USA — Marine Corps Tests New Fighting Vehicle

WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps is con­duct­ing reli­a­bil­i­ty tests on its lat­est expe­di­tionary fight­ing vehi­cle pro­to­types, the service’s pro­gram man­ag­er for the effort said yes­ter­day dur­ing a “DoD Live” blog­gers round­table.

“[For] the last cou­ple of years, we’ve been going through a redesign for reli­a­bil­i­ty for the basic sys­tem,” Marine Corps Col. Kei­th Moore said.

The EFV, as it’s known, is meant to serve as a vehi­cle bridge for Marines, car­ry­ing them from Navy ships through the surf and sand and miles deep into ene­my ter­rain. It will replace the assault amphibi­ous vehi­cle that was pro­cured in 1972 and will be more than 40 years old when the EFV is field­ed.

The new vehi­cle can launch far from shore, beyond the range of most guns and mis­siles, and can skim across the water at high speed, allow­ing Marines to achieve sur­prise, avoid ene­my strengths, and “gen­er­ate nev­er-before-real­ized oper­a­tional tem­po across warfight­ing func­tions,” Moore said.

The first pro­to­type made its debut at the Nation­al Muse­um of the Marine Corps on May 4, on its way to the Marine Corps Amphibi­ous Vehi­cle Test Branch at Camp Pendle­ton, Calif. Three EFVs are at Camp Pendle­ton, and one is at the Aberdeen Test Cen­ter in Mary­land. The pro­to­types will under­go more than 500 hours of rig­or­ous test­ing to ensure that the vehi­cles are on an expect­ed reli­a­bil­i­ty growth path, Moore explained.

The vehi­cle at Aberdeen is under­go­ing test­ing for safe­ty, human fac­tors, basic auto­mo­tive func­tions and fire­pow­er, Moore said. Only one of the three vehi­cles at Camp Pendle­ton is cur­rent­ly under­go­ing test­ing, but in the next few weeks all three will under­go water- and land-per­for­mance tests, he added.

Moore said his team has a set of old­er pro­to­types at Camp Pendle­ton that were out­fit­ted with design changes in the elec­tron­ics and fire­pow­er sys­tems. They’ll par­tic­i­pate in a com­bined devel­op­men­tal envi­ron­men­tal test this sum­mer to see how they func­tion in hot weath­er.

“This is the most capa­ble infantry fight­ing vehi­cle that will exist in the U.S. inven­to­ry at the time it will get field­ed,” Moore said. “It is a very robust, sur­viv­able infantry fight­ing vehi­cle that has to meet the Marines’ unique require­ments.”

Look­ing back and find­ing mis­takes in the process was a key part of the pro­to­types’ devel­op­ment, the colonel said.

“At some point, we did­n’t have a process in place that would have giv­en us ear­ly indi­ca­tors that we were on the wrong track or going awry,” he said. Com­ing up with an order­ly process after review­ing the pre­vi­ous design, man­u­fac­tur­ing process­es and ini­tial com­po­nent and sub­sys­tem test­ing allowed the team to cre­ate a bet­ter set of pro­to­types, he added.

“We are start­ing to see the fruit now of hav­ing put those good process­es into place,” he said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)