Friday, January 29, 2016

More info on the SAIC AAV Survivability Upgrade via Marine Corps Times.

Thanks to John for the link!

via MCT...
The AAV upgrade is centered on survivability. It replaces the angled Enhanced Applique Armor Kit with 49 buoyant, flat ceramic panels: 23 on the front and sides, and 26 thinner panels on the top. Each panel has four attach points and can be lifted by two Marines. Full assembly takes about 90 minutes. In addition, an aluminum armor underbelly provides MRAP-equivalent blast protection, while a bonded spall liner and armor-protected external fuel tanks allowed designers to install 18 blast mitigating seats in a carousel pattern (alternating high and low).
The need for better blast protection was evident in Iraq, where the AAV was unable to overcome the IED threat. This became painfully evident in August 2005, when 14 Marines were killed when their AAV struck a roadside bomb in the Euphrates River valley.
The addition of ceramic panels will add roughly 10,000 pounds, so each vehicle will get a VT903 engine that boosts horsepower from 525 to 675, as well as a new power take-off unit and KDS transmission.
Then this...
Brig. Gen. (select) Roger Turner, capabilities development director at Marine Corps Combat Development Command, said he was encouraged by what he saw. He lived out of an AAV for seven months during Operation Desert Shield, and has watched them age in the decade since. He was “impressed” with the integration of the new engine and transmission, and was “really excited” about getting the fuel tanks out of the crew compartment. Though initially unsure about carousel seating, he was a fan after a short ride around the SAIC facility. But a final thumbs-up will have to wait on developmental and operational tests.
The article is definitely worth a read.  Concerns?  No weapons upgrade and the vehicle is slated to last till probably past 2030 and the fact that these won't hit the fleet till the END of the next President's term.

I mean seriously?  So the planning has these vehicles existing as is till around 2020 AND THEN soldiering on till 2030 without an upgrade in its weapons fit?

The upgrades that SAIC did look great.  The problem is the timeframe.  I don't know if the Marine Corps could budget a quicker schedule (or if SAIC could do the work if they did) but another 4 years is much too long.  I definitely believe that 30mm cannons are the new 50 cal machine gun so the fact that they failed to deal with that issue is concerning.  Also concerning is the fact that the Marine Corps is willingly decreasing the lift capability of surface amphibious assault.  This passage was an eye opener...
SAIC is handling the upgrades, which run $1.65 million per vehicle. The Corps looks to beef up 392 personnel variants, which would provide lift for four infantry battalions (lift for another two battalions is expected by the Advanced Combat Vehicle). As it stands, low-rate initial production of upgraded AAVs is expected in 2017, initial operational capability in 2019, and full operational capability in 2023.
SAIC produced a nice package, but 2023 till FOC?  Only 392 upgraded?  I might have been offering that bottle of Gentleman Jack a bit too soon.

Sidenote:  How do I determine what's important to a person?  I check out what they spend money on.  If a woman has high dollar clothes, fancy nails, fake hair and is obviously overweight then I reckon she's more interested in triviality rather than (in my opinion) substance.  Why have a made up exterior if you allow your "inner you" to rot?  If you live in a shack but have a high dollar auto sitting out front then again I'm questioning your judgement.  The same applies here.  The Marine Corps is going all in on its wing and allowing the ground component to whither and die.  So now the lowly AAV is behind the MV-22, F-35, AH-1Z, UH-1Y, CH-53K and that's not counting the money spent on new hangar facilities OR the cost to buildup spare parts and then deal with maintenance issues.  This just ain't right.

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