Well decks be damned! The next Amphibious Combat Vehicle must deploy off a JHSV:
0″ height=”170″ />So the Navy has issued an RFI for a new Amphibious Combat Vehicle (Solicitation Number M6785411IO213). I’ve written about the EFV before (here and here), and, though I liked the EFV, I am glad to see that we are taking another look at the whole “amphibious tractor” concept.
Regarding the RFI, there really is nothing new here other than that the DOD cut the EFV’s lofty requirements. Eliminate the need to get the armored brick “on a plane” and then the EFV’s super-powerful, gas-guzzling engines become redundant, the failure-prone parts required survive the effort to get the EFV “on a plane” in the first place go away, and then, suddenly, all these margins for future growth (or, for that matter, development of a rational “cargo” compartment) start popping out all over the place.
This sounds good to me–Although I would still love to see the emergence of affordable, seamless high-speed water and across-beach transit, we are just not there.
Today, all I want in a “combat tractor”
is something that is reliable, robust, operable in NBC environments and is…..self-deployable from a Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). Yep. If the EFV II cannot survive a leap from the JHSV’s vehicle deck then…don’t bother putting in a proposal.
Seriously. Remember, back in ’08 NAVSEA wanted JHSV to carry 8 EFVs.
Well-decks be damned. It’s the JHSV–not our fancy billion-dollar amphibs–that are going to get the EFV II close to the beach. First, we are not going to risk the big well-deck amphibs at 12-mile standoff ranges. And second, why worry about recovery? EFV II can come back aboard after the job is done or a well-deck-ready amphib/Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) arrives (I mean, how often have we retreated
from an amphibious landing?).
Here’s what the Marine Corps wants, and I have added notes in italics:
1. The capability to rapidly project force directly to the objective from strategic and operational distances (note the lack of specifics beyond 12 nautical miles and speed enough to surprise the adversary).
2. Forcible entry capabilities combined with lift capabilities that facilitate maneuver from strategic and operational off-shore distances and deliver forces where the adversary does not expect
3. The capability to avoid a tactical pause from the waterline (I think the Marines are saying that they don’t want an old-school LVT…but I suspect the logisticians out there want something that can arrive on the beach with enough fuel to operate for a good long while).
4. The capability to maneuver with the M1A1 in a mechanized task force (Once, back in the day, this requirement translated into some concrete performance metrics. Has this changed to become a little more subjective? How often has the M1A1 operated at max speed in a sustained advance? Dash speed might count in a pinch, but I really suspect the M1A1 “maneuver” envelope is something that was borne out of folks looking at operations in the Russian Steppe.).
5. The capability to increase force survivability through the use of speed, lethality, modular armor, reduced signature (heat/visibility) and the ability to apply force from standoff distances (OK…this worries me a bit. The next war may be on a battlefield beset by nuclear fallout, traces of chemical weaponry or biological issues. Don’t let our fear of IEDs blind us to the future threats! Also, what does “standoff distances” really mean? To me, it sounds like we could see variants of this thing carrying a NEMO Patria mortar or some such item…).
6. The capability to connect to the Global Information Grid, and enable Over-the-Horizon, On-The-Move communications, Combat Identification, and Battle-staff communications to provide battlefield situational awareness.
7. The capability to deliver lethal direct fire to enemy forces and Armored Personnel Carriers/Infantry Fighting Vehicles from a stabilized system with a precision fire control system during day/night operations (I guess the Marines are saying “Don’t give me no stinking mortar!” But with plug-and-play capability, putting a few NEMO Patria 120mm Mortars into the operational mix could be an interesting change from the standard 30mm gun. The more flexible the capability, the better.).
8. The capability to maximize fuel efficiency without realizing performance degradation during operational assaults (Whatever. Just give the darn thing enough fuel to go beyond the beach after a long water transit.).
I’m seeing a competition between a smaller-engined, non-planing General Dynamics EFV Jr. and a non-planing V-Hull.
But just make darn sure that the next-generation combat-loaded EFV II can head to the beach after jumping off a JHSV ramp.