Marines improving Assault Amphib Vehicle, Company trying to sell Army Improved Jeep.

Posted on: February 9th, 2016 by Will Rodriguez 3 Comments

The Marine’s Assault Amphibious Vehicle is getting improvements that are promising another 20 years of life according to Marine Corps Times.  Improvements include:

– 49 bolt on buoyant ballistic plates
– additional aluminum belly armor
– moving fuel tanks to external positions
– 18 blast mitigating seats
– upgraded power plant, transmission and suspension

The improvements will cost $1,650,000 per vehicle, add almost five tons and raise the vehicle three inches.  The IED specific initiatives promise MRAP equivalent blast protection but one should be highly skeptical.  MRAP equivalent isn’t a technical term.  There are a variety of MRAPS providing different levels of protection to occupants.  Any improvement is good news but suspect a bit of overselling

Almost 400 vehicles are scheduled for rebuild by 2023.  Enough vehicles to provide four Marine battalions amphibious assault capability.  An additional two battalions of increased mobility will be provided by the wheeled Advanced Combat Vehicle previously covered by GruntsandCo here.

Autoblog reported the Army is being approached by Hendrick Dynamics an offshoot of NASCAR racing team Hendrick Motorsports to purchase modified jeeps featuring a 2.8-liter diesel which can burn any type of diesel as well as JP8 aviation fuel.  The jeeps come in three versions.  The two and four door versions mimic the civilian Jeep Wrangler and Unlimited models.  There is also a pickup version.

The advantages of a militarized commercial off the shelf (COTS) vehicle are reduced cost and increased parts availability.  The initial reservation to adopting such a vehicle would be an obvious lack of protection.   One must keep in mind that we will not always be fighting the same type of enemy or participate in long wars.  It would be a game changing capability to be able to quickly and temporarily provide first/early deploying light infantry forces with enhanced mobility at the beginning of a contingency before an IED threat can develop.

Proponents of this type of vehicle, the Army’s UCLV program, see the utility of these vehicles in employing them where they have not been before and providing foot bound light infantry with unprecedented mobility quickly.  This hasn’t been done on a widespread basis since frontier days when infantry units were assigned horses.  Having them in the inventory would also provide the capability of deploying them inside and under helicopters.  Outside of special operations circles, there are few to no vehicles currently in the inventory that can be transported significant tactical distances with helicopters.

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  • YankeePapa

    http://www.thecelebratefreedomfoundation.org/Site/themed_images/dsc_7547-mule-mp-8X12.jpg

    Prior to Vietnam the Marine Corps deployed a lightweight vehicle… the “Mule” at a ratio of one per platoon.  Your platoon just took a position?  Up comes Staff Sgt. in a mule with ammo and rations.   Might have been fine for camping, but too small, under-powered… too slow… not enough carrying capacity… and above all, not remotely “tactical…”  I believe that some were deployed in the early days in Vietnam, but all the above problems would have quickly caught up with it.
    .
    -Yankee Papa-

  • YankeePapa

    Prior to Vietnam the Marine Corps deployed a lightweight vehicle… the “Mule” at a ratio of one per platoon.  Your platoon just took a position?  Up comes Staff Sgt. in a mule with ammo and rations.   Might have been fine for camping, but too small, under-powered… too slow… not enough carrying capacity… and above all, not remotely “tactical…”  I believe that some were deployed in the early days in Vietnam, but all the above problems would have quickly caught up with it.
    .
    -Yankee Papa– See more at: http://gruntsandco.com/sitrep/marines-improving-assault-amphib-vehicle-company-trying-sell-army-improved-jeep/#sthash.TTj9b9cJ.dpuf

  • YankeePapa The Mule was actually fielded for almost 10 years after the Vietnam War ended up until 1980.  It was pretty worthless for tactical employment but for moving supplies and casualties around the battlefield it was pretty handy from all accounts as long as the terrain supported it.  
    The M274 or more commonly known “Mule” weighed almost 800 lbs, was gas powered and could carry 500 pounds of ammo, food water or casualties.  If the terrain and tactical situation allowed it that capability is very welcome.  Now this vehicle is in a different category as the Jeep or UCLV concept which are primarily designed to move people.

    Yes, the Mule was entirely unsatisfactory as a weapons platform but it was a great weigh to getweapons systems that weigh a hunbdred pounds or more like .50 Cal machines guns and heavier mortars into a firing position to be employed later.  Undoubtedly some tried to use these vehicles as weapons platforms. Those efforts didn’t last long.

    There is a fundamental need for this kind of logistical and temporary capability.  You don’t want to saddle a combat element like the platoon or company with permanent vehicles because sometimes they go where the vehicle can’t.  Best to keep them in the battalion support/truck platoon.   Anyway, sine Nam the military has fielded Gatorsd by John Deere to do the same thing.  The Rangers use Polaris type vehicles and I did a piece on RE Factor Tactical on how  SOCOM is buying MRZR’s for a personnel employment. http://www.refactortactical.com/blog/socom-buys-more-mrzr-vehicles/

    The Army and Marines have also been looking at robotic type solutions to address the same small unit logistical need.  The Marines even call their four legged project the “mule”.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGJlne3bm1c