December 16, 2008 A series of tests later this week may change the future of amphibious warfare. Subject of the tests will be the omnipotent Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV, formerly the AAAV - Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle). The 2700 bhp EFVP1 promises a water assault like no other - it can launch from ships 20-25 miles over-the-horizon (OTH), travel on water at 25 knots and seamlessly transport 17 Marines 200 miles inland at speeds of 45 mph (in padded seats with airconditioning to boot). Should it encounter any resistance, it packs a fully stabilized 30mm automatic chain gun (MK46 Weapon System) and 7.62 COAX machine-gun. The US$27 Billion program will yield 573 such vehicles. Heehaaaw!
The EFV’s remarkable capabilities come at a remarkable cost and should the vehicle not measure up to expectations, there is much speculation that the program will be cut. Should the program continue, the EFV will fight as part of the Ground Combat Element (GCE) within the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). The EFV will enable the Navy and Marine Corps to “project power from the sea base to exploit intervening sea and land terrain and achieve surprise”.
The US$27 billion program will eventually deliver 573 vehicles (523 EFVP1s and 50 EFVC1s. Personnel variants (EFVP1) are designed to carry 17 combat loaded Marines (in addition to a crew of three) and will be equipped with a fully stabilized 30mm automatic chain gun (MK46 Weapon System) and 7.62 COAX machine-gun. The Command variant (EFVC1) is designed to carry a battalion/regimental staff in the seven provided staff stations (in addition to a crew of three), and is armed with a 7.62mm machine-gun.
The EFVC1 offers the same armor, ground and water mobility and survivability of the EFVP1and will provide the supported commander and staff with the ability to communicate, via onboard communications, with senior, adjacent, and subordinate maneuver units. The survivability of the EFV has an integrated lightweight modular armor system, seats with mine-blast protection and an NBC protection system. The EFV design mitigates the damage caused by IED and RPG threats similar to those encountered by US forces in Iraq.
In addition to voice and data communications, the vehicle has digital map display, and thermal imaging. The EFVC1 will also have the ability to interact with the C2, intelligence and fire support systems within the USMC. In short, the EFVC1 will serve as an effective command and control platform at both the battalion and regimental levels.
The EFV provides a significant improvement in operational capability as compared to the current family of legacy vehicles (AAV7A1) which date to the Vietnam Era.