The Marine Corps is searching for a larger, more capable combat transport to replace the Humvee.
The Fires and Maneuver Integration Division of Marine Corps Combat Development Command is outlining the requirements for its future vehicle, dubbed the Combat Tactical Vehicle, with the goal of fielding the first CTVs in 2011.
Kevin M. McConnell, deputy director of the Fires and Maneuver Integration Division, said the Humvee, while a battle-proven tactical vehicle, is beginning to show its limitations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The Humvee A2 is a great vehicle, [but]it has outlived its usefulness,” said McConnell. “We have added very capable armor to the Humvees in Iraq. But for every pound of armor you add, that’s a pound less capable the vehicle is. We have done a lot of modifications to the vehicle, and it’s at the end of its capabilities. There is just no more you can do for that vehicle.”
McConnell said among the improvements is the requirement that the CTV accommodate up to six Marines with their existence loads and three days of food, water and ammunition.
The current Humvee, including up-armored versions, normally seats four Marines or less.
“As we go into the future, we know we have to plan for a couple of things,” said McConnell. “We have to plan for increased mobility of the ground combat element, and we need to plan for (heavier) payloads. The first configuration we want to build is a people mover, not a fighting vehicle. It will take six guys with three days of supplies and be able to perform like a BMW on the Autobahn.”
McConnell said the requirements for the CTV, including its ability to transport six combat-ready Marines, supports Operational Maneuver From the Sea and Distributed Operations, as well as the Marine Corps’ capstone concept, Seabasing,.
“The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, the EFV, holds 17 people, a reinforced rifle squad,” said McConnell. “Three CTVs would hold a reinforced rifle squad. It supports our Distributed Operations concept. It allows that type of unit to be tactically employed. We figured out a way to divide a reinforced squad into packages. Why didn’t we make it a 17 person vehicle?
One, it would be a big vehicle. Two, if you take out that vehicle, you take out 17 people. You split them up into more vehicles and you increase the survivability of the team itself.”
The CTV combines a laundry list of requirements, drawn in large part from the Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned and the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, and responds to the needs of the modern warfighter.
“There is nothing better than a war to validate ideas,” said McConnell. “All of the requirements that we have built into this are traceable back to something that somebody, from lance corporal to colonel, who has been to Iraq or Afghanistan or both, has told me or one of the guys in the division.”
McConnell said the Marine Corps is working with the Army, Navy, Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command to identify joint requirements that could help turn the CTV into a joint endeavor.
“The requirements for (the Army’s concept) vehicle line up pretty closely with CTV,” said McConnell. “In the end, we and the Army are working very hard to make this a joint program. There are a lot of efficiencies in doing this with one vehicle, both in production and in lifecycle management.”
According to McConnell, the Marine Corps has an inventory of about 20,000 Humvees, while the Army has more than 120,000.
By December, McConnell said his team hopes to have a solid draft of an initial capabilities document to present to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council and the Marine Requirements Oversight Council, the next step in the process for the CTV.
“I intend to have a very good draft of that in December to begin socializing the vehicle and its requirements in the Marine Corps and the other services,” said McConnell. “Why we’re doing this now is because no time in the last 20 or 30 years have we had such a wealth of information coming in about what the Marine Corps’ needs to run a war. Now is the best time to make it happen.”