Marines: November 18, 2000

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The US Marine Corps plans to build its own version of the Army Future Combat System, borrowing technology and using many common components such as weapons, power train, and "survivability systems". The Marines want two vehicles. The first would be a 30-ton vehicle to replace the M1 tank; the second would be a 10-ton 6x6 wheeled vehicle to replace the LAV armored car and some amphibious tracked vehicles. The smaller vehicle is to be transportable by the V-22 or large helicopters, while the 30-ton "tank" must fit on an LCAC (Landing Craft Air Cushioned). The Marines plan to adopt the Army concept of using improved intelligence to keep their troops out of enemy range while picking off enemy targets with long-range missiles guided by fiber optics or data links. The Marines, however, want their vehicles to be modular and amphibious, requirements the Army has not embraced. The Marine vehicles would be modular, allowing their warload packages (e.g., gun module, missile module, mortar module, air defense module, troop module, command module, medical module, forward observer/scout module, etc.) to be swapped out even in the field. This would allow a smaller number of vehicles to provide the necessary force, as they could be reconfigured just before going into combat with whatever systems are needed. For example, if there was no enemy air threat, all of the air defense vehicles could be reconfigured into logistics vehicles. If there was no armor threat, the anti-tank vehicles could be reconfigured with grenade launchers to support the infantry rather than protect them.--Stephen V Cole

 


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