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Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC)

USMC PEO Land Systems Programs 2011-2012

Despite the cancellation of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program, the Marine Corps has reaffirmed a requirement for a new Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC), an advanced generation eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier that would provide general support lift to Marine infantry in the ground combat element-based maneuver task force. The MPC requirement is shaped to provide a balance of performance, protection, and payload in order to set the conditions for fielding a combat vehicle that will be effective across the range of military operations.

More than 650 industry representatives attended a Marine Corps Industry Day in April 2011 covering three planned combat vehicle programs: the MPC; development of a new Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV); and upgrading existing Assault Amphibious Vehicle Systems (AAVS).

The MPC will be designed to cross rivers and inland bodies of water in a Marine Air-Ground Task Force’s littoral operational area. The MPC likely would have a remotely operated weapon station turret fitted with a .50-caliber machine gun, a 7.62 mm machine gun, or an automated Mk. 19 grenade launcher with a thermal sight. The MPC crew could provide direct fire in support of dismounted Marine infantrymen.

The MPC family of vehicles will consist of a base vehicle and two supporting mission role variants.

The MPC-Personnel will be the base vehicle, two of which carry and support a reinforced rifle squad of 17 Marines (one ACV would do the same). Each vehicle would carry nine combat-equipped Marines and a three-man crew. This meets the need to transport more Marine infantrymen than the existing Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) or Humvee platforms while providing greater protection. (The eight-wheeled LAV is not employed as an armored personnel carrier and usually carries a four-person Marine scout/reconnaissance team in addition to its crew.)

Marine Personnel Carrier Demonstrator

A rear view of technology demonstrator model for the MPC, which was built at the Nevada Automotive Test Center in Carson City, Nev., and is in testing there. U.S. Marine Corps photo

The MPC-Command will be equipped to serve as a mobile command-echelon/fire-support coordination center for the infantry battalion headquarters. The MPC-Recovery will be the maintenance and recovery variant of the MPC.

An MPC company will lift an infantry battalion in conjunction with the infantry’s organic wheeled assets. Like the planned ACV, MPCs will be assigned to the assault amphibian battalions of the Marine Division currently outfitted with Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs). The reconstituted assault amphibian battalion would tentatively consist of one MPC company (nominally 88 vehicles) and three ACV companies (about 45 vehicles each).

The MPC will support expeditionary maneuver by enhancing the Marine Air-Ground Task Force’s (MAGTF) tactical and operational protected mobility. Conceptually, the MPC will complement the ACV and will be delivered to the fight as part of the reinforcing echelon of the MAGTF during forcible-entry operations and in support of sustained operations ashore. The MPC will enable the ground combat element to maintain lift capacity requirements and will provide an additional balanced platform that will be capable across the range of military operations.

MPCs would also be supported by JLTVs carrying heavy weapons, communications equipment, and cargo.

The MPC will be designed to cross rivers and inland bodies of water in a Marine Air-Ground Task Force’s littoral operational area. The MPC likely would have a remotely operated weapon station turret fitted with a .50-caliber machine gun, a 7.62 mm machine gun, or an automated Mk. 19 grenade launcher with a thermal sight. The MPC crew could provide direct fire in support of dismounted Marine infantrymen.

The Marine Corps leadership deferred a Milestone A Technology Development go-ahead for the MPC program in May 2008.

The program built an MPC Technology Demonstrator test bed vehicle at the Nevada Automotive Test Center, Carson City, Nev., which is being used to evaluate all required performance attributes, including mobility (powerpack, drive train, and suspension system), survivability, electrical power generation and distribution, vehicle health monitoring, and the communication system.

Marine Personnel Carrier Demonstrator

A front view of the technology demonstrator model for the MPC, which was built at the Nevada Automotive Test Center in Carson City, Nev., and is in testing there. U.S. Marine Corps photo

A Capabilities Development Document (CDD) for the program is being fleshed out over time. The MPC test bed vehicle effort will inform the CDD with respect to achievable operational performance requirements and inform the program office of potential integration risks.

The MPC may be a pilot program for cooperation between the Marine Corps and the Army’s Tank-Automotive Research and Development Engineering Center in Warren, Mich., as part of the program’s risk-reduction efforts before it becomes a formal acquisition program.

In May 2011, program management of MPC program was transferred from under the formerly chartered authority of the Program Manager, Light Armored Vehicles (PM LAV), TACOM Life-Cycle Management Command, Warren, Mich., to the Program Manager, Advanced Amphibious Assault (PM AAA), Woodbridge, Va. The MPC will remain under the Program Executive Office (PEO) oversight of the PEO Land Systems, in Quantico, Va.

This article first appeared in Marine Corps Outlook: 2011-2012 Edition.

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Glenn Goodman, senior editor of the Journal of Electronic Defense, is also a frequent contributor...

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-16898">

    I wonder if they will put CROWS on top as well, makes sence.

    li class="comment byuser comment-author-chuck-oldham odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-17160">

    I wouldn’t doubt it. Remote weapons systems have been used so much, and therefore have had so many of the bugs ironed out, that they’ll probably be a feature on infantry carriers from here on in. There are now several systems on the market being improved constantly. If the optics and sensors are good enough, they keep someone from having to have head and torso out of the vehicle.