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Can We Afford The AAAV

Can We Afford The AAAV?


CSC 1995


Subject Area - Logistic






Title: Can We Afford the AAAV?


Author: Major M. M. Brogan, United States Marine Corps


Thesis: Due to the warfighting deficiencies of the AAV7-AI and its inability to perform on

the battlefield of the 21st century, the Marine Corps must procure the AAAV.


Background: The AAV7-A1 was originally fielded in 1971. Despite a Service Life

Extension Program from 1983 to 1986 and a significant Product Improvement Program

begun 1987, the vehicle possesses some serious warfighting deficiencies that limit its

operational effectiveness. The AAV7-A1 lacks the battlefield mobility and cross country

agility to operate with the M1A1 main battle tank. It wallows at the same low water speed

as its World War II predecessors. The AAV7-A1's weapon systems cannot be sighted to

their effective ranges at night or in battlefield obscurants and the weapons lack the necessary

lethality to defeat threat systems projected for the 2005 to 2025 timeframe. The vehicle

provides insufficient armor and nuclear, biological, and chemical protection for both the

crew and embarked Marines. The AAV7-A1 is unable to perform the type of combat

missions envisioned by the Marine Corps' emerging 'Operational Maneuver from the Sea'

concept of operations. After evaluating various alternative systems to replace the AAV7-A1,

the Marine Corps chose and began development of the AAAV. A requirements-based

program, the AAAV will address all of the deficiencies of the current vehicle and will be

designed to meet the future needs of the Marine Corps. It will provide the Marine Corps the

opportunity to conduct over-the-horizon amphibious assaults that reach seamlessly from ships

to objectives ashore. The ocean and inland waterways will become high-speed avenues of

approach, rather than obstacles to maneuver. On land, the AAAV will provide Marines the

battlefield mobility required to generate the high tempo of operations embodied in maneuver



Recommendation: Despite the AAAV's significant acquisition and procurement costs, the

Marine Corps must proceed with development and fielding of the AAAV if we are to remain

a relevant, capable, and effective fighting force.




Just like we cannot have infantrymen without rifles, we cannot have a Marine Corps

without amphibious vehicles.


Colonel James M. Feigley, USMC

Direct Reporting Program Manager

Advanced Amphibious Assault


During the fall of 1994, General Carl E. Mundy, Jr., the Commandant of the


Marine Corps, presented his views on the state of the Marine Corps to the 1994/95


Marine Corps Command and Staff College students. The Commandant stated that


acquisition of the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) was the number


one priority ground weapons system for the Marine Corps. As part of the same


presentation, General Mundy indicated that today's Amphibious Assault Vehicle, the


AAV-7A1, is already older than M-2A2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) fleet


will be when the U.S Army plans to field its replacement. The Army intended to


replace the Bradley with the conceptionaI Future Infantry Fighting Vehicle (FIFV), as


part of the Armored Systems Modernization Program.1


In this era of fiscal restraint and diminishing resources, the Army delayed and


restructured its program, but the point is instructive.2 To remain effective and viable


on the 21st century battlefield, the Army is already thinking about the Bradley's


replacement. The Marine Corps' primary surface assault and ground combat/mobility


platform, the AAV-7A1, is much older than the Bradley.3 Because of its age and


inherent deficiencies, the AAV struggles to perform its current mission. It cannot


execute all aspects of 'Operational Maneuver from the Sea,' and it will not be able to


compete on the future battlefield. The Marine Corps needs to proceed with the


development and acquisition of the AAAV.


A Mission Area Analysis (MAA) conducted in 1987 identified specific


deficiencies in the Marine Corps' amphibious assault capability. The MAA


determined that the AAV-7A1 demonstrated significant shortcomings in offensive and


defensive firepower, water speed, land speed, agility and mobility, armor protection


and overall system survivability (during both water and land operations). In 1991, the


Marine Corps completed two additional MAAs. These analyses validated the findings


of the 1987 MAA and identified the following additional shortcomings in the AAV-


7A1: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) protection; vehicle visual, magnetic,


electro-magnetic, acoustic, aural and infrared signatures; fire sensing and suppression;


and protection against directed energy weapons.4


The overwhelming consensus of the three MAAs was that the Marine Corps


should develop and field a replacement system for the AAV-7A1.5 Few would argue


with this conclusion, particularly given the length of time it takes to develop, procure,


and field a new weapon system.


The current family of assault amphibious vehicles, the AAV-7A1 (Personnel,


Command and Recovery variants), is based on 1960's technology.6 They have been


in service in the Marine Corps since 1971--24 years. During that time, the vehicle


has acquitted itself well in both combat and training. It has seen combat in Lebanon,


Grenada, Southwest Asia, and Somalia. For nearly two and one half decades,


Marines have operated AAVs in exercises around the world, but it is time the Marine


Corps developed a replacement. Though also true of the Marine Corps' CH-46 and


UH-1 helicopters, the current AAV is older than nearly all of the Marines who


operate it.


An unsung hero of the war in Southwest Asia, the AAV significantly increased


the combat power of the I Marine Expeditionary Force (IMEF) by providing combat


mobility for both infantrymen and combat engineers. The Mk-157, 3-shot mine lane


clearing device, an AAV add-on kit, played a key role when I MEF breached the two


Iraqi mine fields during the MEF's attack into Kuwait. For Iraqi forces garrisoned in


Kuwait, the AAV also added credibility to the surface assault capability of the two


Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEBs) afloat. Stationed off Kuwait's coast, the


MEBs presented an amphibious threat that kept up to six Iraqi divisions and numerous


artillery units facing the beach, thus reducing the defenses faced by I MEF.


During operations in Somalia, AAVs from the forward deployed Marine


Expeditionaly Unit and from the Maritime Prepositioning Force allowed Marines to


range throughout the countryside and reach the interior of the country. Often Marines


mounted in AAVs operated more than 100 kilometers from Mogadishu. Despite its


proven usefulness and operational successes, the AAV-7A1 has some significant


limitations and deficiencies including its age, water-speed, mobility, lethality, and




The AAV-7A1's technology is obsolete, and it wallows at the same low water


speed as its World War II predecessors. It lacks the land speed and cross-country


agility to keep pace with the M-1A1 main battle tank and does not possess sufficient


firepower to defeat projected threat vehicles of the 2005 to 2025 time frame. Since


the AAV has one of the tallest vehicle silhouettes on the battlefield, it is easy to target


and difficult to hide. Its aural and infrared signatures permit easy detection, yet it


provides inadequate armor and NBC protection for both the crew and the embarked


troops. The AAV also lacks a multi-occurrence fire suppression system.


The AAV-7A1 is wearing out. It is under-powered and over-weight and is


becoming more difficult and expensive to maintain. The weight growth in the vehicle


due to the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) and Product Improvement


Program (PIP) has exceeded the design weight of the suspension system and


exacerbates the maintenance problems in the engine and transmission. The aluminum


hulls are deteriorating from metal fatigue, particularly in critical stress areas like the


final drive, idler wheel, and suspension attachment points. Design deficiencies from


the original Landing Vehicle Tracked - 7 (LVT-7) remain in the AAV-7A1's final


drives, power train, suspension, and transmission, and neither the SIP or the PIP


have adequately addressed these shortcomings.


The current vehicle does not have a weapon system with sufficient lethality to


defeat light armored combat vehicles projected for the 2005 to 2025 time frame. The


AAV-7A1's weapon systems (coaxially mounted .50 caliber machine gun and 40 mm


grenade launcher) cannot be sighted during reduced light conditions or through


battlefield obscurants to the effective range of the weapons. Because it lacks a


stabilized weapon, gunners cannot deliver accurate fire against stationary and moving


targets when the vehicle is moving on land or in the water. The vehicle does not


possess any anti-tank guided missile counter measures.8


The AAV-7A1 vehicle hull provides oniy limited front and side protection


against small arms (7.62 mm beyond 300 meters) and only limited overhead


protection against artillery fragments (105 mm at 15 meters).9 With the addition of


the Enhanced Applique Armor Kit (EAAK), a bolt-on system built in Israel, this level


of armor protection was significantly improved (14.5 mm beyond 300 meters on the


sides and 152/155 mm at 15 meters overhead). However, adding the 4,500 pound


armor kit further degraded the vehicle's cross country mobility and agility and


aggravated suspension and power train maintenance problems.


The AAV's forced air filtration system, which supplies fresh air to the vehicle


crew in an NBC environment, is inadequate and does not provide any support to the


embarked troops. Other than the protection provided by the vehicle's hull, the AAV-


7A1 provides no collective NBC defense for the embarked Marines. The vehicle also


lacks the capability to detect or monitor NBC agents.


The AAV-7A1 lacks the requisite battlefield mobility or cross country agility


to operate in conjunction with the M-1A1 main battle tank. The SLEP and PIP


increased the vehicle's weight, raised its center of gravity, and lowered its ground


clearance. Since the final drives are vulnerable and the ride quality is poor, the


vehicle must slow to negotiate obstacles easily traversed by tanks. Its night driving


system possesses a limited field of view. The system does not allow the driver to


operate at night or in battlefield obscurants as part of a high-speed, mechanized task


force at night or in battlefield obscurants.


How did the Marine Corps get in this predicament? The Marine Corps


originally fielded the LVT-7 as an interim vehicle with an expected service life of ten


years.10 The Marine Corps bought the LVT-7 to bridge the gap between its


predecessor, the LVT-5 (fielded in 1952 with 1940's technology), and its planned


replacement, either the Landing Vehicle Assault (LVA) or the Landing Vehicle


Tracked - Experimental [LVT (X)].11 The LVT-7 contractor designed the vehicle


for a mission profile that projected 80% of its operations in water and 20% on land.


However, on 1 January 1977, the name of the LVT-7 was changed to the AAV-7 and


its mission profile was reversed to 20% water operations and 80% land operations.


This change left the Marine Corps with a major weapon system performing a mission


for which it was not designed.12


As early as 1974,13 the Marine Corps recognized the shortfalls in the AAV-7


family of vehicles and began a two-pronged program to develop a replacement


system.14 The LVA was the riskier, high-speed alternative. The Marine Corps


hoped that the LVA would perform amphibious assaults from over-the-horizon. The


LVT (X) was a more conservative, slow-speed alternative if the LVA technology


proved unfeasible. However, the LVT (X) would have provided the Marine Corps


only slightly more capability than the AAV-7.


In 1979, the Marine Corps canceled the LVA program. Technology for a


high-speed amphibious vehicle had not matured sufficiently, and there were significant


problems with affordability, maintainability, and vulnerability.15 The LVT(X), a


slow-speed alternative to the LVA, was to have been developed concurrently as a fall-


back position. But the program had floundered and not kept pace with the LVA.16


Funding constraints and the fact that it was only a marginal improvement over the


AAV-7 convinced the Marine Corps to cancel the program in 1985. Even if one of


these programs had been successful, the replacement system would not have been


fielded before the end of the expected life of the AAV-7 fleet.


Since a replacement vehicle was not available, the Marine Corps needed a way


to keep the AAV-7 operational well past the end of its expected ten-year service life.


To accomplish this, the AAV-7 underwent a SIP from 1983 to 1986. As a result of


the SLEP, the Marine Corps redesignated the AAV4 as the AAV-7A1. The Marine


Corps expected that this $1 billion effort would keep the AAV fleet active until the


Marine Corps fielded a replacement system. The purpose of the SIP was to


improve reliability, availability, and maintanability. The Marine Corps did not


intend to enhance the AAV's warfighting capabilities.


Consequently, the AAV-7A1 retained all of the deficiencies and limitations of


the AAV-7. Aware of these limitations, the Marine Corps embarked on "an extensive


product improvement program (PIP)"17 in 1987 to address some of the vehicle's


warfighting deficiencies. The PIP fielded the following product improvements: an


upgnnned weapons station, a bowplane, two separate versions of bolt-on, applique


armor, an automatic fire sensing and suppressing system, a magnetic heading device,


incorporation of the position location reporting system (PLRS), and an improved


transmission. Yet despite the SLEP and the PIP, the AAV-7A1 still could not meet


all of the operational requirements of the Marine Corps, particularly the emerging


over-the-horizon assault and maneuver warfare concepts.


The AAAV program addresses all of the deficiencies in the AAV-7A1. With


three times the water speed, it "will possess the requisite warfighting capabilities to


effectively support landing forces from the ships to inland objectives."18 The


AAAV's water mobility will support the 'Forward...From the Sea' and 'Operational


Maneuver from the Sea' concepts of operation and it will be compatible with naval


amphibious shipping of the 2005-2025 time frame. The AAAV will provide sufficient


land and sea mobility, offensive and defensive firepower, armor and NBC protection,


crying capacity, and reliability to operate successfully against the threat environment


of that period.19 The AAAV is the future of water-borne amphibious operations and


subsequent operations ashore if the Marine Corps hopes to actually conduct


'Operational Maneuver from the Sea.'


"The Marine Corps' requirement for the AAAV is based on the Department of


the Navy's overarching strategic concept 'Forward...From the Sea' and the Marine


Corps supplemental operational concept of 'Operational Maneuver from the Sea."20


The AAAV and amphibious operations embody one of the unique contributions the


Marine Corps makes to the nation's defense. Amphibious operations are the Corps'


raison d'etre and "as stated in the Senate Armed Services Committee's Fiscal Year


1995 language, the AAAV program 'addresses the core of the Marine Corps




Naval Expeditionary Forces continue to play a key role in national defense,


particularly in today's dynamic security environment. They provide strategic


deterrence and defense, forward presence, crisis response, and reconstitution. Since


most of the world's population lives within 50 miles of littoral regions, the unique,


amphibious assault capability provided by the Navy and Marine Corps are


indispensable in meeting the nation's security challenges.22 Naval Expeditionary


Forces and the offensive power they project through amphibious operations, remain a


necessary linchpin in the national defense strategy, especially as the overseas presence


of the U.S. armed forces diminishes.


The Naval Expeditionary Force brings a strong and credible forcible entry


capability, the amphibious assault, to a warfighting CINC's area of responsibility.


"Without an adjacent land base, the requisite, sustainable, forcible entry capability can


only come from the sea."23 As the nation faces an uncertain future with a shrinking


force, the marine Corps must be more, not less, capable. To prosecute his campaign


or respond to a myriad of contingencies, the CINC needs a wide spectrum of


capabilities at his disposal; he needs every available tool in his tool kit. The AAAV


will provide a quantum increase in power projection capability versus the AAV-7A1.


Failure to procure the AAAV and maintain the Marine Corps' ability to conduct an


amphibious surface assault needlessly eliminates one of the CINC's offensive options.


The Marine Corps is organized, trained, and equipped for service with the


Fleet to seize and defend advanced naval bases and to conduct such land operations as


may be essential to prosecute a naval campaign. It is this naval expeditionary


character which makes the Marine Corps unique among the armed forces of the


United States. Amphibious operations are the Marine Corps' forte; they are one of


the principal reasons we exist as a separate service.


The National Security Act of 1947 with its amendments is codified in Title 10


of the U. S. Code. These laws require the Marine Corps to develop the tactics,


techniques, and equipment used by landing forces to conduct amphibious operations.


Development of the AAAV helps fulfill this statutory requirement and contributes to


the Defense Department's efforts to maintain the U. S. military armored vehicle


industrial base.24 As the successor to the AAV-7A1, the Marine Corps will use the


AAAV in conjunction with LCACs and the MV-22 to conduct the assault during


amphibious operations.


As a requirements-based program, the contractors are designing the AAAV to


specifically meet the operational needs of the Marine Corps. Since the AAAV will be


a self-deploying, high-speed amphibian, the Marine Corps will conduct amphibious


assaults from over-the-horizon--a technique embodied in the 'Operational Maneuver


From the Sea' concept of operations. The AAAV will provide the Marine Corps its


first opportunity to close the battlefield mobility gap between ship and shore and link


maneuver at sea with maneuver ashore. Planners will think in terms of ship to


objective rather than ship to shore. To conduct successful amphibious operations,


combat power ashore must be rapidly built from an initial level of zero to the full


coordinated striking power required to successfully gain and maintain objectives


ashore.25 With the AAAV, the Marine Corps will seamlessly accomplish this rapid


build-up without stopping at the beach to regroup.


The AAAV program is expensive; some argue that it is too expensive. State


of the art, armored, amphibious vehicles are not cheap. The estimated Life Cycle


Cost of the entire AAAV fleet is $9 billion,26 and the anticipated unit cost is


approximately $4 million. However, this is the price the Marine Corps must be


willing to pay to remain a relevant, effective fighting force. The Marine Corps


cannot answer the question of affordability purely from a dollar standpoint, it must


also consider combat effectiveness. The AAAV will give the Marine Corps a


quantum increase in water speed, firepower, and operational capability and is essential


for the Marine Corps to fight in the 21st century.


A frequently proffered alternative to the AAAV acquisition is procurement of a


non-swimming IFV, such as the M-2A2/M-3A2 Bradley or the M-113A3, or the


purchase of additional Light Armored Vehicles (LAV-25). Landing Craft Air


Cushion (LCAC) would transport these IFV's to the shore. The Cost and Operational


Effectiveness Analysis (COEA) prepared by the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA)


specifically addressed this type of alternative.27


In preparing the COEA, CNA used the Department of the Navy Lift Study and


assumed an over-the-horizon MEF amphibious assault, with one Regimental Combat


Team as the surface assault element. The base case for the comparison, postulated


moving this force and its equipment from ship to shore in AAV-7A1's and LCAC's.


The COEA compared 13 alternative systems (12 plus the base case): three slow-


speed amphibians, a submersible vehicle, two high speed amphibians, five non-


amphibious vehicles delivered by LCAC's, an LCAC-delivered surface assault with


no armored vehicles, and a helicopter-delivered assault with oniy heavy equipment


landing by LCAC. To determine the most cost-effective weapon system, the COEA


analyzed the following parameters: (1) The total LCAC loads to land the surface


assault element of a MEF using the various systems under consideration; (2) The total


time required to land the surface assault element ashore using a fixed quantity of


LCAC's; (3) The percent of combat power delivered ashore as a function of time in


each of the two previous cases; (4) A comparison of the effects these scenarios had on


amphibious lift requirements, personnel requirements, and quantities of equipment.28


In each case, adopting a non-swimming armored vehicle required additional


LCAC's or additional LCAC sorties to lift the assault echelon when compared to a


self-deploying, high-speed AAAV. Purchasing additional LCAC's to ferry the non-


swimming vehicles adds hidden costs, the price of the LCAC's, to acquisition price of


the armored vehicle. These cases also required additional amphibious ships (and


Navy crews) to lift the LCAC's. Finally, because the troop payload of all of the non-


swimming, armored vehicles is less than the AAAV, this alternative requires more


infantry fighting vehicles and more vehicle crewman. It also requires a compensatory


reduction somewhere else in the Marine Corps's end-strength. This is not to say that


the Bradley and the other non-swimming candidates are not good armored vehicles.


They excel performing the missions for which they were designed, but they are not


suited to play a major role in amphibious assaults.


Another frequently cited alternative is to forego surface assault completely and


do amphibious operations as purely helicopter-borne assaults. The COEA explored


this alternative. To move two regiments ashore simultaneously, as is currently the


case when one regiment goes by surface and one goes by air, requires 96 additional


airframes (CH-60s were used in the study) and 384 additional crewman. Though this


alternative resulted in a savings in LCACs, it required additional airframes, helicopter


crewman, and amphibious ships to carry, support, and spot the additional helicopters.


This option also conveniently ignores the fact that surface means (LCACs) must still


deliver a significant amount of heavy equipment: tanks, artillery, trucks, engineer


assets, and LAVs.


The greatest problem with doing an operation entirely by air is that after


arriving in the landing zone, the helicopters depart and the infantryman is left to his


own devices. What he can carry on his back limits how far and how fast he can


march. Clearly, he no longer has battlefield mobility anywhere near that provided


him by an armored, tracked vehicle, and he will be hard-pressed to develop the high


tempo of operations contemplated in maneuver warfare.


The Marine Corps must also determine that if it is going to perform only


helicopter-borne operations, then maybe the nation no longer needs Marines. After


all, pundits will argue that the Army has units dedicated to helicopter-borne assaults


and has even conducted them from aboard ship as we saw during Operation


RESTORE DEMOCRACY in Haiti. The Marine Corps certainly does not want to be


in the unenviable position of defending its existence if it no longer possesses the


capability to conduct surface-borne amphibious assaults.


The AAAV will help ensure the success of what military writers often refer to


as the most complex operation, the amphibious assault, by making the movement of


the assault forces from amphibious shipping to objectives ashore a seamless operation.


As envisioned by the 'Operational Maneuver from the Sea' concept, the ocean and


inland waterways will become high-speed avenues of approach to littoral regions,


rather than obstacles to projecting combat power. Because the AAAV will self-


deploy from amphibious shipping, the LCAC's will be free "to carry the tanks,


artillery, heavy equipment, and logistics; the mission they were designed to


perform. "29 As outlined in the COEA, the AAAVILCAC combination moves more


of the MEF's combat power across the beach faster than any of the alternative


systems analyzed.30


Because the AAAV will be capable of performing amphibious operations from


over-the-horizon (20 to 25+ miles), it will help protect the force by providing real


stand-off (battlespace) for the Naval Task Force. This battlespace allows the ships to


effectively employ both active and passive defenses against enemy air and surface


fired weapons and avoids the major sea mine threat near the beach. For the landing


force, this tactic deceives the enemy about our true intention(s), forces him into a


mobile defense, and facilitates the achievement of tactical surprise at the point of


main effort.31


Once ashore, the AAAV will continue to provide Marine infantry forces


armor-protected mobility and firepower to support all facets of ground combat


operations.32 Unlike transport helicopters, which deliver their passengers and return


to amphibious ships or operating bases, the AAAV remains with the infantry to


provide maneuverability.


With the draw down of the U.S. armed forces, it is likely that even in those


instances where the Marine Corps provides an enabling force to allow the introduction


of the Army, the Marine Corps will remain in the theatre and conduct sustained land


operations alongside the Army. In this environment, the AAAV will provide the


Marine Corps with a truly effective combat system capable of fighting and surviving


in the 21st century.


Unfortunately, it will take some time to field this new system. Even if the


AAAV program were to sail through all of the acquisition, fiscal, and contracting


hurdles without additional schedule slips, the last AAV-7A1 would not leave the


Marine Corps until 2011, an incredible 40 years alter its introduction. This means


that the AAV crewman who will operate these venerable vehicles before the last


AAV-7A1s leave service, are today wearing diapers--a truly sobering thought!


The AAAV program has languished for a number of years. At its inception,


the program received less than unanimous support from the Marine Corps hierarchy,


mainly because of the projected costs. As mentioned earlier, the AAAV is not an


inexpensive program. It takes a significant amount of money to develop, test, and


field 1,013 new high-speed, armored amphibious vehicles. (Table 1 outlines the


AAAV fielding plan.) However, the AAAV will provide significantly more combat


power than the AAV-7A1 it replaces and it is the most cost-effective replacement


option. (Table 2 compares several characteristics of the AAV-7A1 and the AAAV.)


In the past, Naval Sea Systems Command procured amphibious vehicles for


the Marine Corps in a manner analogous to the way Naval Air Systems Command


acquires Marine Corps aircraft. Headquarters Marine Corps, the Marine Corps


Research Development and Acquisition Command and its predecessor, the Marine


Corps Development and Education Command provided input and operational


requirements to the Naval Sea Systems Command program manager. But the Navy


ran the program! Unlike previous amphibious vehicles, the AAAV is being managed


by a Marine Corps Program Office, the Direct Reporting Program Manager for


Advanced Amphibious Assault (DRPM AAA).33 The program manager, a Marine


Colonel reports to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and


Acquisition. Because of this high level of scrutiny, and because of the projected


costs34, the AAAV is much more visible than the previous amphibious vehicle


programs managed from within the Naval Sea Systems Command.


The AAAV program began the formal acquisition process by passing


Milestone 0 and entering the Concept Exploration / Definition (CE/D) phase during


the Summer of 1988. In November 1991, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council


validated the Marine Corps' AAAV requirement. During CE/D, DRPM AAA, with


the help of CNA, government laboratories and defense contractors, considered 13


alternative systems to replace the AAV-7AI. As a result of the analyses, various


studies, and experiments, the Marine Corps determined that the Advanced


Amphibious Vehicle-Fast (AAAV-F) was the preferred alternative to meet the


operational requirements needed in a replacement system for the AAV-7A1.35


Despite its significant cost to both the Marine Corps and the nation, the


AAAV is an indispensable component in future amphibious assaults. The AAAV will


be "one of the most all-around credible weapons systems in the world. It will be


capable of contributing, surviving, and winning on the battlefield of the 21st


century."36 The competing contractor teams and government laboratories have


performed several significant risk reduction studies and experiments to ensure that the


AAAV is a cost-effective solution to the Marine Corps' requirements. The AAAV


program is extremely mature for a program beginning the second phase of the formal


acquisition process, Demonstration and Validation.37


If the Marine Corps is to remain the relevant, ready, capable force that


General Mundy frequently describes, we must proceed with the AAAV procurement.


Can we afford the AAAV? We cannot afford not to! Let's get on with it.


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1. Center for Naval Analyses, "Advanced Amphibious Assault (AAA) Program Cost

and Operational Effectiveness Analysis (COEA): Ship-to-Shore Analysis,"

unpublished Research Memorandum written by George Akst and David Brenner.

Contract No. N00014-87-C-0001. July 1990, 6,7, and 14. Hereafter cited as

COEA #1.


2. Due to fiscal constraints, the Army has delayed and restructured the Armored

Systems Modernization Program. It is pursuing a less ambitious program to upgrade

a portion of the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle fleet to the A3 configuration and a

portion to the A4 configuration.


3. The Army began fielding the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle in 1980, when FMC

Corporation delivered the first 100 vehicles. The next 400 vehicles were produced and

delivered in 1981.


4. Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Requirements Division,

"Operational Requirements Document (ORD) for the Advanced Amphibious Assault

Vehicle (AAAV) (NO, MOB 22.1)," unpublished government document. March,

1994, 6. Hereafter cited as ORD.


5. Office of the Direct Reporting Program Manager, Advanced Amphibious Assault,

"The Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle," an unpublished, undated Point Paper,

3. Hereafter cited as AAAV Point Paper.


6. When the AAV-7A1 first entered the Marine Corps, it was designated the Landing

Vehicle Tracked-7 (LVT-7). The redesignation to AAV-7 and the model change to

AAV-7A1 are discussed later in the paper.


7. Commandant of the Marine Corps letter to Commanding General (M&L

Division), Marine Corps Development and Education Command, LMW/40-rtc,

8410/20100, subject: "LVT7A1 Deficiencies," 7 May 1981 (Hereafter cited as

LVT7A1 Deficiencies] and Commandant of the Marine Corps letter to Commanding

General (G-4), Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, LMW/40-rtc, 8410/20100, subject:

"LVT7AI Program," 8 June 1981.


8. ORD, 8, 9, and 10.


9. LVT7A1 Deficiencies.


10. AAAV Point Paper, 3; Commandant of the Marine Corps, "Work Directive

C0021-0-1-7," an unpublished document dated 6 December 1976; and Payne, Inc.

Report No. 117-6, "Landing Vehicle Assault Technology, Volume I," unpublished

report funded by Office of Naval Research. Contract No. N00014-74-C-O264.

October 1974, 1. Hereafter cited as Payne Report.


11. Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command letter to Booz Allen Applied

Research, Inc., PMS 300/FFB, NO0O24-75-C-2013, NO0O24-75-C-2104, Ser 603,

subject: "Contracts NO0O24-75-C-2013 and N00024-75-C-2104 LVT7 SLEP

Analysis; Glossary of Terms for," 1 April 1975. Also, Payne Report, 1.


12. AAAV Point Paper, 3.


13. Payne Report, 1.


14. Richard M. Jensen, Major USMC, Project Officer, Direct Reporting Program

Manager Advanced Amphibious Assault, interview by author, 11 February 1995.

Hereafter cited as Jensen Interview.


15. Center for Naval Analyses, "Comparison of AAAV Options and AAAV Delivery

Craft," unpublished Research Memorandum written by Mel E. LeVan. Contract No.

N00014-87-C-0001, December 1988, 1.


16. Jensen Interview.


17. ORD, 8.


18. ORD, 10.


19. AAAV Point Paper, 1 and 2.


20. Robert C. Jenks, Chief Warrant Officer - 2, USMC, "AAAV: Future in

Amphibious Warfare," Marines, 1995, 16; AAAV Point Paper, 2; and Marine Corps

Combat Development Command, Requirements Division, "Advanced Amphibious

Assault Vehicle (AAAV)," unpublished Information Paper written by Major Thomas

F. Collins, Jr., USMC, AAAV Requirements Officer, 19 October 1994, 1, 2, and 3.


21. AAAV Point Paper, 2.


22. ORD, 1.


23. ORD, 2.


24. AAAV Point Paper,6.


25. ORD, 3.


26. Center for Naval Analyses, "Advanced Amphibious Assault Program Cost and

Operational Effectiveness Analysis (COEA)," unpublished briefing slides prepared by

George Akst, Dwight Lyons, and Pete Kusek, 1994, 10, 17, 18, 22, 26, 31, and 33.


27. COEA #1, 5-7, 12-14. According to Mr. Richard Bayard, Head of the Systems

Engineering Branch, Direct Reporting Program Manager, Advanced Amphibious

Assault, the estimated Life Cycle Cost (LCC) to provide the equivalent lift with

Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles is $26 billion--nearly three times the estimated

LCC of the AAAV program.


28. COEA #1,2 and 3.


29. Office of the Direct Reporting Program Manager, Advanced Amphibious

Assault, "The Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle," an unpublished and undated

point paper.


30. COEA #1, 19, 21, 25, 27, 29-33.


31. ORD, 3 and 4.


32. ORD, 4 and 5.


33. The Office of the Direct Reporting Program Manager, Advanced Amphibious

Assault was formed in July, 1990 by combining elements of three separate offices:

Code LMW-40 from Headquarters Marine Corps, Code PMS-300 from Naval Sea

Systems Command, and Code CBAV from the Marine Corps Research Development

and Acquisition Command. DRPM AAA is a chartered Program Manager tasked

with developing the replacement system for the AAV-7A1.


34. The $9 billion dollar projected Life Cycle Cost of the AAAV program is roughly

equal to the entire Fiscal Year 1995 budget of the Marine Corps.


35. ORD, 6.


36. AAAV Point Paper, 1.


37. On 17 March 1995, the AAAV Program received a favorable Acquisition

Decision Memorandum (ADM) from the Defense Acquisition Board. The ADM

marks the program's transition of Milestone I and entry into the Demonstration and

Validation Phase of the formal acquisition process. This significant event validates

that the Marine Corps has a valid need for the AAAV and that the AAAV program is

on track.


38. ORD, 26.


39. "AAAV Beachhead 2000," an unpublished promotional brochure prepared by

General Dynamics, Land Systems Division, Warren, MI and also information provided

by the Office of the Direct Reporting Program Manager Advanced Amphibious Assault.


40. Technical Manual (TM) 09674A-25&PI4, Maintenance Insturctions and Repair Parts

List Organizational, Intermediate, and Depot Assault Amphibious Vehicle, Personnel,

Model 7A1, AAVP7AI, (Washington, DC: United States Marine Corps, November

1992), 1-2 and 1-3.




References Cited


Akst, George and Brenner, David (1990). "Advanced Amphibious Assault (AAA)

Program Cost and Operational Effectiveness Analysis (COEA): Ship-to-Shore

Analysis" Center for Naval Analyses. Alexandria, Virginia.


Akst, George; Lyons, Dwight and Kusek, Pete (1994). "Advanced Amphibious

Assault Program Cost and Operational Effectiveness Analysis (COEA)" Center

for Naval Analyses. Alexandria, Virginia.


Bayard, Richard. Head, Systems Engineering Branch, Office of the Direct Reporting

Program Manager Advanced Amphibious Assault. Interview by author, 7

April 1995.


Collins, Jr., Thomas F. Major, USMC. AAAV Requirements Officer (1994).

"Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV)." Information Paper.

Requirements Division, Warfighting Directorate, Marine Corps Combat

Development Command. Quantico, Virginla.


Commandant of the Marine Corps. Letter to Commanding General (M&L Division)

Marine Corps Development and Education Command. LMW/40-rtc,

8410/20100. Subject: "LVT7A1 Deficiencies." 7 May 1981.


Commandant of the Marine Corps. Letter to Commanding General (G-4), Fleet

Marine Force, Atlantic. LMW/40-rtc, 8410/20100. Subject: "LVT7A1

Program." 8 June 1981.


Commandant of the Marine Corps. "Work Directive C0021-0-1-7." 6 December



Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command. Letter to Booz Allen Applied Research,

Inc. PMS 30O/FFB, N00024-75-C-2013, N00024-75-C-2104, Ser 603.

Subject: "Contracts N00024-75-C-2013 and NO0O24-75-C-2104. LVT7 SLEP

Analysis; Glossary of Terms for." 1 April 1975.


Feigley, James M. Colonel, USMC (1995). Conversation with the author.


General Dynamics, Land Systems Division (1994). "AAAV Beachhead 2000."


Jenks, Robert C. Chief Warrant Officer - 2, USMC (1995). "AAAV: The Future in

Amphibious Warfare," Marines. Washington, D.C.


Jensen, Richard M. Major, USMC. Project Officer, Office of the Direct Reporting

Program Manager Advanced Amphibious Assault. Interview by author, 11

February 1995.


LeVan, Mel E. (December, 1988). "Comparison of AAAV Options and AAAV

Delivery Craft" Center for Naval Analyses. Alexandria, Virginia.


Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Requirements Division, Warfighting

Directorate (March 1994). "Operational Requirements Document for the

Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle." Quantico, Virginia.


Office of the Direct Reporting Program Manager, Advanced Amphibious Assault

(undated). "The Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV)." Point

Paper. Washington, D.C.


Office of the Direct Reporting Program Manager, Advanced Amphibious Assault

(undated). "The Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle." Point Paper.

Washington, D.C.


Payne, Inc. Report No. 117-6. "Landing Vehicle Assault Technology, Volume I,"

Unpublished research report funded by Office of Naval Research. Contract

No. N00014-74-C-0264. October 1974.


Technical Manual (TM)09674A-25&P/4. Maintenance Instructions and Repair Parts

List Organizational, Intermediate, and Depot, Assault Amphibious Vehicle,

Personnel, Model 7AI, AAVP7AI. Washington, DC. United States Marine

Corps. November 1992.


Other References


Bierly, Jerome F., Lieutenant Colonel, USMC and Seal, Thomas E. Major USMC.

"Over-the-Horizon Amphibious Operations." Marine Corps Gazette, July



Boomer, Walter E., Lieutenant General, USMC. "Conventional Operations as

Sea-based Forces." Perspectives in Warfighting, No. 2, Vol. 1. (undated).


Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Report on the Roles, Missions, and Functions

of the Armed Forces of the United States (Washington, DC: February 1993)


Chase, Jr., F. C. Colonel, USMC. "Landing Vehicle Assault (LVA) Program."

Information Briefing. Washington, D.C., 1973.


Chase, Stub. Colonel, USMC (Retired). "Business as Usual." Amphibious Warfare

Review, Summer/Fall 1994.


Commandant of the Marine Corps. Letter to Distribution List. RDD-26-mrc.

Subject: "Required Operational Capability (ROC) No. MOB 1.05 for the

Landing Vehicle Assault (LVA)." 2 February 1978.


Commandant of the Marine Corps. Letter to Commanding General (M&L Division),

Marine Corps Development and Education Command. LMW/40-djh,

8410/20100. Subject: "LVT7A1 Collective Protective System." 23 March



Director, Development Center, Marine Corps Development and Education Command.

Letter to Chief, Mobility and Logistics Division and Others. D0111RP5:rps.

Subject: "LVT7A1 SLEP." 21 December 1976.


Gatchel, Theodore L. "A Matter of Style: Varying Approaches to the Challenges

of Amphibious War." Marine Corps Gazette, November 1992.


Gray, Alfred M., General, USMC (Retired). "Naval Expeditionary Forces and

Strategic Planning: Enhancing Options Available to the National Command

Authority." Perspectives on Warfighting, No. 2, Vol. 1. (undated).


Hoffman, Jon T. Major, USMCR. "Fustest with the Mostest." Proceedings,

November 1994.


"Key Role of the AAAV." Amphibious Warfare Review, Summer/Fall 1994.


Kitfield, James. "Send in the Marines: But Where?" Government Executive,

March 1992.


Kusek, Leonard J. (November, 1988). "Life-Cycle Costs of Advanced Amphibious

Assault System Candidates" Center for Naval Analyses. Alexandria, Virginia.


____. (January, 1991). "Life-Cycle Costs of Advanced Amphibious

Assault System Candidates" Center for Naval Analyses. Alexandria, Virginia.


____. (April, 1991). "Revised Life-Cycle Costs of Advanced Amphibious Assault

System Candidates" Center for Naval Analyses. Alexandria, Virginia.


Marine Corps Development and Education Command (1973). "Tentative Specific

Operational Requirement (TSOR), MOB-1.O5T, Landing Vehicle Assault



Office of the Direct Reporting Program Manager, Advanced Amphibious Assault

(20 April 1990). "Risk Management Plan for the Advanced Amphibious

Assault Vehicle."


Office of the Direct Reporting Program Manager, Advanced Amphibious Assault

(15 March 1991). "Test and Evaluation Master Plan for the Advanced

Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) Program."


Office of the Direct Reporting Program Manager, Advanced Amphibious Assault

(15 February 1994). "Integrated Logistics Support Plan (ILSP)."


Trainer, Bernard E. Lieutenant General, USMC (Retired). "Still go-ing...

Amphibious Warfare." Proceedings, November 1992.


Wode, Christopher M. Commander, U.S Navy. "Operational Maneuver... . From

the Sea.'" Amphibious Warfare Review. Summer/Fall 1994.


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