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Marines to Test New Expeditionary Vehicle in 2010

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2009 – The Marine Corps’ first expeditionary fighting vehicles –- 17-passenger armored vehicles -- are slated to be delivered to the Marine Corps for testing in May 2010, the vehicle’s program manager said.

The Marine Corps’ EFV program successfully released a critical design review in the first quarter of this fiscal year, allowing it to go into a second system development and demonstration phase.

“We’re currently building seven new prototypes to that new design. Those vehicles are currently going through fabrication and machining the hulls at Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio. They’ll begin assembly this summer,” Marine Corps Col. Keith Moore said in a “DoDLive” bloggers roundtable March 25.

“The Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity will run the vehicle through 10 to 12 mission-profile scenarios to assess the overall performance, as well as the reliability of the vehicle,” Moore added.

An analysis of the system reliability was conducted in December 2008 and it projected a 61 hours mean time between operational mission failures, which is significantly above what the requirements were to continue the program forward, Moore explained.

The reliability testing conducted in December involved an overall reassessing of the total ground vehicle structure for the Marine Corps and a critical design review for the redesigned vehicle.

“We’ll go back through a reliability growth program of testing those, identifying additional failure modes, and redesigning components to get them up to the required reliability,” Moore said.

A result of limited testing and redesign, the failure of the initial SDD phase prototypes to demonstrate acceptable reliability during the 2006 operational assessment was a significant concern driving the 2007 certification and restructure of the program, officials said. This restructure allowed a second SDD-2 phase to be conducted with an updated series of newly manufactured prototypes.

Moore added that the EFV is a critical element of the national security capability.

“There is no other alternative to providing that capability for less or equal cost,” Moore said.

During prototype testing in May next year, the Marine Corps will determine if the vehicle meets their expectations.

“We just need the time to get to when we had planned this next demonstration of capability, and then we can revisit, ‘Did it meet the expectations?’ If it doesn't meet the expectations, is it because of something that's fixable, or is it because this is just too hard to do?” Moore said.

In response to a question about the need for an amphibious capability, Moore said that from 1982 to 2006, the Marine Corps had been involved in 102 amphibious operations.

“This capability is oftentimes more effective, and serves a larger strategic and operational purpose in the employment of it, but you have to have the credible threat of being able to do it,” Moore said.

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg serves in the Defense Media Activity’s Emerging Media directorate.)

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