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Lockheed Martin introduces Amphibious Combat Vehicle candidate

By Ryan Maass

QUANTICO, Va., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Global security manufacturing company Lockheed Martin unveiled its new Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1 at the Modern Day Marine trade show in Virginia on Tuesday.

The ACV program was established by the U.S. Marine Corps to replace Amphibious Assault Vehicles in service since the 1970s. The ACV 1.1 designed to transport up to 13 Marines between land and water while providing a high level of blast protection.

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Lockheed Martin's ACV candidate is built to be easily upgraded, with a design that allows growth for a wide range of weapons, sensors and communications systems. Company officials say the new vehicle, if selected, would be a boon to Marine Corps operations.

"We have been committed to the Marine Corps for more than eight years in the growth and evolution of the ACV and its predecessor programs," said Scott Green, vice president of Ground Vehicles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, "Lockheed Martin has assembled a supplier team that will enable the manufacturing and delivery of a vehicle that meets or exceed their requirements at the right price."

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One demonstration showed the vehicle crossing over an improvised explosive device. After losing a wheel, the vehicle was still able to drive and escape the blast zone. Marine Corps Capabilities Development Directorate Director William Mullen praised the new design as a notable improvement from earlier models.

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"It's going to be more lethal," Mullen told Sputnik International, "it's going to be faster and our troops inside are going to be better protected."

The Marine Corps' ACV program replaced the canceled Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program in 2011.

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