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LVTP7 Landing Vehicle, Tracked
AAVP7A1 Assault Amphibian Vehicle Personnel

The AAV7A1 Mission is to maneuver the surface assault elements of the landing force and their equipment from assault shipping during amphibious operations to inland objectives and to conduct mechanized operations and related combat support in subsequent operations ashore.

AAVs are employed during amphibious assaults, during the conduct of river crossings as components of the mechanized task force and during other special operations ashore. When properly employed, AAVs are effective in operations after dark. They are also effective in certain types of swamps, selected arctic terrain, in hilly and mountainous areas, during desert operations and on majority of the worlds rough terrain.

Employment is limited in extreme mountainous, jungle areas, extremely high surf, certain types of mud flats, etc. The primary role of the AAVs is as the principal tactical ground transport asset to the ground combat commander in support of mechanized operations. If assets permit, the AAV may include employment as logistics and engineer support vehicles.

The primary responsibility of the AAVs during an amphibious operation is to spearhead a beach assault. They disembark from ship and come ashore, carrying infantry and supplies to the area to provide a forced entry into the amphibious assault area for the surface assault element. Once the AAVs have landed, they can take on several different tasks: manning check points, Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) missions, escorting food convoys or mechanized patrol. The standard AAV comes equipped with a MK-19 grenade launcher and a M2 .50 caliber machine gun. With a 10,000 pound capacity, the AAV can also be used as a bulk refueler or a field expedient ambulance. It is easily the most versatile vehicle in the Marine Corps.

The AAV7A1 is the newest Assault Amphibian in a series that started with the Roebling ALLIGATOR. The Alligator was developed over a period of 7 years, starting in 1932. The first "Gators" were a disappointment, in that the water speed was only 2.5 mph. The land speed was 25 mph. Through design changes, and by using larger engines, the water speed of the Alligator was increased to 8.6 mph by 1939. In 1940, Roebling built a new model which was designated the CROCODILE. The Crocodile had a land speed of 25 mph and a water speed of 9.4 mph.

The LVT-1 was a direct copy of the Crocodile, except that it was fabricated from sheet steel instead of aluminum. The LVT-1 was in production from 1941 to 1943. Being heavier, the land speed of the LVT-1 was 18 mph and the water speed was 7 mph. A 6-cylinder, 146 hp Hercules engine was used for power. The LVT-1 was propelled by two endless chains fitted with cleats, both in the water and on land. The first LVT-1's were used as logistic support vehicles only. They were not armored and carried no armament, however, this soon changed. At the Battle of Tarawa, bolted on armor plate was used and the vehicles were equipped with one to four 30 cal. machine guns.

The second generation of LVT's was the LVT-2. This vehicle was developed in 1941 and was in production from 1942 to 1945. The LVT-2 was the basic design for a series of vehicles used during WW II. This family of vehicles included the: LVTA1, LVTA2, LVT4, LVTA4, and LVTA5. A few of the LVTA5s were modified in 1949 and continued in service until the mid 1950s. These vehicles were powered with 7-cylinder radial aircraft engines built by Continental Motors. These engines developed 220hp, their service life was very short. Major overhaul was scheduled for 100 hours, however few ever lasted that long. The transmission was a 5 speed, manual shift SPICER that incorporated a manually operated steer differential. This transmission had been developed for the M-3 light tank. As a result, the transmission was too narrow for the LVT. This problem was overcome by using four final drives. The internal finals were bolted to the transmission / differential gear case and supported by two mounting yokes. The external final drives were bolted to the hull and powered the drive sprockets. This generation of LVTs was used through the Okinawa campaign in 1945.

The LVTP7, which entered the Marine Corps inventory in the early 1970s, was a quantum improvement over the short-ranged LVTP5 of the Vietnam era. Weighing in at 26 tons (23,991 kg) combat-loaded, and with a three-man crew, it can carry 25 Marines. With a road speed of 45 mph (72 km/h), it is also fully amphibious with water speeds up to 8 mph (13 km/h). It is not as heavily armed or armored as the Army's Bradley infantry fighting vehicle; on the other hand, the M2A1 Bradley carries only seven troop passengers. In 1985 the Marine Corps changed the designation of the LVTP7Al to AAV7Al -- amphibious assault vehicle -- representing a shift in emphasis away from the long-time LVT designation, meaning "landing vehicle, tracked." Without a change of a bolt or plate, the AAV7Al was to be more of an armored personnel carrier and less of a landing vehicle.

RAM/RS (Reliability, Availability and Maintainability/Rebuild to Standard)

The AAVP7 RAM/RS (Reliability, Availability and Maintainability/Rebuild to Standard) system provides superior mobility for transporting troops and cargo from ship to shore. The RAM/RS version was originally designed for the US Marine Corps to include a more powerful turbocharged diesel engine and power train and a Bradley Combat System suspension, providing superior durability and maintainability. The program was replaced the AAV suspension system with one derived from the US Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle. It also received a new power plant, a 525 horsepower (Cummins V903) engine replacing the 400-horsepower engine, and an upgraded transmission (changed to the HS-525 configuration). The remainder of the vehicle was rebuilt to its original specifications.

This program is a joint effort with the Marine Corps Logistics Command in Albany, Ga., under the direction of the Program Manager, Amphibious Assault Vehicle Systems, Marine Corps Systems Command, in Quantico, Va. A total of 1,007 vehicles will be rebuilt (896 P-variants, 64 C-variants & 47 R-variants).

It provides a "technically sound", cost effective hardware solution to one of the top five Operations and Support (O&S) cost drivers for the AAV7A1. Additionally reducing the fleet maintenance burden associated with the current suspension. Satisfies the fleet commander's priority listing as the most desired modification to the AAV.

A related operational benefit is to compensate for the vehicular weight growth from 40,000 to 56,000 pounds. Improves ground mobility aspects of AAV, such as cross country speed, ride quality and ground clearance. Maximum logistics commonality with the Army's Bradley fleet, i.e. approximately 5,000 vehicles.

To meet the Corps' commitment to the war on terrorism, the upgrades were designed to keep the vehicle viable until the full fielding of the Advanced Assault Amphibious Vehicle - now known as the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle - in FY 2018, according to the 2004 version of the Marine Corps Concepts and Programs booklet.

AAV RAM/RS program was approved as an FY99 new start acquisition in June 1997, and successfully achieved Milestone II in December 1997, Milestone III in October 1998, and commenced production in November 1998. Consolidation of diverse functions and responsibilities within the government team, establishment of a long term contractual relationship with industry to provide technical, engineering and management support for the remaining service life of the AAV, and extensive use of multiple command Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) with industry participation led to early development of quality products and an accelerated schedule.

Marine Corps depots have improved processes and procedures for planning, controlling cost, and producing quality products through implementation of new tools at the U.S. Marine Corps Maintenance Centers, i.e., Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS), ISO 9002 techniques and procedures, Cost as an Independent Variable (CAIV), detailed Work Breakdown Structures, Statement of Work and Rebuild Standards development, a detailed integrated production plan, and sharing of industry production processes. Establishment of a long term contractual relationship with industry and emerging industrial business innovations has provided the government with technical, engineering, and vendor base support options not previously available. These significant innovations are directly applicable to other programs within the Department of the Navy and Defense.

The AAV RAM/RS Program proposes to upgrade the current AAV7A1 Family of Vehicles (AAV FOV), first manufactured in 1972, by replacing the current engine and suspension system with that derived from the U.S. Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle, rebuild the AAV to original specifications, and reduce the Total Ownership Cost by over $ 550 million dollars. This program, with rebuild effort directed to the Marine Corps Maintenance Centers at Albany, GA and Barstow, CA, was approved in June 1997 as a new start acquisition program beginning in October 1998, with a maximum four year production duration.

The AAV program organizational responsibilities and authorities had been dispersed over the previous four years and emphasis on this soon-to-be-replaced system was more on maintenance than upgrade and acquisition. The AAV RAM/RS Team composed of responsible elements of the Marine Corps Systems Command (SysCom) in Quantico, VA, and Camp Pendleton, CA, and the Marine Corps Logistics Bases (LogBases), Albany, GA, rectified this dispersion by providing a unified management approach for this complicated and aggressive program. This management approach established an efficient, responsive and timely means for meeting the schedule and implementing procedures and processes to deliver on the original technical performance and cost estimates.

The AAV program has been in existence since the late 1960s and has seen a number of different contractors supporting the various upgrades to the vehicle. The AAV will, however, be fully replaced by the Advance Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) within a 15 year period, and the AAV RAM/RS program is only a four year program. Therefore, the AAV facts of life would not typically interest the type of contractors necessary to appropriately support the AAV.

In order to interest industry in supporting this important combat vehicle for its remaining life, the AAV RAM/RS Team devised the concept of an encompassing long term contractor relationship. The government team offered industry the opportunity to compete for a contract that would select an offeror who would initially perform the hull modifications and parts buy on the AAV RAM/RS program and also provide long term Technical, Engineering and Management Support (TEAMS) and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) support. This innovative concept resulted in the original manufacturer, United Defense (formerly FMC) returning as an integral member of the AAV government/industry team.

Additionally, industry was offered and has accepted location of its manufacturing facilities within the LogBases with potential use of its work force on agreed upon FMS efforts. This arrangement allows stabilization of the government's expert work force through industry business innovations, migration of industry proven production processes and material control standards and procedures to the government production line, and the availability of a dedicated industrial partner for the service life of the AAV.

Traditionally, government-to-government tasking is a risky area in any acquisition program as no contractual vehicles exist, and the performing government activity has no legal way or resources to address emerging problems in schedule or cost. Historically, work at the depots was mostly maintenance oriented and represented a potential impediment to a cost/schedule constrained acquisition program. The AAV RAM/RS Team approach to this issue was manifold.

First was establishment of a number of Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) to fully clarify and document the responsibilities and authorities of each command with respect to the AAV RAM/RS program. The primary MOA was between SysCom and LogBases, and additional MOAs were established among the various government agencies to include SysCom, LogBases, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and Defense Contracts Management Command (DCMC).

Secondly, Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) were established as the means for reaching consensus and agreement between the two commands. The IPTs addressed substantive items such as cost estimating, CAIV, Request For Proposal (RFP) content, production process, integrated schedule and provided rapid resolution of diverging areas of concern. Thirdly, the Team utilized a common computer server to post all program related document to include acquisition plans, budgets, schedules, meeting minutes and action items in order to improve communication, efficiently disseminate valuable information, and correct erroneous information.

Finally, the government judiciously utilized concurrent engineering in order to perform testing, engineering, and proof of principle (manufacturing) in parallel. It was a risk that gave a big payoff. These acquisition initiatives allowed the government team to quickly come to closure on issues, produce quality products in record time, and meet the imposed aggressive schedule. These approaches were key to successfully achieving both Milestone II and III within only 18 months of program approval.

Cost avoidance and product quality are two of the major reasons for the AAV RAM/RS program. The tools available at the government facilities were not sufficient to ensure success in these areas. Through the means of the AAV RAM/RS Team, and with the enthusiastic support of the LogBases, an Earned Value Management System (EVMS), using Performance Management Baseline, Work Breakdown Structure, and Cost/Schedule Status Report formats was established and successfully demonstrated during a Proof of Principle (POP) in early 1998.

Additionally, the LogBases is moving ahead to make itself ISO 9002 qualified. MOAs were established among SysCom, LogBases, and DCMC, to provide both EVMS and Quality Assurance assistance and oversight at the government facilities. Additionally, a long term AAV Contractor will be establishing its East Coast factory facilities within the LogBases and providing the government with the benefit of industry's knowledge of modern manufacturing techniques.

The AAV RAM/RS) were programmed to go six years before they needed to go through an IROAN (Inspect and Repair Only As Necessary) cycle. By the summer of 2004, MCB had been notified that 25 of AAV RAM/RS vehicles had been put on the master work schedule for the IROAN program. The vehicles are programmed for an IROAN every six years or 600 hours. A lot of the vehicles that were involved in Operation Iraq Freedom took a lot of wear and tear and are ready for the IROAN process.

However, not all the vehicles MCB received wre from the war, but from Schools Battalion, and 2nd AAV Battalion, from Camp Lejeune, N.C. Some are even coming off recent rotations and quite a few are coming from Blount Island Command, Jacksonville, Fla. There was a requirement to increase the number of AAV RAM/RS vehicles to MCB's master work schedule by 46. This brought the total number of vehicles the Maintenance Center has to work to 71 in FY 2005.

On June 21, 2005 United Defense Industries received a $12.8 million contract modification from the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command to upgrade 56 Assault Amphibious Vehicles (AAV7) to the RAM/RS configuration to support Marine Corps units. Under this modification, United Defense will remanufacture government furnished AAVP7 hulls to the RAM/RS configuration. Under the contract, machining and procurement of parts for the government furnished hulls will be done at United Defense's facility located at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Ga. Vehicles are being assembled by depot personnel. Work will be completed during 2006.



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