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Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV)
Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV)

Program History

The Marine Corps initially had a requirement to procure 1,013 AAAVs. There were 1,322 USMC Assault Amphibious Vehicles (AAV7A1) planned to be replaced by 1,013 AAAVs beginning between 2005 and 2010. Prior to December 1994, the cost to develop and procure AAAVs was estimated at $7.2 billion (then-year dollars).

By the year 2010 EFV procurement quantity had been reduced to 573, total program cost had grown to $14,286,760,000, program unit cost had increased to $24,092,000. Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) is scheduled to begin in FY13. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and Full Operational Capability (FOC) will occur in FY16 and FY26, respectively.

The Marine Corps established the AAAV Program to fulfill a need for amphibious and land operations capability planned from FY06 to FY30. Due to budget constraints, DoD reduced AAAV funding in the FYDP by $189 million in December 1994. As a result, the Marine Corps extended the demonstration and validation phase 22 months and delayed procurement by 2 years, which increased the program's cost by $456 million, to $7.6 billion. As a result, low-rate initial production was delayed from FY03 to FY05. Initial operational capability was delayed from FY06 to FY08. Full operational capability, fielding all required AAAVs to the active assault amphibian battalions and the maritime prepositioning squadrons, was delayed from FY12 to FY14.

On March 17, 1995, the Defense Acquisition Executive approved the Milestone I decision for the AAAV Program to enter the demonstration and validation phase (now the program definition and risk-reduction phase) of the acquisition cycle. The Marine Corps awarded a development contract, M67854-96-C-0038, valued at $217 million, to General Dynamics Land Systems Division (the Contractor) on June 13, 1996. The Milestone II decision for engineering and manufacturing development was scheduled for January 2001. The Office of the Direct Reporting Program Manager (the Program Manager) managed the program and reported directly to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, and Acquisition).

In 1997, nearly the entire Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) team, over one hundred and fifty members, including the prime contractor staff and critical subcontractor personnel, Government and contractor secretaries, engineers, logisticians, computer programmers, and financial managers were given an unprecedented fleet and field exposure to the amphibious operational environment for the sole purpose of improving system design for support, readiness, and durability. The entire team was transported by bus to Norfolk, Virginia and taken on a two day amphibious exercise specifically designed to expose them to the systems' intended operating environment. Everyone rode and most drove amphibious vehicles on land and in the water side-by-side with the Marines of Delta Company, 2nd Amphibious Assault Battalion. The entire group of Government and private industry team members were housed aboard the Amphibious Assault Ships USS Tortuga and USS Oak Hill in troop living spaces for the exercise. The experience resulted in a significant improvement of the team's understanding of operational suitability, support and readiness that is now reflected in improvements in the AAAV design.

As of 31 December 1997, the AAAV Program was reported by the Inspector General of the Department of Defense to be 10 to 12 months ahead of the approved acquisition program baseline, the program cost estimates were reasonable, the acquisition reform initiatives reduced the risk in the AAAV Program, the C4I support plan ensured adequate consideration to the C4I requirements early in the AAAV development and acquisition, and the addition of the year-2000 requirement to the system specification assured that the AAAV Program would not incur costs attributable to the year-2000 problem.

As of 1998 the AAAV Program Management Office planned to build 14 AAAV prototypes. The Contractor was building three prototypes under the development contract for delivery commencing in January 2000, and the AAAV Program Management Office planned to use them for Developmental Testing I. The primary purpose of Developmental Testing I was to reduce program risk by identifying technical deficiencies of AAAV components and subsystems. The Contractor would build the remaining 11 AAAV prototypes during the engineering and manufacturing phase, with delivery in FY03. The 11 engineering and manufacturing versions of the AAAV prototypes were required for Developmental Testing II, which would focus on reliability, availability, maintainability, and deployability testing, certifying the AAAV for operational testing and safety certification, and determining supportability, training, and manpower requirements. In addition, the AAAV Program Management Office planned to use the 11 AAAV prototypes to conduct operational testing and live-fire testing.

The draft Test and Evaluation Plan did not address using the first three AAAV prototypes for Developmental Testing II, operational testing, or live-fire testing. As a result the Inspector General's 1998 audit questioned the AAAV Program Management Office about its plans for them. The Assistant Program Manager for the personnel version of the AAAV informed the Inspector General that the AAAV Program Management Office was reviewing how to use the first 3 AAAV prototypes once the 11 engineering and manufacturing versions of the AAAV prototypes were delivered. The AAAV Program Management Office was considering two options. One option was to have the Contractor refurbish the 3 prototypes to match the configuration of the 11 prototypes built, which would allow the AAAV Program Management Office to use the 3 vehicles to supplement the AAAVs needed for Developmental Testing II and operational testing. The second option would involve cannibalizing the 3 vehicles and using the components to reduce the production cost of the 11 prototypes. The Assistant Program Manager for the personnel version of the AAAV emphasized that it was too early in the development of the AAAV to decide on a course of action that would depend on the cost and the similarities between the prototype configurations.

System Development and Demonstration

The program received approval to enter the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) Phase of the acquisition process during the Milestone II Defense Acquisition Board Readiness Meeting held on 26 November 2000. In July 2001 the US Marine Corps awarded General Dynamics Land Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, a $712 million contract for the Systems Development and Demonstration phase of the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) program. Under the cost-reimbursable contract General Dynamics would provide all required material, services, personnel and facilities to complete the design and development of the AAAV, manufacture and test nine new prototypes, refurbish three early development prototypes, support the Marine Corps initial operational test and evaluation, and prepare for the production phase of the program.

The contract began the next phase in the development of the world's most advanced amphibious assault vehicle, which started with the award of the $200 million-plus demonstration/validation contract to General Dynamics Land Systems in June 1996. More than 500 General Dynamics employees and contractors, Marines and naval personnel in Woodbridge, Virginia, were expected to do engineering and assembly work on the nine new prototype vehicles. Testing was ongoing, and according to the DOT&E there had been concerns with regards to system reliability.

In 2002 the program was rebaselined. Prototypes were not delivered as anticipated and additional time was needed for reliability testing prior to the Milestone C decision, leading to a 12 month delay in the schedule. By 2003 the low-rate initial production decision was scheduled for FY05, with a planned Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of FY08, and Full Operational Capability (FOC) date of FY18.

By March 2003, the program was again rebaselined. DOD's Director, Operational Test and Evaluation directed more time be added for more robust operational testing prior to Milestone C, leading to another 12 month delay. In September 2003, DoD officially changed the name of the vehicle to the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), which was in keeping with the Marine Corps' cultural shift from the 20th century force defined by amphibious operations to a 21st century force focusing on a broadened range of employment concepts and possibilities across a spectrum of conflict.

In November 2004, during integrated system-level testing on the SDD prototypes, there were major problems with the Hull Electronics Unit (HEU) that was to provides the computer processing for the EFV's mobility, power, and auxiliary computer software configuration and for the command and control software application. For example, the water-mode steering froze, causing the vehicle to be non-responsive to the driver's steering inputs and both the HEU and the crew's display panel shut down during EFV operation. Consequently, testing ceased until the causes of the problems could be identified and corrections made. The program office conducted a root-cause analysis and traced the problems to both hardware and software sources. The program office made design changes and modifications to correct the problems, and testing resumed in January 2005, after about a 2-month delay. According to program officials, these changes and modifications were installed by May 2005, in the vehicles that would be used to conduct the operational assessment tests. Again, according to program officials, these problems have not recurred.

March 2005 saw the EFV rebaselined for the third time since entering the SDD phase. The rebaseline was implemented to incorporate the program changes as a result of DOD's Program Budget Decision 753, leading to 24 month delay. This was also connected to various issues encountered in the previous year during testing of the EFV.

Problems with the new bow flaps, used to provide stability during high speed water operation occurred during subsequent SDD prototype testing. For example, in September and October 2004, two bow flaps failed, one bent and one cracked. Again, the program office conducted a root-cause analysis, which determined that loading, while no longer excessive, was inappropriately distributed on the bow flaps. Following corrective action, tests were conducted in Hawaii during July to August 2005 to validate the load capacity of the new bow flap. These tests revealed that the design of the new bow flap needed some refinements in order to meet the operational requirement that the EFV be capable of operating in 3-foot significant wave heights. A program official indicated that the test results would be used to refine the design of the new bow flap. However, the refined bow flap design was not to be tested in the operationally required 3-foot significant wave heights until initial operational testing and evaluation, well after the program entered low-rate initial production.

The 2006 Operational Assessment revealed the EFV's inability to consistently get on plane in water without employing a driving technique that caused uncontrolled vehicle turns and unsafe operating characteristics. This problem was caused by the weight of the combat-loaded vehicle. System requirements have been reduced to lower vehicle weight. During the first of two planned water directional stability developmental and operational test events in October 2008, promising results were observed from a design modification (trim tabs installed on vehicle's transom flap).

An assessment by the Government Accountability Office of the program in 2006 showed that the program had grown by 48 months since 2000, and at the time had a revised IOC date of September 2010.

As of a March 2007 GAO report the EFV program office had released 82 percent of the initial production design drawings to the manufacturer, a measure of design stability. The program had planned to release the remaining drawings before the production decision in December 2006. According to a program official, because of system reliability failures discovered during the early operational assessment (EOA) testing, the production decision had been delayed. During the EOA, the EFV failed to perform reliably and only achieved a fraction of the required operational goal of 43.5 hours of operations before maintenance was required.

In response to these issues, Congress zeroed out the EFV's FY07 procurement budget request and directed that it extend its system development and demonstration phase. The Marine Corps set about considering production options that according to the GAO report could impact cost, schedule, and quantity parameters.

The EFV program design as of March 2007 relied on software to provide all electronic, firepower, and communication functions. The program was collecting metrics relating to cost, schedule, and quality and was using an evolutionary development approach. Nevertheless, software development continued to present a risk. The program continued to experience growth in the total lines of software code needed. Since development started in 2000, the total lines of software code required by the system had increased by about 238 percent, with approximately 36 percent of this amount being new code. Additionally, software planned for the EFV initial production version would be different from the software used in the SDD versions. Furthermore, software testing identified 187 software defects. The Marine Corps testing agency identified software failure as a factor impacting the system's reliability.

The GAO reported in March 2007 believing that software issues could put the program at risk for cost growth. In addition, to the recently discovered reliability issues that would require some, yet, undisclosed system changes, the program is already planning changes to the EFV baseline program, which were driven by the Quadrennial Defense Review and the Strategic Planning Guidance.

In commenting on a draft of the March 2007 GAO assessment, the Navy stated that the EFV program was being restructured as a result of proposed quantity reductions and to incorporate reliability performance improvements in the vehicle design. The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics was briefed on the program office's plans in October 2006, and had declined to make an acquisition decision. The Under Secretary has concurred with the Department of the Navy to convene an Independent Expert Program Review (IEPR) to examine the EFV program and recommend a path forward. The IEPR was scheduled for completion in December 2006, with a program review in the January-February 2007 time frame. After that review, an acquisition path forward was expected be decided.

In February 2007, the Navy reported a Nunn-McCurdy unit cost increase over the critical cost growth threshold. Various factors contributed to cost increases, including reliability challenges, optimistic estimating assumptions, and reduced procurement quantities because of changes in the Marine Corps ground mobility strategy. After a comprehensive review, the program was restructured in June 2007 to extend system development. This was expected to delay initial production to 2011 to allow for development of a second set of prototypes to resolve reliability issues. Furthermore, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics had established a set of oversight, monitoring, and reporting mechanisms to ensure successful management of the program.

The GAO's March 2008 assessment noted that the EFV's technologies were mature. However, the system design proved unstable following the original design review. After reliability shortfalls were discovered, the program was restructured to extend development, initiate a design-for-reliability process, and to enhance program oversight and monitoring.

The EFV was scheduled to have a second design review in September 2008, and projected initial capability was delayed by almost 5 years, to 2015. Program officials said that the redesign of key systems would hopefully enable the program to meet reliability metrics. The program identified 12 critical manufacturing processes, but did not require the contractor to use statistical process controls. The Navy reported a Nunn-McCurdy unit cost increase over the critical cost threshold in part because of reliability issues and quantity reductions.

The EFV design was thought to have been approaching stability at the time of the original design review. However, reliability shortfalls were discovered during an operational assessment in 2006 when the EFV achieved only a fraction of the required operational goal of 43.5 hours of operations before maintenance was required. Given the discovery of problems with reliability, the program was restructured to extend development efforts and build a second set of prototypes. The program was redesigning various systems, such as the drivetrain, and planned to monitor their predicted and demonstrated reliability. The program reported that 70 percent of its design drawings have been released, a measure of design stability, to manufacturing and expected to release all drawings by the newly established design review in September 2008. This schedule was described potentially ambitious by the GAO, given the design instability related to ongoing redesign and testing efforts to resolve reliability issues.

The Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity (MCOTEA) observed promising results during a Water Directional Stability test in October 2008. MCOTEA also observed a developmental test event that used the existing prototype vehicles ("SDD-1" vehicles) to examine system performance during riverine operations. Program Manager Advanced Amphibious Assault (PM-AAA) completed developmental underwater explosion (UNDEX) shock testing in July 2009 on an SDD vehicle to examine system-level shock response and to verify performance requirements.

The riverine operations event provided useful information on the effects of riverine debris on the propulsion system and engine operations. Initially, ingested debris accumulated on the radiator, causing engine operating temperatures to rise. Debris also damaged the water jet and its housing. Between the Aberdeen Test Center phase and the Camp Lejeune phase, the program installed protective grates to prevent ingestion of large debris into the waterjets, and screens to reduce the accumulation of debris on radiators. Additional modifications are planned to further limit the accumulation of silt on the radiator. These changes will be examined during subsequent riverine testing using SDD-2 vehicles.

The EFV Program acquisition strategy includes the extensive use of test assets, models, simulation, and advanced technology research to optimize vehicle design, reduce Total Ownership Cost (TOC), and control vehicle unit cost. Three fully functional PDRR prototypes were developed and have undergone extensive developmental testing to further vehicle maturity. During the initial SDD phase of the program, nine prototype vehicles were manufactured and tested extensively in developmental and operational tests. A tenth vehicle was manufactured for use during Full Up System Level Lethality testing. A follow-on SDD phase contract was awarded in July 2008 to incorporate major reliability modifications into existing prototypes, and manufacture and test seven new SDD prototypes. This follow-on development contract focuses on redesigning key subsystems to improve reliability. The prime contractor built seven redesigned prototype vehicles ("SDD-2" vehicles) to support developmental and operational testing that is scheduled for FY10 through FY14. As assembly concluded, the System Development Demonstration (SDD-2) prototype vehicles completed Acceptance Testing and Contractor Verification Testing. Following completion of these tests, the vehicles were delivered to the Government to commence Developmental testing. Developmental testing was conducted on both modified SDD-1 vehicles and SDD-2 vehicles in preparation for Reliability Growth Testing, which would start in early FY 2011, and the Milestone COperational Assessment later in FY 2011. Efforts continued on the SDD-2 contract. This follow-on SDD Phase included continued design, development, and reliability upgrades; increased reliability testing; modification of existing SDD prototypes; and manufacture and testing of seven additional SDD prototype vehicles

The program will conduct an operational assessment in 2011, before its low- rate initial production decision, to see if the program is on track to meet its minimum reliability requirements. Delivery of new prototypes built using mostly production- representative tooling will begin in August 2010, but the program does not intend to collect data on key manufacturing processes until low-rate production begins.

The program expects to demonstrate on average at least 16 hours of operation between operational mission failures, which will keep the EFV on the reliability path needed to reach its minimum requirement of 43.5 hours. Additional testing and design revisions are scheduled to continue through the fourth lot of low-rate production, and the program will commit to all four low-rate production lots before conducting initial operational test and evaluation to validate the performance and reliability of the EFV.

Cost as an independent variable (CAIV) has been institutionalized throughout the program and as such is an integral consideration in all trade studies and decisions. The program has had a highly integrated and extensive test approach since its inception which has included a very strong engineering-model and prototype testing program supported by extensive modeling and simulation techniques which is intended to continue throughout SDD. The program office management strategy includes planning for life cycle support once the system is fielded to more efficiently manage and optimize operating and support requirements and reduce overall program cost. The EFV management strategy is event driven, designed to ensure a logical progression through the EFV acquisition to reduce risk, ensure affordability, and provide adequate information to decision makers regarding acquisition progress. The EFV Program team is a partnership of government and industry experts, committed to developing the most versatil

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Page last modified: 26-08-2012 15:11:05 ZULU