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The U.S. Marines’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle Is a Beast


Army.ca Dinosaur
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Shorter range, smaller capacity, slower in the water, no tracks so probably less mobile in certain conditions, much faster on roads. Good for pursuit operations, less good for amphibious assaults?

BAE Systems, the firm behind the United States Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle, just got the go-ahead to build more of the new system, according to a BAE press release.

The Corps awarded BAE $184 million for 36 additional ACVs, and brings the total number of full-rate production vehicles to 72, a deal that covers testing equipment and spare parts.

BAE’s new Amphibious Combat Vehicle replaces the Corps’ similarly named Assault Amphibious Vehicle. The legacy AAV platform has been in service with the Marine Corps for nearly half a century, since the early 1970s. And while it provided a valuable ship-to-shore capability — of crucial importance to the Corps given their amphibious ability — it had since grown long in the tooth, necessitating a replacement.

Unlike the AAV, the newer ACV platform forwent a tracked design, opting instead for a wheeled 8×8 wheeled layout. It does however retain the AAV’s amphibious capability and features dual water thrusters at the hull rear, as well as a rear-opening egress and ingress hatch.

Still, the ACV has faced criticism from both inside and outside the Marine Corps. One of the chief points brought up against the ACV is the new platform’s relatively slow speed while in the water. Compounding the ACV’s speed issue, is its range in the water compared to proliferating anti-ship missile threats, which have significantly outpaced the vehicle.