BAE Systems has been awarded two contracts to evaluate upgrades to the US Marine Corps’s (USMC) assault amphibious vehicle (AAV) and Marine personnel carrier (MPC) fleet.

As part of the contracts, the company will perform a trade study to evaluate improvements to the AAV and deliver MPC prototype vehicles and hulls to demonstrate water mobility and blast protection.

Work on the AAV $250,000 trade study contract will involve determining improvements to enhance vehicle survivability and force protection, while maintaining the vehicle’s existing features of land and water mobility.

The company will also find out whether an affordable development and production unit cost, based on the production schedule to field 43 upgraded vehicles by September 2017, could be accomplished.

"The amphibious 8×8 wheeled MPC has been designed to offer the Marine infantry battalion with expeditionary protected mobility."

Upgrade efforts for the AAV will be carried out at the company’s Santa Clara facility in California and Virginia, with additional work to be performed at Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Michigan, US.

The USMC’s AAV is a fully-tracked amphibious landing vehicle used to ground surface assault components and landing forces’ equipment in a single lift from assault ships during amphibious operations.

Study results will be tested in December 2012, while Request for Proposal for full AAV upgrade development is expected to be issued following the completion of the trade study and design phase.

Under the $3.5m MPC contract, the company will work during the next eight months to develop and deliver a swim demonstration vehicle to the Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch in California, US, to demonstrate and study water performance, human factors, stowage capacity evaluation and survivability testing.

The company will also deliver two vehicle hulls to the Nevada Automotive Test Center, US, for blast testing that will assist USMC to assess, validate and refine the programme for future production.

The amphibious 8×8 wheeled MPC has been designed to offer the Marine infantry battalion with expeditionary protected mobility and general support lift.

Work on the MPC contract will be carried out at the company’s various facilities, with evaluation tests expected to begin in March 2013 and end in August 2013.

Image: The USMC Marine Personnel Carrier is based on Singapore’s Terrex 8×8 Armoured Personnel Carrier. Photo courtesy of: BAE Systems.