A Marine Personnel Carrier demonstrator vehicle being evaluated at the Nevada Automotive Test Center in Carson City. Four industry teams have been awarded contracts to deliver MPC study and demonstration vehicles. (Marine Corps)
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Four teams have won development contracts to supply the Marine Corps with prototypes for the service's Marine Personnel Carrier.
A wheeled amphibious vehicle, the MPC is part of a new plan to give the Corps more options in its fleet following the cancellation of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program in 2011. Evaluations will take place at the Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., with further evaluations at the Nevada Automotive Test Center in Carson City, said Manny Pacheco, a Marine Corps spokesman.
Winners each received $3.5 million contracts last month to deliver an MPC system demonstration and study vehicle for water performance evaluation, survivability testing, and an analysis of human factors and stowage capacity starting this fall. The contracts are set to run until August 2013. The teams are being led by Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, BAE Systems and Science Applications International Corp.
Of the four competitors, at least three are submitting foreign designs to the Corps:
Lockheed Martin is submitting the Havoc 8x8, based on Patria Land Systems' 8x8 armored modular vehicle, which is in use by six European countries and is deployed in Afghanistan with Polish forces.
BAE Systems has teamed with IVECO to use a version of their 24-ton Superav 8x8, which is being used by the Italian Army.
General Dynamics declined to specify which vehicle it will ship to the Corps for testing.
While SAIC didn't respond to requests to comment, a statement released by the company on March 23 said it would partner with Singapore Technologies Kinetics to offer the Terrex 8x8 armored personnel carrier, which has already been fielded by the Singapore Armed Forces.
Pacheco said MPC would be a follow-on vehicle in any amphibious assault scenario, storming the beach behind amphibious combat vehicles. The ACV is the service's latest attempt to replace the cancelled EFV, designed by General Dynamics.
The Corps completed an analysis of alternatives for the ACV in June, but has declined to release the results. The MPC evaluation will also be studied "as part of the analysis for the ACV," Pacheco said, adding that the MPC may eventually replace about half of the aging fleet of amphibious assault vehicles which the EFV was supposed to replace.
"The MPC used to be a separate program, but now it's part of the program manager for AAV," Pacheco explained, adding that the office also oversees the ACV program. The Corps is expected to request proposals for the ACV in the spring.