May 18, 2010

Making the Right Call: Marines Need to Scrap the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle

Amphibious assault is synonymous with the U.S. Marine Corps, a combined-arms military force that is simply the best in the world at what it does.But are generals in charge of current procurement guilty of the costly mistake of "fighting the last war" when it comes to the future of Marine assaults?

Recent advancements in weaponry in the past few years have made the decades-old concepts behind the Marines next-generation Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle obsolete before the vehicle even entered production. In my latest article at Pajamas Media today I argue that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is doing what is best for our Marines when he threatens to scrap the EFV.

The question now becomes, what should replace it?

I'm all in favor of airborne armored insertion if it can be made feasible (an armored Super Osprey carrier for over-the beach IFV insertion?), or fully submersible amphibious armored personnel carriers to be launched from stealthy submarine assault ships.

Launching the still relatively slow EFV in the face of today's and tomorrow's threats simply seems insane.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 18, 2010 08:08 AM

Frankly, these were not well thought out posts. I would agree that the Over-the-Horizon concept with the EFV needs to be scrapped along with some other issues, but years ago the plans of using AAV's against heavily defended beaches were dropped. There are many situations were a combined force with an initial wave of AAV's and grunts landing from ship is feasible and required as well as force multiplier. The reality is there is nothing in our arsenal, excluding ICBMs that does not run a risk of a great loss of life to our people. War like Medicine is not an exact science, since both are not without risks. By the way, most amphibious ships are not "carrier" sized. Even the LHA is not carrier sized unless your thinking of a WWII carrier.

Ron Landers GySgt(ret)
Former AAV Plt Sgt

Posted by: YatYas at May 18, 2010 10:50 PM

Ron: That is probably correct nevertheless the new efv is still a quantum leap ahead of the old aav, lest you have a dangerous gap in amphibious capability we should buy the efv. Scrapping this new design puts marines in an old system that I have rowed faster in a rowboat.

Your idea of Super Ospreys. Again with the gap again capability. We must have no less than the threat of amphibous operations today, but also the reminder that no battle of that size is done by the marines alone. Every aspect must be under control at all times and yes if the marines ever do face those kinds of operations again there would probably be heavy losses. I like the idea of a skytrain like heavy lift vehicle that can carry 50 tons or so with speeds and altitude like the CH 47. You could then take like a fully combat loaded stryker with troops beyond the beach plus it would take up less deck space than an Osprey so you could haul more of them on any AWS.

Posted by: Ron at May 18, 2010 11:44 PM

The entire point of an AAV is to get Marine infantry ashore in a combat assault. But the concept of the AAV has been obsolete since the CH-46 made practical large scale heliborne amphibious assault.

However, there has always been a gap in amphibious warfare when it comes to tanks. It's a shame that all the effort wasted on the EFV wasn't used instead on development of an amphibious tank.

Posted by: Brad at May 20, 2010 02:21 AM