Magazine article National Defense

Marines to Test New Amphib Platform

Magazine article National Defense

Marines to Test New Amphib Platform

Article excerpt

First AAAV prototype to be completed by June, two others to follow

The Marine Corps is working to have its revolutionary advanced amphibious assault vehicle (AAAV) ready for fielding by 2006.

Corps officials believe the AAAV is an integral part of the "system of systems," created to support their vision for the 21st century and their philosophy for military operations-operational maneuverability from the sea (OMFrS). The V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and the landing craft air cushion are the other platforms that support the vision.

The OMITS philosophy applies the principles of maneuver warfare to a maritime campaign, say officials. It uses the ocean as maneuver space, an area where Marines can remain indefinitely and from which they can strike at will.

The AAAV is designed to carry Marine infantry safely to these mission locations and provide survivability and direct fire support during combat operations ashore.

'The AAAV is a self-deploying, highwater speed, fully-tracked, nuclear, biological, and chemical protected, armored amphibious personnel carrier," says Marine Lt. Col. Ronny Yowell, operations officer at the office of the direct report program manager, advanced amphibious assault.

The vehicle can carry up to 17 or 18 combat equipped Marines.

"Marines don't know what the real deal is when it comes to armored personnel cariers. They've been spoiled by the amphibious assault vehicle (AAV*the AAV7A1 family of vehicles was introduced by United Defense LP in 1984 because it is more cavernous," says Yowell. "It may not feel cavernous to them. They're being stuck in the back of it. But if compared to other personnel carriers, it is."

The AAAV contains a single 2600 horsepower engine with land mobility equal to that of the MlA1 Abrams tank, according to briefing slides presented at a recent expeditionary warfare conference, sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association in Arlington, Virginia.

The system's forward speed threshold on hard surface roads is 69 kilometers per hour. The Marine Corps wants to extend it to 72 kilometers per hour.

Water mobility is a vital performance requirement of the AAAV, say officials. The vehicle uses two internal 23-inch waterjets, retracts its suspension, and deploys appendages, enabling it to travel at water speeds higher than 20 knots. The Corps' objective is for the system to travel at 25 knots in rough seas.

`This vehicle is a full-tracked amphibious vehicle," says Yowell, "that essentially changes its configuration and shape in order to give it the planing surface on the bottom that it needs to push itself up on a plane, not like a boat moves through the water, but like a boat moves over the surface of the water."

Officials say the AAASs ability to kill or suppress enemy infantry and materiel is more important than its ability to destroy armored targets. The system's firepower is in the form of a 30mm weapons turret, which can mount 25mm, 30mm or 35/40mm cannons. Range objective is 2,000 meters.

The 30mm cannon met or exceeded the required lethality against infantry, threat vehicles, and coastal threats at a cost comparable to the 25mm cannon and half the lifecycle cost of the 35mm cannon, they add.

The vehicle is armor protected against heavy caliber automatic weapons, artillery fragments and anti-personnel mines.

"We're looking at survivability as being a function of many more things than just the ability to stop fragments or projectiles," says Yowell. …

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