Well decks be damned! The next Amphibious Combat Vehicle must deploy off a JHSV:

by Craig Hooper on March 1, 2011

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.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

leesea March 20, 2011 at 1:18 am

this what happens when you let a Marine state ship specs. EFVs “leaping”?? not frigging possible.

I have been conducted launches of AAVPs and LARCs from sealift ship ramps. To put it simply the ramp needs to have large and heavy support structures to be “dipped”. (think about dangling a 100 ton object at the end of a 100 ft ramp?!) That rqmt caused million $$$ design hichcups on the LMSRs. JSHV are NOT builft or designed with that kind of ship structure. When I pointed that out to the navy that fact, the rqmt to launch the predecssor of EFV was deleted. Yes they have a stern quarter ramp which is meant to LAND on a pier or pontoon barge.
It all wraps around the Marines fixation on WW2 Alligators swimming ashore. Apparently the idea of a two part system (ligher wit AIFV onboard was unacceptable?) also.

BTW the JHSV are not expected to be used in assaults, but are considered TRANSPORT to lift the Marines where they have to get off (I did not say assault). It should also be noted that the JHSV are capable of taking lighterage alongside. (talk about WW2 with visions of Marines going down cargo nets – I don’t think so?) But there are more modern disembakations systems which might just work? The stern ramp is M1A1 capable just use it~

Still and all I cannot get my head around the need to lift EFVs (aka assalut swimmers) on a Ro/Ro JHSV when LAV25s already are doing that on WestPac Express?
I go back to not letting Marines write ship specs.


sid March 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm

And, to your point about the 50 cal vs DDG-51…

Its a refelection of the H.U.T.A. mentality of the SWO’s in regards to whole issue of Ship Survivability.


sid March 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm

“but for stuff like Grenada, it’s fine”

Thats kinda what the Brits thought too Craig:


Sucks when the enemy votes on your plan…

Every Time.


Craig Hooper March 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Well, heck, Sid, with a good, stable perch and a nice ‘ole .50 cal sniper-rifle, you can seriously retard the ability of even a DDG-51 to wage war…

But you make a good point. Is the Navy’s new amphibious strategy wise? Dunno….probably not for contested activities, but for stuff like Grenada, it’s fine.


sid March 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm


Put your Marines on a ship that can be rendered useless with a blunderbuss and take them in close to a hostile beach.

Thats the ticket…

(That cost the Brits dearly when their LSL’s got whacked, and the loss of the Atlantic Conveyor in the Flaklands…Not that such lessons of history matter, or anything)

A workable plan if have enough numbers to overcome scenes such as this one…


But the safe bet is you WILL NOT have those numbers where and when they matter most….


kakaouskia March 3, 2011 at 3:56 am


Although not from the States, I would like to offer my experience with BMP-3 IFV (the standard soviet version, not the marine one) as I believe that there are a couple of points that can benefit a design for an amphibious vechicle.

I briefly worked with these as we got a batch of new ones after Soviet Union collapsed. Despite some important shortcomings (number of infantry carried, ease of getting into / out of the front machine gunner’s seats) there are a couple of design features that can be useful in a semi-urban or even fully urban environment; for example having to take over a port / coastal city as is the case of Tripoli now or other cities in the volatile south Mediterranean / Gulf region

First the armament: Apart from the – now standard IFV equipment – 30mm auto cannon, there is a 100mm cannon. Given the right choice of ammo (armor piercing rounds, the ability to fire guided missles from the main cannon) it can provide substantial fire support.

Second, the ability to fire while on sea transit and up to 90 degrees up angle. Rumor has it that the Russians designed it this way to counter the odd man popping on a balcony with an RPG on the shoulder during urban operations

Finally, the ability for the infantry to fire their weapons from within the IFV. Although visibility is limited is useful when in transit populated areas. After all, infantry is not going to be used in the desert / steppes where tanks shoot at each other from 5Km apart without cover but will be fighting to control key installations / junctions / populated areas (see Brazilian marines operation in the RIo favelas); therefore a vechicle is needed to get them there fast, relatevely protected and that can support during the crusial first hours.Nevertheless, I am curious to see what will come out of this procurement.


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