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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC): Background and Issues for Congress

Andrew Feickert
Specialist in Military Ground Forces

On January 6, 2011, after spending approximately $3 billion in developmental funding, the Marine Corps cancelled the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program due to (1) poor reliability demonstrated during operational testing and (2) excessive cost growth. Because the EFV was intended to replace the 40-year-old Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV), the Pentagon pledged to move quickly to develop a “more affordable and sustainable” vehicle to replace the EFV. The Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) is intended to replace the AAV, incorporating some EFV capabilities but in a more practical and cost-efficient manner. In concert with the ACV, the Marines are developing the Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) to serve as a survivable and mobile platform to transport Marines when ashore. The MPC is not intended to be amphibious like an AAV, EFV, or the ACV but instead would be required to have a swim capability for inland waterways such as rivers, lakes, and other water obstacles such as shore-to-shore operations in the littorals. Both vehicles are intended to play a central role in future Marine amphibious operation.

Both vehicles are in the preliminary stages of development, with the ACV scheduled to enter service between FY2020 and FY2022 and the MPC in FY2020. The Marines currently plan on acquiring 573 ACVs and 579 MPCs. Total program and per vehicle costs have not yet been made public, with the Marines citing ongoing affordability and vehicle mix studies as the primary reason why definitive costs are not yet available.

While Congress has generally been supportive of these programs, congressional defense committees have been concerned about the viability of the programs and how they contribute to future Marine Corps operations. Current legislative proposals call for an annual Comptroller General report on the ACV acquisition program and a study on vehicle fleet mix needed to support Marine amphibious operations. In addition to the ACV/MPC fleet mix issue, Congress has expressed an interest in total program costs so that the overall budget implications of these two programs can be examined in greater detail.

Date of Report: January 8, 2013
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: R42723
Price: $29.95

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