Launch and recovery milestone for USMC ACV 1.1
The US Marine Corps (USMC) has tested at sea for the first time the two competing 8x8 armoured amphibious vehicles for the last phase of the ACV 1.1 (Amphibious Combat Vehicle), the BAE Systems/Iveco Defence Vehicles SUPERAV (for ACV) and the SAIC/STK (Singapore Technology Kinetics) TERREX 2.
The tests were conducted from the amphibious ship USS Somerset (LPD-25) proving that both vehicles have provided a more capable platform than was asked by the requirement. For this first increment of the programme, called ACV 1.1, the two vehicles must have a basic amphibious capability, meaning launching and recovering is not mandatory (rather, a ‘nice to have’). This capacity will however become a mandatory requirement in the following phase, called ACV 1.2. Within the programme, the Corps has a requirement for 208 ACV 1.1 and for 490 ACV 1.2.
The tests, conducted by the Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch of the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendelton, California, lasted 6-7 hours. The vehicles operated in state 1 or 1.5 while USS Somerset was traveling at 3-3.5 knots (an operationally relevant speed). The USMC expects to carry on sea trials in July and August with the aim of finding more challenging sea and weather conditions.
Under the EMD (Engineering and Manufacturing Development) phase BAE Systems/Iveco DV and SAIC/STK signed two contracts to deliver 16 vehicles each. BAE has delivered 15 vehicles and is nearly ready to end the delivery with the last one, while SAIC has already delivered its twelfth vehicle with two more following in July and the last two in August.
At the end of March, the SUPERAV vehicle – the national version built by Iveco DV of the BAE Systems/Iveco DV vehicle competing in the ACV 1.1 programme – was tested at sea on board the Italian Navy LPD San Marco ( L 9893), proving its capability to get into the sea from the dock of the ship. The result of this testing campaign in Italy, conducted with a company prototype, has helped to ascertain the swimming capability (and compatibility with the landing ship) of the Italian vehicle.
This article comes from the latest issue of Defence Industry Bulletin, out next week.