WEAPONRY AND EQUIPMENT: Modern Day Marine Conference

September 25, 2015 at 1:34 am Leave a comment

Monster “Trucks”

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, VIRGINIA — We went south of Washington this week for a first-time visit to the Modern Day Marine (MDM) expo and confrence.

Photo courtesy of Modern Day Marine Military Exposition

Photo courtesy of Modern Day Marine Military Exposition

Unlike massive military and industry conferences like the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space in April and the Association of the U.S. Army gathering next month in Washington, Modern Day Marine is held outdoors (in large air conditioned tents) instead of in a huge convention center. Even the panel discussions conducted by Marine Corps brass are held in a very big tent with folding chairs on temporary flooring.

At the first panel discussion, several generals and a couple of colonels talked about the importance of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), pronounced MAGTAF. It’s the Corps’ basic expeditionary force that can put Marines ashore via landing craft, helicopters —  or both — as part of a rapid response to a crisis. We’ll discuss this more over the weekend.

But we want to get to the four monster amphibious vehicles on display facing each other in one of the expo’s big tents.

For years the Marine Corps has been looking for a replacement for its aging Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV), a tracked landing craft that has been around since the 1970s. Five companies are competing for the contract to build the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) to replace the AAV.

The original planned replacement vehicle, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), was cancelled in 2011 by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates for being too expensive and behind schedule.

Now the Marines are looking for a big vehicle that can carry at least 10 Marines (beside an operating crew of three), get them to the beach from a ship as much as 12 nautical miles off shore, at a speed of at least 6 knots. The ACV will have to be as rugged and protective as a tank but be able to carry troops far inland quickly, if necessary.

Lockheed Martin's entry n ACV competition. (4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

Lockheed Martin’s entry in the ACV competition.
(4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

Lockheed Martin unveiled its offering for the first time on Tuesday (September 22). Like all of the others on display, it is an 8×8 behemoth. The desert tan vehicle can carry as many as 13 Marines as well as a three-person crew.

BAE Systems, which makes the current AAV, is hoping to replace it with its entry displayed in forest camouflage colors.

BAE Systems ACV entry. (4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

BAE Systems ACV entry.
(4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle

Science Applications International Corporation, better known as SAIC, had its gray Terrex 2 vehicle on display. The Terrex can carry 11 passengers plus a crew of three.

SAIC ACV on display at Modern Day Marine. (4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

SAIC ACV on display at Modern Day Marine.
(4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

Last but not least was a solid green 8X8 from General Dynamics.

The General Dynamics entry in the Marines' ACV competition. (4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

The General Dynamics entry in the Marines’ ACV competition.
(4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

Also in the hunt for the ACV program — but not at MDM — is a team consisting of of Advanced Defense Vehicle Systems and St Kinetics, a Singapore company.

The Marines are expected to select two vehicles from the five offerings in November. Each company will then provide 16 vehicles to be tested in all types of climes and conditions.

[More on Modern Day Marine this weekend. Stay tuned.]

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Entry filed under: Counter Insurgency, Counter Terrorism, Disaster Relief, Marine Corps, National Security and Defense, Naval Warfare, Skills and Training, Special Operations, Technology, Traditions, Unmanned Aircraft, Washington, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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