EFV Back on Track
Marine Corps, Navy say vehicle’s comprehensive redesign will pay off
By OTTO KREISHER, Special Correspondent
Promise and Performance
Navy Secretary Donald C.
Winter, who has been increasingly
critical of his department’s acquisition performance, complemented
the EFV’s latest redesign.
“Based on the preliminary reports
that I have gotten, we have got some
good value out of that additional
design cycle,” Winter told reporters.
But, he added, “It would have been
nice to have that when the Marine
Corps started the program.”
“The Expeditionary Fighting
Vehicle program completed a
series of [Office of the Secretary of
Defense] OSD- and Marine Corps-led reviews over 18
months, culminating with a critical design review
(CDR),” said Peter Keating, vice president, communications, at General Dynamics Land Systems.
“Completing [the] CDR in December, we are on the
path forward [that was] agreed to with the Marine
Corps and continue to work in a disciplined systems
engineering environment resulting in reliability predictions greater than the objective.”
Support in Congress, however, still could be problematic.
The chairman and the ranking Republican on the
House Armed Services seapower subcommittee —
Reps. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., and Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md.,
— insisted the EFV be given a V-shaped hull, similar to
the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles
rushed to Iraq to counter deadly improvised explosive
But Conway and Col. Keith Moore, the current EFV
program manager, said they believe they have been
able to convince the lawmakers that the EFV could not
achieve its high water speed with an MRAP-type hull.
And the engineers have demonstrated they could
improve resistance to IEDs with additional bolt-on
armor once the EFVs are ashore, they said.
Redesign efforts for the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) are
expected to pay major capability and reliability dividends.
■ Some of the changes are aimed at improving corrosion resistance in the engine compartment; others were made in the turret.
■ Another priority is improving the endurance of the hydraulic
system that allows the EFV to become a high-speed boat.
■ The EFV program has $255.4 million to start production of the
seven new prototypes.
After surviving another life-or-death review,
the Marine Corps’ No. 1 ground combat program, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
(EFV), is moving ahead on several tracks in an effort
to demonstrate that it can deliver the revolutionary
capability proponents have envisioned.
With Pentagon approval of the latest comprehensive
redesign, prime contractor General Dynamics has a
contract to build seven new prototype vehicles that
will be used to test whether the EFVs can provide the
promised unparalleled amphibious performance and
an acceptable level of reliability.
Already running nearly 10 years behind schedule,
and projected to cost twice as much for half as many
vehicles as initially planned, the EFV is not likely to
get another chance.
But with its promise of motorboat speed in the
water, and better performance, greater combat power
and survivability ashore than the Vietnam-vintage
amphibious vehicles it would replace, the EFV still has
strong support within the Corps and the Department
of the Navy.
Gen. James T. Conway, the Marine Corps commandant, recently said the EFV “is absolutely essential to
what we do as Marines.”