U.S. MARINE CORPS
A U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) prototype is tested in the waters off Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 15,
2010. Although the new prototypes exceeded the reliability standard their predecessors failed three years earlier, the EFV program was canceled in January. The prototype EFVs now are serving as test-bed vehicles for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle.
He said they also would conduct an analysis of alternatives on the ACV, which he wanted to complete in
six months, instead of the usual 18 months. Testing the
EFVs would inform that analysis, Flynn and officials
conducting those tests said.
In January, then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates
pulled the plug on the EFV, just as the new prototypes
were completing 500 hours of testing in which they
exceeded the reliability standard that their predecessors had failed badly three years earlier.
During the trials at the Amphibious Vehicle Test
Branch at Camp Pendleton, Calif., four EFVs demonstrated 23.87 hours “mean time between operational
mission failure,” against a requirement of 16. 4 to 22
hours, the EFV program office said.
But it was too late.
Launched in 1988, the EFV was to be a high-tech wonder, an armored tracked vehicle that could convert into a
flat-bottom speed boat able to fly across the water at up to
30 knots to quickly carry three crewmen and 17 combat-ready Marines the 25 nautical miles considered necessary
to keep amphibious ships safe from coastal defenses.
Once ashore, the EFV would revert back into a
tracked vehicle able to keep up with jet-powered M- 1
tanks and support Marine infantrymen with a sophisticated 30mm weapon system.
But the program was restructured and delayed multiple
times as General Dynamics struggled to meet performance
and reliability requirements, while the cost soared from $5
million per vehicle to an estimated $18 million each.
The Marines cut the requested number to 573, but
the total projected program cost of $15 billion still was
higher than the original estimate for 1,013 vehicles.
And Sean J. Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy
for Research, Development and Acquisition, said if the
EFV program were to continue into production, it
would consume most of the Corps’ combat vehicle
budget and half of all procurement funds.
Instead, in the fiscal 2012 defense budget request,
Gates canceled the EFV after the expenditure of $3.3
The Corps immediately initiated a new program
Flynn predicted could produce an ACV that would
cost between $4 million and $12 million per unit and
be operational in this decade.
To aid that effort, a systems engineering operational
product team was formed within the Systems
Engineering, Interoperability, Architectures & Technology office at Marine Corps Systems Command
(SysCom), said Harry Oldland, the team leader.
The purpose of the team “was to examine amphibious vehicle capabilities and cost, to inform the requirements community,” he said.
The team identified information it would need to
conduct its analysis and provided that to Lisa Radocha,
SysCom director of test and evaluation, who developed
and conducted the tests to provide the information,
Unlike the reliability testing Radocha had been
directing until January, this was developmental testing