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Volume 6, Number 1 Spring 2010 Featured Project

It's A Boat, It's A Tank … The Marine Corps EFV is Both

By Matthew V. Veazey

In five years the Marine Corps plans to begin fielding its eagerly anticipated Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), which stands to have as dramatic an effect on the Corps' expeditionary capabilities as the Harrier Jump Jet and the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.

A self-deploying, high-water speed, armored amphibious vehicle, the EFV will be capable of transporting Marines from ships located more than 20 nautical miles at sea to inland objectives. It will boast more than three times the water speed of the Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV7A1) that it will replace. Indeed, the 6- to 8-knot speed of the AAV7A1 limits the rapid mobilization of amphibious combat forces on land. The Corps first procured the AAV7A1 in 1972, and the technology will be more than 40 years old when the EFV is fielded. (See High-Tech Transport: EFV Sports Ceramic- Composite Armor and a Compact Diesel Engine.)

An Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle enters the water during test exercises off the coast of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, in October 2008. Photo by Private Daniel Boothe, U.S. Marine Corps.

"It will have the speed and maneuvering capabilities to operate with main battle tanks on land. In addition, the vehicles can use bodies of water, such as oceans, lakes, and rivers, as avenues of approach and maneuver," said

Emanuel "Manny" Pacheco, public affairs officer with the Marine Corps’ EFV Program Office in Woodbridge, Virginia. Pacheco added that a crew of three Marines will operate the armored, fully tracked infantry combat vehicle, which will have a troop capacity of 17 Marines with their individual combat equipment.

More Than Seven Decades In the Making

When the first EFVs begin service in 2015, the Marine Corps will have accomplished something that it has sought for more than 70 years: to develop a versatile vehicle that will transfer combat forces from ship to shore quickly. The Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands was a key Allied victory during World War II because it marked a turning pointJapan's stronghold in the Pacific Theater had reached its zenith and would now begin to decline. The campaign was also significant on an operational level because the Corps achieved its first-ever amphibious tracked vehicle landing when Marines set foot on the Japanese-held island on August 7, 1942.

"From those early beginnings amphibious operations have continued to define both the Marine Corps and our nation," said Pacheco. "In the past 25 years Marines have conducted more than 100 amphibious operations. Whether it's evacuation of American citizens in hostile environments, humanitarian response such as Haiti, or combat operations such as Desert Storm, the nation needs a ready flexible force to answer the call."

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