The Marine Corps has finally fielded its first Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) to grunts, according to photos released by the service last week.
The Corps’s first new amphibious vehicle since Vietnam, the ACV is expected to replace the service’s arsenal of Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV) that have been in service since the 1970s.
The new vehicles were introduced during a redesignation ceremony for Co. D, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division at at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California on Wednesday.
Photos published by the Marine Corps appear to show a half-dozen ACV hulls parked for inspection at the service’s largest base.
“The ceremony was held to officially introduce the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle, which is meant to supplement and eventually replace the current Amphibious Assault Vehicles,” the service said in a statement.
Its fielding years in the making, the Corps first awarded $198 million in contract options to BAE Systems to produce 30 low-rate production ACV vehicles back in June 2018.
As Marine Corps Times noted in January 2019, the service is angling to initiate full production of some 704 ACVs by 2022 at the earliest in a deal that would total upwards of $1.2 billion.
In April 2019, Navy and Marine Corps leaders told lawmakers that a full rate production decision was scheduled for the third quarter of fiscal year 2020, with the ACV on schedule to achieve initial operational capability in the fourth quarter of that year.
News of the fielding of the ACV comes less than a month after nine crew members were killed after a legacy AAV sank during training off San Clemente Island,
Military officials have launched two separate investigations into the incident, which marked the Corps’ deadliest training accident in the history of the AAV.