BAE Systems wins Amphibious Combat Vehicle contract

By Justin Katz / June 19, 2018 at 5:51 PM

(Editor's Note: This has been updated to include a statement from BAE Systems.)

The Pentagon today awarded BAE Systems a contract worth $198 million to produce 30 low-rate production Amphibious Combat Vehicles, according to Marine Corps officials.

The contract announcement puts an end to a limited-source competition between BAE and Science Applications International Corp.

BAE Systems will have options -- worth up to $1.2 billion -- to manufacture and deliver 204 ACVs over four years, Inside the Navy previously reportedDeliveries are slated to begin in fall 2019.

"We evaluated technical and we evaluated cost," John Garner, program executive officer for the Marine Corps' Land Systems program office, told reporters today. "Technical was more important -- in fact, significantly more important -- than cost, but of course the cost had to be within certain acceptable parameters."

Of the first 30 production vehicles, four will be "full-up system-level testing" vehicles for blast testing, and the other 26 will support operational testing and ultimately be fielded. The Marine Corps plans to execute an option to purchase another 30 vehicles next year, and all of those vehicles will be fielded, Garner said.

ACV Increment 1.1, which replaces the Marine Corps' Amphibious Assault Vehicle, is an "eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier [and] will mitigate current and projected capability gaps by providing improved lethality against dismounted enemy troops, more effective land and water tactical mobility, and increased force protection and survivability from blasts, fragmentation, and kinetic energy threats," according to Navy budget justification documents.

BAE and SAIC each provided six vehicles for testing as well as one backup to the Marine Corps. The desert phase of testing was conducted in Twentynine Palms, CA, and the littoral phase at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA. Those assessments started in January and were completed in May.

The Marine Corps will continue to use the engineering and manfacturing development prototypes to validate requirements, Col. Wendell Leimbach, program manager for advanced amphibious assault, said today.

In a statement, BAE said it "conducted its own extensive risk mitigation testing and evaluation for land mobility, survivability, and swim capabilities that proved its vehicle’s performance prior to delivering the first 16 prototypes to the Marine Corps in 2017."

BAE said work on the program will be performed in Aiken, SC; Sterling Heights, MI; Minneapolis; Stafford, VA; San Jose, CA; and York, PA.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Senate lawmakers are aiming to fence some of the Marine Corps' $167.7 million request for ACV funding.

In its version of the FY-19 defense policy bill, the Senate Armed Services Committee barred the Marine Corps from using funds for ACV 1.2 until the Defense Department submits a "roles and missions" report by February assessing a host of key military activities, acquisition programs and planned investments, Inside Defense reported. 

ACV Increment 1.2 will expand the personnel carrier capacity and develop additional command and control and tactical recovery capabilities, according to the Navy.

Garner said Increment 1.2 is expected to replace approximately twice as many vehicles in the the Marine Corps' fleet -- which stands at 870 vehicles total -- as 1.1.