After years of prototype testing, canceled programs, and rewritten requirements, contractor BAE Systems has unveiled the first production model of its 34-ton, eight-wheel-drive Amphibious Combat Vehicle at the Modern Day Marine show. BAE and SAIC are competing to replace the Marine Corps’ aging, ungainly, and thinly armored Amphibious Assault Vehicles.
“They designed the 8×8 to be fully amphibious,” Swift said: “a vehicle that could self-launch and recover from an amphibious ship,” able to move at six knots and endure moderately troubled seas (Sea State 4).
“BAE systems circumnavigated the globe looking for the optimum partner,” BAE program manager John Swift told me this morning. They found Italy’s IVECO, a defense subsidiary of famous auto-maker Fiat — which already had a design that met the Marine Corps requirement, the SuperAV.
BAE’s ACV offering is simply an upgraded SuperAV, which is, in turn, an upgraded Freccia, which is an upgraded Centauro. BAE and IVECO took the Italian SuperAV design and tweaked it for the Marines.
Most notably, they added bigger tires, upgraded the transmission, and worked the engine to add 40 percent more horsepower. Those changes allows the ACV to carry more protection, more troops — a full squad of 13 Marines, plus three crew — and more future upgrades, such as bigger gun or add-on armor.
The Italians will make key components but hull construction and final assembly will take place in BAE’s York, Pennsylvania plant.