Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV)
On June 20, 2018 Marine Corps Systems Command awarded a contract to produce Amphibious Combat Vehicles–a much-needed modernization to the Marine Corps' ground combat element. The ACV is a family of vehicles. BAE Systems is expected to produce four ACV variants including the personnel carrier (ACV-P), command and control (ACV-C), recovery (ACV-R), and ACV-30, which integrates Kongsberg’s MCT-30 onto the vehicle. The ACV Program Office is focusing current procurement efforts on the personnel variant.
On 10 December 2020 BAE Systems Land and Armaments L.P., Sterling Heights, Michigan, was awarded an $184,444,865 fixed-price-incentive (firm target) modification to previously awarded contract M67854-16-0006 for amphibious combat vehicles (ACV). This modification provided for the procurement of 36 full rate production ACVs and other associated production costs for the Marine Corps. Work will be performed in York, Pennsylvania (60%); Aiken, South Carolina (15%); San Jose, California (15%); Sterling Heights, Michigan (5%); and Stafford, Virginia (5%). Work is expected to be completed in November 2022. Fiscal 2021 procurement (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $184,444,865 are being obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M67854-16-C-0006).
The Marine Corps intends to field a vehicle capable of providing expeditionary protected mobility and general support lift to the Marine Infantry Battalion as part of a Ground Combat Element-based maneuver task force. The ACV is a modern generation, eight-wheeled, armored personnel carrier with a combat-loaded gross vehicle weight of 70,000 pounds. The primary weapon on the ACV is a single mount RWS equipped with an Mk-19 automatic grenade launcher or M2 heavy machine gun. The Marine Corps intends the ACV to operate with Marine Air Ground Task Force maneuver formations, and achieve up to 6 knots while operating at sea. The ACV will carry a crew of 3 operators and 13 embarked infantry marines with 2 days of supplies and combat essential equipment.
The Marines desire the ACV to provide effective land and tactical water mobility (ship-to-shore and shore-to-shore), precise supporting fires, and high levels of force protection. This protection is intended to provide survivability against blasts, fragmentation, and kinetic energy threats while supporting combat-loaded marines as they close with and destroy the enemy, respond to crises, and conduct stability operations.
Commanders will employ ACV-equipped units to land the surface assault elements of the landing force in order to seize inland objectives and conduct mechanized operations in subsequent actions ashore.
Assault Amphibian Battalions equipped with the ACV will provide task organized units to transport personnel, equipment, and supplies ashore from amphibious shipping; execute ship-to-shore and riverine operations; support breaching of barriers and obstacles; and provide embarked infantry with armor protected firepower, extended communications capabilities, and mobility on land and sea.
ACV-equipped units will provide protected mobility to embarked infantry and deliver precision support-by-fire effects in support of dismounted infantry maneuver. ACV-equipped units will operate with M1 series main battle tanks and conduct mounted security operations in urban or restrictive terrain alongside other wheeled vehicles within the Marine Air Ground Task Force or Marine Division.
The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) 30 mm cannon Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV-30) is slated to be outfitted with Kongsberg’s Protector Medium Caliber Turret. MCT-30 is a remote weapon station developed for wheeled and tracked armoured fighting vehicles. Its main weapon is the XM813 30 mm Mk44 Bushmaster chain gun. The ACV-30 integrates a 30mm cannon to provide the lethality and protection the Marines need while leaving ample room for troop capacity and payload. The contract calls for the design and development of the command (ACV-C) and the 30mm medium caliber cannon (ACV-30) variants.
The MCT-30 Protector Medium Caliber Turret is a remote weapon station developed for wheeled and tracked armored fighting vehicles. Developed and manufactured by Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, the MCT-30 has a modular construction, featuring varying levels of armored protection, optional sighting equipment and the ability to mount varying calibre (25 to 50mm) chain-guns. The Mk44 fires the complete Orbital ATK family of 30 x 173mm ammunition, including the ability to program and fire the Mk310 Air Burst Munition. The PROTECTOR MCT-30 has been presented on all the major manufacturers 8×8 fighting vehicles and some tracked vehicle. It’s in service on the Patria AMV and GDLS Stryker 8×8.
In June 2018, the Marine Corps awarded the ACV Family of Vehicles LRIP contract to BAE Systems. The performance of the ACV1.1 program during its developmental testing and operational assessment led to the consolidation of the ACV 1.1 and ACV1.2 programs in January 2019. OSD approved the ACV Milestone C Test and Evaluation Master Plan update in February 2019 for the production and deployment phase of the program.
The infantry rifle squad equipped with the ACV was able to complete assigned missions while carrying additional cold weather clothing and equipment. Optimized load planning will be required to ensure equipment does not hinder ingress and egress, and mission essential items will fit inside the vehicle during cold weather ship-to-shore operations. For extended cold weather operations, a unit equipped with the ACV may require more frequent sustainment due to limited interior and storage space.
The ACV crew employed the RWS during developmental testing at CRTC and Cape May. Vision blocks and RWS optics were prone to icing on land and fogging on water, affecting gunner visibility and could lead to performance or reliability problems if water freezes on the RWS sights and cameras. During land operations in restricted terrain, ACV crews operated with hatches open making them susceptible to extreme cold.
ACV reliability is below the expected reliability growth estimate. Based on Reliability Growth Testing, ACV demonstrated reliability was 27 percent of its planned growth estimate. The program intends to implement several engineering change proposals throughout the EMD phase to improve reliability. The suspension and steering subsystems remain the primary drivers of reduced reliability.
The survivability evaluation of the production-representative ACV against representative threat scenarios is ongoing. DOT&E will report on the final ACV survivability assessment after completion of the LFT&E program expected in June 2020. This will support the Full-Rate Production decision expected in 3QFY20.
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