Somewhat lost in the death of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program is another thread: The Marine Corps is building a case to move up development of a new vehicle known as the Marine Personnel Carrier.
In the wake of the multibillion dollar program’s cancellation last week, the service plans to push three separate projects along with new requests to industry by the end of the month, said Lt. Gen. George Flynn, deputy commandant for combat development and integration.
Intuitively, two of them make sense following the death of the EFV, which had been viewed as a high-tech replacement for the Amphibious Assault Vehicle. The Corps wants to pursue upgrades to decades-old AAVs and find a replacement for the EFV, which ballooned in cost to the point that each vehicle would have cost about $18 million.
The third request for information the Corps will issue to industry seeks details that can be applied to the development of the Marine Personnel Carrier, Flynn said during a roundtable phone conference with reporters this morning.
Bearing at least a passing resemblance to the Army’s Stryker vehicle, the MPC has been planned as an armored, high-speed land vehicle capable of carrying nine or 10 combat-ready Marines. It likely wouldn’t be capable of bringing Marines ashore during an amphibious assault, but it would be able to ford rivers and maneuver over land.
The MPC was once expected to reach “milestone A” testing in 2008, meaning the program would have been reviewed to see if it was ready for full-fledged development. With the EFV sucking a substantial portion of the budget, however, the MPC was delayed two years until 2010, and then pushed back again last year. Instead, a single “demonstrator” vehicle was built by the Nevada Automotive Test Center, a contractor facility in Carson City, Nev.
Marine officials once envisioned the MPC joining the EFV and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle as main pieces in the Corps’ strategy for future vehicles (check out page 10 here). With the EFV dead and the JLTV under scrutiny by the Corps for failing to make weight, it’ll be interesting to see how much that changes.