Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC)
The Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC), as the medium capability category platform, provides a bridge in capability between the expeditionary fighting vehicle (EFV) and JLTV and a balance between the performance, protection and payload attributes. The MPC is an expeditionary armored personnel carrier - ideal for irregular warfare - yet effective across the full range of military operations, providing armor protected mobility for infantry battalion maneuver task forces. The MPC family of vehicles includes the baseline Personnel Carrier and two supporting mission role variants: a Command & Control variant and a Recovery & Maintenance variant.
The Marine Corps has reaffirmed a requirement for a new Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC), an advanced generation eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier that would provide general support lift to Marine infantry in the ground combat element based maneuver task force. The MPC requirement is shaped to provide a balance of performance, protection and payload in order to set the conditions for fielding a combat vehicle that will be effective across the range of military operations.
The Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) is part of a portfolio of capabilities that provide closure to real world operational gaps and shortfalls in the ability of the Marine Air Ground Task Force to conduct ground based maneuver tasks. The MPC, as the medium capability category platform, provides a bridge in capability between the New Amphibious Vehicle and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and a balance between the performance, protection and payload attributes. Operationally, the MPC will be employed to allow Marines to continue that inland fight toward the objective once the ACV has established an initial beachhead. Arriving as follow-on support assets, the MPCs will provide a very robust combat capability, with features ranging from MRAP level survivability to the amphibious ability to negotiate 2-foot significant wave height and 4-foot plunging surf survivability.
The MPC requirement is designed to provide expeditionary protected mobility and general support lift to the Marine infantry battalion as part of a Ground Combat Element (GCE) based maneuver task force. The MPC requirement will be filled with an advanced generation eight-wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). The MPC fulfills the medium combat capability requirement within the Service's Ground Combat and Tactical Vehicle Portfolio and will serve to better balance the Marine Corps' mobility requirements across the range of military operations. As a new start initiative, the MPC is not a replacement vehicle but serves to mitigate a shortfall in APC based protected mobility. Specifically the MPC will provide effective land and tactical water mobility (shore-to-shore) and high levels of force protection and survivability against blasts, fragmentation, and kinetic energy threats while supporting the combat-loaded Marines.
The MPC family of vehicles will consist of a base vehicle and two supporting mission role variants. The MPC-Personnel will be the base vehicle, two of which carry and support a reinforced rifle squad of 17 Marines (one ACV would do the same). Each vehicle would carry 9 combat-equipped Marines and a three-man crew. This meets the need to transport more Marine infantrymen than the existing Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) or HMMWV platforms while providing greater protection. The eight-wheeled LAV is not employed as an armored personnel carrier and usually carries a four-person Marine scout/reconnaissance team in addition to its crew. The MPC-Command will be equipped to serve as a mobile command-echelon/ fire-support coordination center for the infantry battalion headquarters. The MPC-Recovery will be them maintenance and recovery variant of the MPC.
An MPC company lifts an infantry battalion in conjunction with the infantry’s organic wheeled assets. Like the planned ACV, MPCs will be assigned to the Assault Amphibian Battalions of the Marine Division currently outfitted with AAVs. The reconstituted Assault Amphibian battalion would tentatively consist of one MPC company (nominally 88 vehicles) and three ACV companies (about 45 vehicles each). The MPC supports expeditionary maneuver by enhancing the Marine Air Ground Task Force’s(MAGTF) tactical and operational protected mobility. Conceptually, the MPC will complement the ACV and will be delivered to the fight as part of the reinforcing echelon of the MAGTF during forcible entry operations and in of support sustained operations ashore. The MPC will enable the GCE to maintain lift capacity requirements and provides an additional balanced platform that will be capable across the range of military operations.
MPC must move with M1A1/EFV/LAV/JLTV on land. MPCs would also be supported by JLTVs carrying heavy weapons, communications equipment, and cargo. The MPC will be designed to cross rivers and inland bodies of water in a Marine Air-Ground Task Force’s littoral operational area. The MPC likely would have a remotely operated weapon station turret fitted with a .50 caliber machine gun, a 7.62 mm machine gun, or an automated Mk.19 grenade launcher with a thermal sight. The MPC crew could provide direct fire in support of dismounted Marine infantrymen. The infantry will not fight from the vehicle, and there is no requirement for a vehicle mounted anti-armor capability. There will not be a separate mortar variant. Fire support is inherent within the Infantry Battalions. Mortars will be carried on the PC variants along with all of the other organic weaponry.
AAV SLEP will improve the legacy AAV and extend its service life until replaced by the Next Amphibious Vehicle (NAV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC). Capability improvements include increased mobility, survivability, lethality, C4I/situational awareness, environment/habitability and logistics. MPC’s Top Three Program Technology Issues are:
- Survivability - The space, weight, and power required to protect the vehicle occupants will challenge the vehicle performance requirements. Marines need lightweight survivability solutions with specific focus on blast and direct fire protection.
- Weight - Meeting the weight target for MPC will be difficult given the survivability requirements, volume for buoyancy, and troop/equipment capacity. Light weight solutions for vehicle materials and components are needed. Three MPCs per C-17 drives you to 27.4 US tons ala FCS. This may not be the ideal weight to meet the protecting requirement. Therefore, at least a “B”kit” approach could be considered and installation allowed on arrival at airbase.
- On-Board and Exportable Power - Internal power demands initially defined for the MPC exceeds the ability of the MPC to export power when the vehicle is stationary. There is a need to incorporate power generation, management and distribution technologies to enable adequate power distribution to include on and off vehicle applications including silent watch capability.
This program began with a July 2007 Request for Information by Program Office Light Armored Vehicles of the U.S. Army Tank, Automotive and Armaments Command for companies who have the capability to develop a Light Armored Vehicle Marine Personnel Carrier variant. This RFI was cancelled in August 2007. In the spring of 2008, the Marine Requirements Oversight Council validated the MPC requirement and approved the solution as an advanced generation eight-wheeled APC to be integrated into the AA Battalions. The Marine Corps leadership deferred a Milestone A go-ahead for the MPC program in May 2008. Following the cancellation of the EFV program in January 2011, accelerated procurement of a Marine Personnel Carrier was part of an integrated approach in refocused efforts toward developing a vehicle to support the Marine’s amphibious assault mission. The accelerated MPC development effort was being made in conjunction with the Army, which issued an RFI on behalf of both services. The Marines intended to carry out “an aggressive, competitive acquisition approach with the intent to field an MPC fleet as rapidly as possible,”; the RFI directed competitors to assume a start date of Oct. 1, 2011.
The Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) program underwent transition, formally completed by May 25, 2011; informally no later than September 30, 2011. Program Management transferred out from under the formerly chartered authority of Program Manager, Light Armored Vehicles (PM LAV), TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, Warren, Michigan, to, Program Manager, Advanced Amphibious Assault (PM AAA), Woodbridge, Virginia. The MPC will continue to remain under the PEO oversight of PEO-Land Systems, in Quantico, Virginia.
The program has built an MPC Technology Demonstrator test bed vehicle at the Nevada Automotive Test Center, Carson City, Nev., which is being used to evaluate all required performance attributes, including mobility (powerpack, drive train, and suspension system), survivability, electrical power generation and distribution, vehicle health monitoring, and the communication system. The CTV was a science project to provide information for future military vehicles and was provided for informational purposes only.
The Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) program will utilize Full and Open competition. A source selection will be held to select up to two contractors. Each of these contractors will provide eight prototype personnel carrier vehicles that will be subjected to Government evaluation. The results of this evaluation will be used to support a Milestone decision. The results of the EMD efforts will be used to support a Milestone C decision as well as determine the Low Rate Initial Production manufacturer. The selected production source will also be tasked to perform EMD on the command and control and maintenance and recovery vehicles. No specific company model is reflected in the 600 vehicle quantity. Once the company model is selected, the quantity could increase slightly.
At the Modern Day Marine Military Expo 2009, at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA, September 29 – October 1, 2009, General Dynamics Land Systems profiled the new generation LAV III platform which includes a new hull with inherent 4a/4b mine blast protection and improved Improvised Explosive Device (IED) protection. The vehicle mobility has been improved through power train enhancements. With a high horsepower to weight ratio and added swim capability, the vehicle platform will help to define many of the attributes of the General Dynamics Land Systems Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) Technical Demonstrator.
In September 2011 Iveco, a Fiat Industrial company, together with BAE Systems announced they would participate in a tender for the supply of Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) vehicles to the prestigious U.S. Marine Corps. The new vehicle is an amphibious armored troop transporter of around 27 tons gross mass that can carry up to 12 soldiers that is being developed based on the Superav 8x8, presented to the Italian Armed Forces in 2010 for the national landing forces.
August 2012 witnessed the award of four contracts to provide prototype / sample vehicles and hulls to be used for demonstrations of water mobility, blast protection and human factors engineering. The contracts were awarded to Lockheed Martin, SAIC, BAE Systems, and General Dynamics Land Systems.
- BAE Systems teamed with IVECO proposed the 24-ton Superav 8x8, which in use with the Italian Army.
- General Dynamics, contractor for the Marine's Light Armored Vehicle and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), and the Army's Stryker combat vehicle, declined to specify which vehicle it will ship for testing.
- Lockheed Martin proposed the Havoc 8x8 based on Patria Land Systems’ AMV 8x8 armored modular vehicle. The Patria vehicle is used by six European countries and has deployed in Afghanistan with Polish forces.
- SAIC partnered with Singapore Technologies Kinetics to offer the Terrex 8x8 armored personnel carrier, which is fielded by the Singapore Armed Forces.
Each of the contractors will provide a “full up” vehicle, with the first of those vehicles slated for delivery to the Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch at Camp Pendleton in January 2013. The deliveries will be staggered between the four contractors, meaning that only one system will be “on the ramp” at any time and that testing will likely extend until October 2013. The full up vehicles will be used to drive, to swim, and to validate human factors characteristics. The final area will focus on capabilities versus comfort levels and the types of equipment that can be carried by embarked Marines. In addition to the performance vehicles the contractors will also provide two additional vehicles or vehicle hulls that are weighted internally to simulate the power train. These additional hulls and hull sections will be taken out to the Nevada Automotive Test Center (NATC) and subjected to live fire survivability testing.
Program planners note that the goal of the demonstrations is to validate the technologies and capabilities that industry currently possess that could meet the Marine Corps’ requirements going forward. Reiterating that the MPC is a complementary capability to whatever the ACV program will be, they highlight the criticality of the emerging ACV AoA in defining the strategy for both systems.
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