U.S. Marines consider themselves the fiercest fighting force in the world, and take pride in being forward deployed, expeditionary, and amphibious. And when it’s time to hit the beach and get into the fight, they need something that will take them there.
Amphibious vehicles have served this purpose for decades, ferrying Marines from ship to shore so they can engage and successfully defeat the enemy. And for decades, BAE Systems has provided the Marine Corps with this unique capability. That capability is about to get even better, as the new Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) will soon be joining the theatre of amphibious operations.
BAE Systems has produced ACVs since 2018 and has delivered more than 50 vehicles so far. The Marine Corps recently declared that the vehicle had attained Initial Operational Capability (IOC), signaling the ACV was ready for combat, and gave BAE Systems the green light to initiate full-rate production. Both milestones demonstrate the maturity of and confidence in the ACV program.
“The US Marine Corps accelerated its acquisition strategy for defining, testing, and producing the next generation of amphibious vehicles, and achieved their goals in record time,” said John Swift, director of Amphibious Programs at BAE Systems. “The ACV’s inherent design provides the Marine Corps with the operational flexibility to successfully maneuver within an expeditionary environment. The vehicle’s speed, adaptability and survivability in the sea and on land is a definitive force multiplier.”
A new capability
The ACVs are designed to replace the Marine Corps’ legacy fleet of tracked Assault Amphibious Vehicles (AAVs). The ACVs offer a higher level of mobility by running on eight wheels instead of tracks. Its six-cylinder 690 horsepower engine allows it to hit land speeds exceeding 55 mph.
It has high levels of survivability with an advanced suite of armor and is designed for adaptability, enabling Marines to conduct the full spectrum of ship-to-shore operations, starting with launching from amphibious ships operated by the Navy and returning to them for full recovery once their mission is complete.
The ACV’s design allows the vehicle to adapt to current and future requirements and missions, and its modularity provides room for growth and eases the integration of future technologies throughout its lifetime to address emerging threats.
“We designed and built this vehicle with the understanding it will be in service for decades,” said Ray Coia, director of business development at BAE Systems. “As threats on the battlefield evolve over time, the ACV will adapt to meet and counter those threats.”
A family of vehicles
The ACV program consists of a family of vehicles for executing a variety mission sets through the development of multiple vehicle variants. BAE Systems is leveraging its expertise and long history of closely working with the Marine Corps to augment and expand the vehicle’s capabilities by adapting the design provided by teammate Iveco Defense Vehicles to meet the Marine Corps’ requirements.
The ACV personnel carrier is currently in production, and work has already begun under a 2019 contract to develop two new variants: a command (ACV-C) version for situational awareness and control of the battlefield, and a 30mm medium caliber cannon (ACV-30) variant for added lethality and protection while leaving ample room for personnel capacity and payload.
These new variants will further cement a multidimensional and unprecedented capability into the Marine Corps’ combat arsenal well into the future.
“The ACV family of vehicles concept further enhances the elite fighting ability of the Marines as they carry out their vital national security mission, and remain among the finest forces in the world,” Swift said.