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EFV shows off capabilities

By Sgt. Michael S. Cifuentes | | May 15, 2009

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Workers from the General Dynamics Corporation saw the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, one of their own products, put to the test May 12.

Marines from the Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and from the EFV Program Office in Woodbridge, Va., demonstrated the capabilities of the EFV aboard Quantico’s testing ranges.

The demonstration evaluated water maneuvering tests and a gunnery test, which must take place before an EFV can proceed to field testing in the fleet, said Manny Pacheco, public affairs officer for the EFV Program Office.

“Quantico provides an environment and terrain perfect for training and testing [the EFVs], and at the same time can demonstrate its capabilities to Marine Corps, DoD (Department of Defense), and Congressional leadership,” Pacheco said.

The EFV cruised through the Potomac River training area just off the Quantico shoreline and fired its MK44 Bushmaster and M240 machine guns.

Marines with the EFV program say they are excited to have such vehicle coming to them and compare it with the Amphibious Assault Vehicle.

“The vehicle is faster, has more firepower and better armor – it’s an investment Marines need,” said Cpl. Jordan Alleman, a developmental tester with the AVTB in Camp Pendleton and a native of Lafayette, La. 

Col. Brian Buckles, commander of AVTB in Camp Pendleton, agrees and said if the Corps doesn’t have the EFV, it will not be able to support future Marine Corps concepts and operations.

“The EFV will increase survivability, firepower, and mobility,” said Buckles, a Boulder, Mont., native.

Even though some government officials have questioned the vehicle’s cost and requirements, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway stands firm behind the EFV initiative.

In an article published April 29 on www.AviationWeek.com, Conway said he’s “unequivocal on the requirement” for fast, forcible entry of Marines from 25 miles off shore, adding that no other manufacturer has been able to offer what General Dynamics has in the EFV.

According to the EFV Program Office, the vision of the EFV program is to field and support the world's most capable expeditionary fighting vehicle that Marines value and enemies fear, with a mission to deliver and support an operationally effective and suitable EFV – on time and at an acceptable cost.

The personnel variant of the EFV is manned by Marines and can execute amphibious operations from 20-25 miles over the horizon and transport 17 combat-equipped Marines to inland objectives. In comparison to the AAV, the EFV can travel up to 25 knots on water, whereas the AAV can only reach 6 knots.

Alleman also said the EFV has “insane firepower,” with its 30 mm Bushmaster automatic cannon. Furthermore, repairs will cost less because the vehicle is plated in sections, which makes replacing damaged armor plates easier and quicker. And as a test driver for the vehicle, Alleman said the EFV hydraulic system absorbs more shock and bumps than the AAV.

“It’s like the Jaguar of armored vehicles,” he said, referring to the relatively smooth and comfort Marines will have when traveling through rough terrain.

For more information on the EFV, visit www.efv.usmc.mil.


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