13 February 2007

Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle Program Starts Over

The Marine's Osprey tilt wing airplane-helicopter hybrid has attracted lots of attention for the technological hurdles it has had trouble overcoming. But, it is now being fielded.

This has turned attention to the Marine's second biggest program, the expeditionary fighting vehicle (the most recent of many names for the program). This is a medium weight armored personnel carrier, similar in purpose to the Army's Stryker vehicle, with a twist -- it is suppose to be able to go from ship to shore, without a landing craft, at landing craft speeds.

But, this September, the military cut its planned buy in half from 1,013 to about 500 because the program is going way over budget. Then, earlier this month, the Washingont Post reported that the eleven year old program may be killed entirely and replaced with seven new prototypes.

[T]he program has struggled with repeated delays, cost increases, budget cuts and dashed expectations, according to military officials and government reports. Problems range from leaks in hydraulics systems to software glitches, according to the reports. Last year, the vehicles completed just two of 14 planned tests. . . .

General Dynamics defends its progress, noting that the vehicle has met many goals, including being able to reach speeds of 30 knots on the water. The vehicle is fast enough to keep up with the Abrams tank on land, it can carry 17 Marines, and its systems can communicate with other ships and tanks, all key performance criteria, the company says...

An independent review released in December by the Navy's acquisition office questioned the company's commitment to solving the development problems that plagued the vehicle.

Optimistic announced until last fall had led outsiders to believe that this program was just on the verge of getting into the field. But, it appears taht there were just too many kinks. It will be another two years before the prototypes are ready.


heating said...
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Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Comments such as the one formerly above, despite being a seemingly substantive comment, when made to an utterly irrelevant post (the comment was about solar heating) and including a link to an ad site, will be deleted as spam.