Marine Corps Tests New Fighting Vehicle
By Christen N. McCluney
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, May 28, 2010 The Marine Corps is conducting reliability tests on its latest expeditionary fighting vehicle prototypes, the service’s program manager for the effort said yesterday during a “DoD Live” bloggers roundtable.
“[For] the last couple of years, we’ve been going through a redesign for reliability for the basic system,” Marine Corps Col. Keith Moore said.
The EFV, as it’s known, is meant to serve as a vehicle bridge for Marines, carrying them from Navy ships through the surf and sand and miles deep into enemy terrain. It will replace the assault amphibious vehicle that was procured in 1972 and will be more than 40 years old when the EFV is fielded.
The new vehicle can launch far from shore, beyond the range of most guns and missiles, and can skim across the water at high speed, allowing Marines to achieve surprise, avoid enemy strengths, and “generate never-before-realized operational tempo across warfighting functions,” Moore said.
The first prototype made its debut at the National Museum of the Marine Corps on May 4, on its way to the Marine Corps Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Three EFVs are at Camp Pendleton, and one is at the Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland. The prototypes will undergo more than 500 hours of rigorous testing to ensure that the vehicles are on an expected reliability growth path, Moore explained.
The vehicle at Aberdeen is undergoing testing for safety, human factors, basic automotive functions and firepower, Moore said. Only one of the three vehicles at Camp Pendleton is currently undergoing testing, but in the next few weeks all three will undergo water- and land-performance tests, he added.
Moore said his team has a set of older prototypes at Camp Pendleton that were outfitted with design changes in the electronics and firepower systems. They’ll participate in a combined developmental environmental test this summer to see how they function in hot weather.
“This is the most capable infantry fighting vehicle that will exist in the U.S. inventory at the time it will get fielded,” Moore said. “It is a very robust, survivable infantry fighting vehicle that has to meet the Marines’ unique requirements.”
Looking back and finding mistakes in the process was a key part of the prototypes’ development, the colonel said.
“At some point, we didn’t have a process in place that would have given us early indicators that we were on the wrong track or going awry,” he said. Coming up with an orderly process after reviewing the previous design, manufacturing processes and initial component and subsystem testing allowed the team to create a better set of prototypes, he added.
“We are starting to see the fruit now of having put those good processes into place,” he said.