November 28, 2001
The Marine Corps has decided to delay production of the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle by a year in order to do more testing with the prototypes. Numerous problems and complaints from the preliminary tests need to be addressed in a new set of prototypes, including:
@ simplify the electronic system to improve reliability.
@ simplify the hydraulic system to improve reliability.
@ improve maintenance access to the engine, transmission, and hydraulics.
@ provide more room to move around inside the vehicle.
The AAAV is a fully tracked armored amphibious vehicle. It has a crew of three and can carry 17 combat-loaded Marines. It is armed with a 30mm cannon and a 7.62mm machinegun. It has a nuclear-biological-chemical protection system. The key to the system is its waterborne speed of 20 knots, which will allow amphibious ships to launch invasions from much farther from shore. (The AAAV is half of a new concept in amphibious operations; the other half is the V-22 Osprey which can also operate farther from shore than the helicopters it replaces. The general idea is to keep the amphibious ships out of range of shore-based weapons. With a greater operating range, an amphibious force could threaten a much wider area of enemy coastline.) The Marines plan to buy 1,013 AAAVs and want to be sure they are getting all the bugs worked out before production begins. --Stephen V Cole