the back of an amtrac and still be
effective,” said Oldland, a retired
Marine officer who has ridden in
AAVs. “What we want to do is to con-
duct a scientifically based test and
evaluate the performance of Marines
at one, two, three hours and measure
their effectiveness when they’re at the
end of that water march.”
The testers then would examine
“what are some of the things that
we possibly can do to improve
their performance,” Oldland said.
Radocha said her draft test plan
had to be approved by a review
board because the trials involved
humans. But she had expected to
do the tests in August or September, depending on troop availability from the Pendleton-based I
Oldland said the ACV-focused tests were built
around the concept that the amphibious assault would
be launched from 12 to 18 nautical miles offshore.
Using the habitability test results, they would know
if an hour “is the real limitation or is it some other
value,” Oldland said.
Those facts would indicate the water speed the ACV
“That will help provide the technical information to
the requirements community to make their decisions
on what kind of vehicle, at what kind of cost, they
might want to buy,” Oldland said.
The new round of tests on the prototype EFVs is
being conducted by Marine Corps personnel, but supported by General Dynamics under the $766.8 million
contract it was awarded in 2008 to build seven new
vehicles for the reliability trials, Radocha said.
“Because of where we were in the developmental
cycle when the program was canceled, we did not have
tech manuals that would have allowed for Marines to
safely maintain the vehicles,” she said. “At that phase
of development, the prime contractor typically is
responsible for that.”
So General Dynamics (GD) continues to maintain the
vehicles, but is not involved the tests and does not have
access to any of the information they produce, she added.
“We’ve developed a fire-walled database so all of the
testing we’ve been doing is without any GD participation, because the data is for government use only,”
That data “fire wall” is necessary to ensure a fair
competition when the ACV is offered for bids, Oldland said. ■
U.S. MARINE CORPS
Along with developing a new Amphibious Combat Vehicle, the Marine Corps’
“integrated acquisition portfolio approach” includes investment in upgrades and
service life extensions for existing Amphibious Assault Vehicles, some of which
are Vietnam-era vintage. Here, an Amphibious Assault Vehicle assigned to the
3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, lands on a beach at Camp
Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 28 during Exercise Iron Fist, a three-week bilateral training
event with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.
to provide data on land and water mobility of the EFV
in different configurations, and overwater radio performance, he said.
“We recrafted the test program to get at the different
information the Marine Corps needs for the requirements process,” Radocha said.
Because the EFV had the transformer-like capability
to change its external shape by covering up its tracks
and extending a bow flap to reach high-water speeds,
the testers were able to put the test vehicles into different configurations “that replicated possible conditions
of an ACV” to provide data on land range and water
speed at various weights and forms, Oldland said.
Those tests started in February and will continue
into October at Pendleton, Radocha said.
Tests also will be conducted at Yuma, Ariz., that
involve running a vehicle up to 3,000 miles to see how
its tracks hold up, she said.
The tracks on the EFVs are a significantly lighter-weight design than on current amtracs, Oldland said.
If they prove to be durable, it could reduce the life-cycle cost of future vehicles, he said.
The team will do firepower and water gunnery tests
to “get some data on the vehicle we never had a chance
to get,” Radocha said.
Flynn also has ordered habitability tests “to see how
effective a Marine can be” after various times inside an
The high-water speed on the EFV was considered
necessary to make the 25-mile transit from the
amphibious ships to the beach in an hour and keep the
Marines inside ready to fight.
Because a ship-to-shore ride inside AAVs is unpleasant,
“there’s the lure that a Marine can only sustain one hour in