BAE Systems wins contract to build amphibious prototypes

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

BAE Systems of Sterling Heights has won a $103.7 million contract to build prototypes of new Amphibious Combat Vehicles for the U.S. Marine Corps to replace its amphibious assault fleet.

The contract covers the engineering, manufacturing and development phase of the program, during which BAE Systems will produce 16 prototypes that will be tested by the Marine Corps starting in late 2016.

Work on the vehicles is expected to occur at BAE facilities in Quantico, Virginia; San Jose, California; and York, Pennsylvania.

“Our vehicle was designed to be fully amphibious with exceptional ground mobility and protection,” said Deepak Bazaz, director of new and amphibious vehicles at BAE, in a statement.

“Our ACV solution will provide the Marine Corps with a mature, cost-effective solution with significant growth capacity.”

BAE Systems’ vehicle is an ocean-capable design based on a platform developed by IVECO Defence Vehicles and equipped with a six-cylinder, 700-horsepower power pack — a significant boost over the current assault vehicle, according to BAE.

Inside, it can transport 13 Marines, in addition to a crew of three, over “all terrains.”

“We’ve already taken the vehicle through extensive testing, both on land at sea, over the last several years of development,” BAE spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said.

“Last December we demonstrated the vehicle’s ship launch and recovery capabilities during a swim test in San Francisco.”

Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, said the Marine Corps’ aging fleet of amphibious assault vehicles dates to the 1970s and needs replacing.

She congratulated BAE on the contract.

“It is a true testament to its cutting-edge defense capabilities and the overall advancement of defense innovation in southeast Michigan,” said Miller, vice chair of the House Homeland Security Committee.

“BAE is a proven defense manufacturer that can develop and build a replacement ACV that will improve the safety and mobility of our troops.”

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