Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has handed over the first assault amphibious vehicle survivability upgrade (AAV SU) to the US Marine Corps (USMC) Base Quantico.

The AAV SU is the first of ten vehicles to be delivered as part of a contract with the USMC to perform initial upgrades to AAV SU prototypes.

Work under the contract includes armour, engine rebuild to improve horsepower and torque, replacing ageing transmission, upgrading suspension components, installation of new water jets, installing blast-resistant seats, and upgrading vehicle control, instrumentation and driver interface systems.

“We are honoured to support the Marine Corps in this historic endeavour to upgrade vehicles.”

The older AAV-P7 models were stripped down to the hull and rebuilt from the underbelly up with survivability upgrades, the company said.

Upon completion of the engineering and manufacturing development phase, additional options, if exercised, will lead to developmental testing and low rate initial production (LRIP) of 52 AAV SU vehicles.

Transported from SAIC’s integration facility in Charleston, South Carolina, the AAV SU has been delivered ahead of schedule.

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SAIC Navy and Marine Corps Customer Group senior vice-president and general manager Tom Watson said: "Our employees and partners worked tirelessly to deliver this solution to the Marine Corps two months ahead of schedule.

"We are honoured to support the Marine Corps in this historic endeavour to upgrade vehicles that have not been significantly modernised in more than 30 years."

The USMC Program Executive Officer (PEO) Land Systems will test and evaluate SAIC’s solution in a span of nearly 12 months.

The single-award, firm fixed-price contract builds upon SAIC’s previously announced initial contract value of $16m for the engineering phase of the contract.

This contract value has been increased by $53m in options exercised, bringing the total contract value to $69m.

The total contract value, if all options are exercised, is approximately $194m over five years.

The highly mobile, tracked armoured amphibious vehicles are capable of attacking any shoreline from the well decks of navy assault ships, while carrying marines and cargo through hostile environments.