about the services’ need for JLTV at its cost, with some members calling instead for armor upgrades and modernization to the Humvee fleet. The Army and Marines say they need JLTV to meet future threats.
The Army and Marine Corps are expected this month to issue a solicitation for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase for the JLTV. The two services have worked to iron out differences in defining requirements for the JLTV, with the Army wanting a heavier version with more armor, while the Marines have pushed for a lighter, more mobile vehicle.
“We’ve arrived at a series of requirements to meet both of those that will give us an adaptable vehicle that will be easy to transport, easy to deploy, yet once ashore will be cable of protecting the individuals inside,” Mills said.