|Photos courtesy of Mattis via Flickr|
Man! I thought the Canadian TAPV program was operating under the radar. But compared to the Marine Corps Personnel Carrier competition, the Canadian program is as open to public viewing as the sun is on a cloudless day.
A couple of issues...
1. A little birdy told me that the revised Request For Proposals was out. To be precise it came out Tues of this week.
2. The Iveco Super AV 8x8 (built with BAE) remains a mystery. I found out that its being developed at the BAE facility in Ontario, CA. Nothing to be found on either the BAE or Iveco website on this vehicle though. That's really different from the way that BAE has operated in the past. They were once the 500 pound gorilla in the room and didn't care who knew what about whatever they were developing. I take this as an indication of how serious these competitions have become. Paychecks and jobs are on the line and its no laughing matter.
3. The Lockheed Martin/Patria Havoc has some fans in the Marine Corps. The AAV crewmen that got a chance to work up the vehicle in Pendleton are extremely pleased with it. Full disclosure, I'm a fan of the AMV and the Havoc model seems to build on that success.
4. Another potential competitor that's missing in action is General Dynamics. I fully expect them to offer a Piranha model (Stryker lite) but information on what they're working on is also embargoed. This is the dark horse in the competition in my opinion. But the Piranha III is in service with the Spanish and Brazilian Marine Corps (just to name two of the customers) and is used in much the same way I see the USMC using it. Amphibious operations second, troop mobility first.
5. I still wonder what the game plan is with these vehicles. Its obvious that they'll probably come into service but does this mean that the Marine Corps has given up on the amphibious tractor? You just can't beat the mobility that comes with tracks and how do you set up your assault battalions with MPCs? Correction, more importantly how would they slice out to the MEU's???? Instead of say 40 tracks do you now go out with an even split? Or do you bias it more to wheels in the desert and tracks in the Pacific?
Regardless, I contacted Paul McCleary (well to be honest I posted a question on his blog about the MPC) and he said...
So I guess we wait and see. My contacts are exhausted...although I will make another run at the Marine Personnel Carrier program office.