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Marine Personnel Carrier

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The Marine Corps has established 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.

An MPC company lifts an infantry battalion in conjunction with the infantry’s organic wheeled assets. Like the planned Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), 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 EFV companies (about 45 vehicles each).

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 EFV would do the same). Each vehicle would carry 9-10 combat-equipped Marines and a two-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. 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.

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

The Marine Corps leadership deferred a Milestone A go-ahead for the MPC program in May 2008, saying the delay would allow it “to effectively prioritize near-term investment decisions, in order to provide a synchronized mobility strategy with respect to the capabilities the MPC, the EFV, and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) offer in the future.” (See the separate EFV and JLTV chapters of this publication.) MPCs would 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 program has 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.

A Capabilities Development Document (CDD) for the program is in development. 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.

The Marine Corps’ 2010 Posture Report, released last spring, stated, “We are planning, programming, and budgeting toward a balanced fleet of vehicles. Our chief considerations are mobility, survivability, payload, transportability, and sustainability. Our goal is a portfolio of vehicles that is able to support amphibious operations, irregular warfare, and operations ashore across the range of military operations. We envision a blend of Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles, Marine Personnel Carriers, Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected [MRAP] vehicles and replacements for our Humvees.”

Editor’s note: On Feb. 17, 2011, the Marine Corps issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the Marine Personnel Carrier, which read, in part: “Work with the demonstrator has affirmed the Service decision to pursue the MPC requirement set as an advanced generation 8×8 armored personnel carrier. The USMC wants to determine the technical and manufacturing maturity of candidate systems that provide the capabilities desired in the MPC.

The Marine Corps is planning an aggressive, competitive acquisition approach with the intent to field an MPC fleet as rapidly as possible. With this in mind, the Army Contracting Command is conducting a Request For Information (RFI) on behalf of the Program Executive Office Land Systems (PEO LS) and USMC Combat Development and Integration (CD&I) to obtain industry input to support an accelerated acquisition of the fleet. It is desired that respondents identify those mature materiel solutions that meet the MPC capabilities, as well as the cost and timeframe for providing those solutions.”

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