The US Marine Corps (USMC) has awarded a contract to BAE Systems for the initial phase of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) programme.

The $34.9m contract has a performance period of 20 months and will see the company focus on the design and development of the ACV Recovery (ACV-R) variant.

The ACV-R variant will replace the USMC’s Assault Amphibious Vehicle Recovery (AAVR7A1) variant.

It will provide maintenance, direct field support and recovery to the existing USMC’s ACV family of vehicles.

An adaptable amphibious platform, ACV is designed to fulfil the challenging mission objectives of deploying marine forces from ship to shore.

Once the initial phase is completed, BAE systems will commence the second phase of the ACV programme, which includes the delivery of production test vehicles for user evaluation.

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BAE Systems amphibious programme vice-president John Swift said: “The recovery variant will provide crucial recovery capability in the amphibious fleet.

“It also expands the ACV family of vehicles and demonstrates the base vehicle’s proven design, allowing it to be seamlessly integrated into the fleet without compromising performance.”

BAE Systems is under contract to deliver two other variants of the ACV vehicles, including the ACV personnel variant (ACV-P) and ACV command variant (ACV-C) for the USMC.

Besides, the company has also received a $67m design and development contract for a 30mm medium calibre cannon variant (ACV-30).

The USMC has also provided task instructions to BAE Systems to study and incorporate command and control, advanced reconnaissance, communication and unmanned or computer aerial systems into an ACV variant.

Production work related to the ACV programme is underway at BAE Systems’ different US locations that include San Jose in California, Aiken in South Carolina, York in Pennsylvania, Stafford in Virginia and Sterling Heights in Michigan.