Idrees Ali, Mike Stone
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Marine Corps has awarded BAE Systems PLC a contract for wheeled amphibious combat vehicles (ACV) that transport Marines from ship to shore under hostile conditions, the defense contractor said on Tuesday.
The award is a blow to defense services company Science Applications International Corp (SAIC), which was competing to be lead contractor on the vehicle.
The Department of Defense estimated that procurement and maintenance of all 208 vehicles in the program will be about $6.2 billion over their lifetime.
The new vehicles will replace the aging fleet of expensive-to-maintain flat-bottomed amphibious assault vehicles in service since 1972.
BAE confirmed the $198 million deal in a statement and said the company has already produced 16 prototypes. A U.S. official and a person familiar with the decision earlier told Reuters that BAE had been awarded the deal.
SAIC said it was “disappointed” that its vehicle was not selected.
The award for an initial batch of 30 vehicles shifts the program from the prototype and testing phase into low-rate production, which is scheduled to begin this year.
A recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office cautioned the Marine Corps from entering a second year of low-rate production until the contractor demonstrates the vehicles produced have consistently high quality manufacturing standards.
The acquisition cost for the 208 vehicles is expected to total about $1.2 billion, sources said.
Costs per vehicle would ease in the early 2020’s if the Marines elect to continue production past 208.
BAE Systems partnered with Italian company Iveco Defense Vehicles to build its ACV offering.
In 2011, the Marines started a competition for the next generation of ACVs.
In 2015, it awarded SAIC and BAE development and testing contracts for the wheeled amphibious combat project.
The program will be a replacement for the tracked Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EVF) that was being developed for the Marines by General Dynamics Corp before its cancellation in 2011 following large cost increases and technical issues.
The Marine Corps spent $3.7 billion on development before canceling the EVF program.
Reporting by Idrees Ali and Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Leslie Adler
Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1
In 2015, after the USMC issued a Request for Proposal for the ACV 1.1 program, our company was awarded one of two Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) contracts to produce 16 prototype ACV 1.1 vehicles with teammate Iveco Defence Vehicles. At the time of the award, our solution had already undergone extensive testing including water and land mobility, ship launch and recovery, and survivability.
In December 2016 we rolled out the first of the 16 prototypes to the USMC ahead of schedule. This significant milestone for both our company and our Marine Corps customer was honored during a ceremony held at our York, Pennsylvania manufacturing facility. Several BAE Systems’ facilities contributed to the development and manufacturing of the 16 ACV 1.1 prototypes, some of the facilities include: Aiken, South Carolina; Anniston, Alabama, Quantico, Virginia; San Jose, California; and York, Pennsylvania.
BAE Systems has long been a trusted supplier to the Marine Corps across multiple domains and has more than 70 years of experience designing and building amphibious vehicles. Our ACV 1.1 offering was born out of a combination of BAE Systems’ amphibious legacy and Iveco Defence Vehicles’ long history producing more than 30,000 multi-purpose armored vehicles. By leveraging an existing proven platform design, we’ve developed a unique prototype vehicle that was built from the start as an amphibious vehicle. But that’s not all this vehicle has to offer.
Ship to Shore
The BAE Systems’ ACV 1.1 solution has greater ship-to-shore objective capability than that of any similar vehicle in the world. In fact, we’ve already completed several sea demonstrations conducted including operating in Sea State 3 conditions. During these demonstrations, the ACV 1.1 offering proved its ability to successfully perform ship launch and recovery – an important requirement of the ACV 1.1 program.
Additionally, our solution – equipped with a robust 690HP engine, providing a significant power increase over the Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) – has a range of more than 325 miles on land before refueling and can travel at speeds in excess of 65 miles per hour. Both sea and land performance are important capabilities for the Marines as they want to execute their missions quickly and effectively.
While our ACV 1.1 meets performance requirements, it also has increased payload to carry and transport Marines more comfortably. In fact, our solution can carry 13 embarked Marines and three crew with internal storage capacity for all their equipment and two days of supplies.
As threats continue to evolve worldwide, the ability to offset the range and precision of modern weapons has become increasingly challenging, making these operations more complex and dangerous. As a result, the USMC needs an ACV 1.1 solution that can protect its Marine Infantry forces in the face of these evolving threats. To meet the USMC’s survivability needs, our ACV 1.1 offering contains a blast resistant hull and energy absorbing seats. In fact, our design provides MRAP+ survivability which was demonstrated during government testing.
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