One of the most interesting new military vehicles being developed is the U.S. Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.
Amphibious Armored Personnel Carrier
The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is known by the acronym "EFV." It is an amphibious armoured personnel carrier that is being developed for the U.S. Marine Corps. The EFV is scheduled to enter service in 2015. The EFV is labelled "amphibious" because it can be launched at sea and operate as a watercraft. However, the vehicle can also operate on land and is being designed to have the same mobility as an M1 Abrams tank.
Once in service, the EFV will be launched at sea from an assault ship and be capable of transporting a Marine rifle squad across water and onto a landed area. Developed by General Dynamics of Falls Church, Virginia, the EFV is a tracked vehicle similar to a tank. The vehicle has an aluminum hull which helps it travel across water. The EFV is capable of holding three crew members who operate the vehicle and 17 Marines in full equipment.
Replacing Amphibious Assault Vehicles
The EFV is being developed to replace aging amphibious assault vehicles – some of which have been in service since 1972. The goal of the vehicle is to safely and effectively transport Marines to land from sea, and to help protect naval ships from mines and shore defenses.
The EFV program is costing more than $200 million to complete. The U.S. Marine Corps has ordered a total of 573 EFV vehicles. Production of the EFVs is expected to begin in 2012 and the first vehicles are scheduled to enter service in 2015.
Weapons and Features
Each EFV is heavy at 35 metric tons. The vehicles are armed with MK44 Bushmaster II cannons that fire 30 millimeter bullets at 250 rounds per minute. The EFVs also have M240 machine guns and smoke grenade launchers.
In terms of protection, the EFV is covered in composite armor, mine blast protection, and has nuclear, biological and chemical defense systems. The EFV is outfitted with extremely powerful engines as it has to travel at high speeds across water. The engines in the EFV are more powerful than the engines in the M1 Abrams tank.