The US Marine Corps, which is the rapid reaction force that Washington uses around the planet, will change significantly in the next decade. Part of these changes will be the ACV-P amphibious armored personnel carrier with an 8x8 wheel arrangement. It’s already known that within a decade, the US Marine Corps will part with its tanks and significantly reduce the amount of manned aviationwhile increasing the number of unmanned aerial vehicles and ground-based missile systems weapons. According to The National Interest, the goal of all the changes to the US Marine Corps is to create a more mobile strike force that can withstand the Chinese threat in the Pacific.
The new wheeled floating armored vehicles will have to replace the AAV-7 tracked amphibious amphibious vehicle, the first samples of which were adopted by the United States in 1972. Plans to replace the AAV (Amphibious Assault Vehicle) have existed for a long time. What exactly will change the floating tracked vehicles, it became finally clear on July 19, 2018, when the winner of the tender for the creation of a new combat vehicle for the US Marine Corps was announced. The winner was the 8-wheel ACV amphibious vehicle (Amphibious Combat Vehicle, an amphibious combat vehicle), created by BAE Systems in collaboration with Iveco Defense Vehicles.
Initially, US Marines will receive one hundred and sixteen ACVs
The first batch of new ACV amphibious combat vehicles, the appearance of which makes them similar to most modern armored personnel carriers, massively adopted by NATO countries, was made back in 2016. It was then that BAE Systems provided the military with a pre-production batch of 16 vehicles for testing in various parts of the United States in the south and north of the country.
The fact that it was BAE Systems that won the tender for the supply of new amphibious armored vehicles for the Marine Corps is not surprising. The company has many years of experience in the design and manufacture of amphibious combat vehicles and is a leading supplier of military equipment, producing more than 100 thousand different combat vehicles that have been distributed around the world. It was BAE Systems and its predecessors that, for more than 70 years, starting in 1941, supplied all amphibious combat vehicles that were adopted by the ILC. At the same time, the development was carried out in conjunction with another major market player - the company Iveco Defense Vehicles, which specializes in the creation of armored military vehicles and has already produced more than 30 thousand different armored vehicles.
In February 2020, the BAE Systems Land & Armaments division signed with the US Marine Corps another contract for the production of an additional 26 ACV amphibious combat vehicles totaling $ 113,5 million. This batch is being built as part of the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) program - a small amount of initial production. This is only the first part of the production and deployment phase of ACV amphibious armored personnel carriers. As part of this program, the process of setting up serial production, training of production, personnel and equipment debugging, as well as the stage of initial operational tests and evaluation of produced machines will be carried out. In total, under the LRIP program, US Marines will receive at least 116 ACV amphibious armored personnel carriers.
Operational and evaluation tests of the new ACV amphibious armored personnel carriers should be completed by 2020, after which the combat vehicle can be launched into large-scale production. The initial operational testing and evaluation phase of IOT & E is an important stage before launching weapons into large-scale production. During this stage, the Marines will operate new combat vehicles in conditions as close as possible to combat ones, testing equipment in different terrain, in different settings, solving realistic tasks that amphibians will have to perform in real combat operations. Also, this stage involves the training of military personnel, who should receive a detailed idea of the capabilities and features of the new combat vehicle, learn how to use and maintain it correctly.
It is also known that in the summer of 2019, the US Marine Corps allocated a total of $ 67 million to develop new options in the ACV amphibious combat vehicle family. So far, all armored combat vehicles ordered for the KMP are being built in the ACV-P version of the armored personnel carrier. It is already known that BAE Systems and Iveco Defense Vehicles are actively working on three more ACV variants: the ACV-C command-and-control vehicle, the ACV-R armored recovery and recovery vehicle, and the ACV-30 version with enhanced weapons. The latter option will receive a combat module with a 30-mm automatic gun, most likely a Mk cannon. 44 Bushmaster II.
Technical capabilities of combat amphibious ACV
The ACV amphibious combat vehicle is a highly mobile, highly adaptable platform with enhanced security and survivability. The main purpose of this armored fighting vehicle is to conduct fast landing ship-to-shore operations. The armored car feels great in open water. It is assumed that the emergence of such equipment will increase the combat power of the US Marine units on the battlefield.
When creating the ACV, the designers abandoned their previous experience, since the AAV7 landing craft, which was in service with the US Marine Corps, was tracked. Now we are talking about a wheeled combat platform. For ACV, engineers chose a four-axle scheme with an 8x8 wheel arrangement. According to the assurances of the developers, in this embodiment, they managed to achieve a better combination of all the basic qualities that are presented today to such military equipment. New combat vehicles can boast the best amphibious capabilities, including when operating in the open ocean, better mobility and mobility on land, increased survivability, increased payload. It is separately noted that the new combat platform has growth potential, which will help in the future adapt armored vehicles to the changing operational needs of the US Marine Corps.
The full technical specifications of the new model of armored vehicles are still not known. At the same time, we can already say that the AAV-7 tracked amphibious amphibian was not a small product, since the combat weight of the machine, depending on the modification, was from 23 to 29 tons. The new wheeled amphibious armored combat vehicle ACV weighs even more - about 30,6 tons, and this is not a case of a variant with artillery weapons that are still under development.
At the same time, the landing capabilities of ACV are noticeably more modest. If the crew of tracked AAV-7 was three people, and the number of transported paratroopers reached 25, then a new amphibian with the same number of crew members (commander, driver, gunner-operator of weapons) can carry only up to 13 paratroopers. True, not only with all the weapons, but also, according to the manufacturer, with a two-day supply of all necessary supplies and ammunition.
It is easy to imagine that the entire "excess" mass of the new combat vehicle went to build up its armor and protect it from various weapons. In this sense, ACV repeats the general trend of increasing the survivability of armored military equipment and increasing the security of the crew and landing. With an increase in armor and combat mass, the car retains excellent buoyancy and amphibious qualities, which it has already managed to confirm during the exercises, including with a sea wave of three points. According to the developers, the ACV’s ability to land from ship to shore is better than any other landing vehicle in the world. For propulsion, there are two propellers on board. At the same time, during the development it was taken into account that amphibians should easily overcome up to 10 miles in water, which allows them to drop ACV at a great distance from the coast.
An important feature of the armored vehicle is the increased mine explosive protection. In this regard, this is a full-fledged MRAP only with serious armor that protects against large-caliber small arms and fragments of shells and mines. The bottom of the ACV amphibious armored personnel carrier is V-shaped and further reinforced. At the same time, all the landing seats are suspended; they are not attached to the bottom of the armored personnel carrier, which increases the protection of the marines when they are detonated by a mine or a homemade mine.
The length of the ACV combat vehicle is approximately 9 meters, the height is just over three meters. The landing is carried out through the ramp in the rear of the hull. With a declared combat weight of 30,6 tons, the maximum payload is estimated at 3,3 tons. The car received a diesel engine with a capacity of 690 hp. The power plant capacity is enough to disperse amphibian on land to a speed of 105 km / h, and on water - up to 11 km / h. Cruising on the highway is approximately 500 km. As weapons, the ACV-P can be equipped with a remotely controlled combat module with a large 12,7 mm M2 machine gun or a 40 mm Mk automatic grenade launcher. 47.