there is anything in there that is different than the way
we’re thinking. Then we’ll go into some prototype
development. I’m pretty excited about it.
When do you think you will go to the prototype
AMOS: Let me tell you what I just told the industry. I told
them that when I give up command of the Marine Corps
— and I’ve got three years and about four months left —
I’ll be driving the vehicle into the water. Now, that is
about three to four times faster than the standard acquisition system timeline supports. I told them I’m not the
least bit interested in admiring this problem. We have a
need, we’re going to pick a vehicle that’s good enough,
I’m not going to try to come up with something that’s
exotic and perfect, and I’m pretty confident industry can
do this for us. In fact, I’m very confident.
I think you’ll see two prototypes, maybe three, from
different manufacturers toward the end of my com-mandancy. They will be steel, they’ll have motors in
them and we’ll put them in the water. In a perfect
world, what I’d like to do is be the commandant when
we down-select. You pick the one and you say, “OK, it’s
company XYZ and you’re going to build this one.”
Then we’re off to the races.
came along and fit the bill, but I’m not convinced it
will. We are going to do a service life extension on
select numbers of our amphibious assault vehicles —
our AAV7s. For some number of those — we’re working on how many — that will preserve our amphibious
capability and this forcible-entry capability that we
were talking about earlier.
Meanwhile, we’re doing the early work on an
Amphibious Combat Vehicle, which is the vehicle that
will replace the EFV. I’m very encouraged by what I’m
seeing. We’ve put a lot of pressure on industry.
There is an analysis of alternatives that started here,
just about now, and it will go for, hopefully, no more than
six months. How else would you get from ship to shore
in a hostile environment, where you’re actually having to
do forcible entry, how would you get those Marines
ashore in that kind of environment? An analysis of alternatives will give you all the possible choices. Some may
not be workable, they may not be affordable.
We’ve been giving [the ACV] some criteria. We said
it will hold a Marine rifle squad. There will probably be
two or three Marines that will be part of the ACV crew,
and then there will be another 13 Marines with their
full combat gear who will be inside that vehicle. Then
we come out of the analysis of alternatives and see if
With the Corps procuring some carrier-based
F-35Cs, what does the F-35B bring to the fight
that makes it necessary for the Corps’ tool kit?
AMOS: A couple of things. One, we’ve got 22 what I call
capital ships in the Navy today, the 11 aircraft carriers and
11 large-deck amphibious ships that look like small carriers. The first thing is that the F- 35 allows you to have 22
capital ships for our nation now with fifth-generation airplanes on them. If the F-35B wasn’t here, if the program
were canceled or whatever, then the nation would have 11
aircraft carriers with the fifth-generation airplanes.
That V- 22 that picked up the Air Force F-15E pilot in
Libya was escorted by Harriers flying off the Kearsarge.
There is a large amphibious ship right now in the
Mediterranean with Harriers onboard prepared to do exactly the same thing if something happens. [Without STOVL
(short take-off, vertical-landing) aircraft] you would have
an amphibious ship with helicopters and tiltrotors, and that
would be the extent of it. So [the F-35B] doubles the capability of the United States to project power with the fifth-generation airplane anywhere in the world.
The second thing is the way we operate airplanes in
an expeditionary environment, where we’re ashore and
we’re moving rapidly. I was the wing commander when
we crossed the border into Iraq, and we moved all the
way through Baghdad to Tikrit with our aviation combat support unit, the Marine wing support squadrons.
We operated off of highways.