June 21 (UPI) -- BAE Systems was awarded a $67 million contract to develop three amphibious combat vehicle command and control variants, as well as the ACV medium caliber cannons, for the U.S. Marine Corps.
The contract for Systems Land and Armaments includes development of engineering drawings, manufacture and test support for the command and control mission role variants, and the development of engineering drawings for the cannon mission role variants, the Defense Department announced Thursday.
The ACV program is managed within the Program Executive Officer Land Systems in Quantico, Va.
Eight-five percent of the work will be performed in York, Pa., and 15 percent in Aiken, S.C. And it is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2022.
Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $2.5 million and fiscal 2019 RDT&E funds in the amount of $20.1 million will be obligated at the time of award, and funding in the amount of $2.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
BAE Systems has produced an assault amphibious vehicle since 1984. The vehicles have "earned a reputation for rugged durability and superior mobility for transporting troops and cargo from ship to shore," according to the company.
The Marines sought a stronger vehicle that can maneuver from ship to shore and beyond in combat situations. Defence Blog noted the vehicles are becoming increasingly costly and difficult to maintain.
In December 2016, BAE rolled out the first of the 16 prototypes for the USMC ahead of schedule, the ACV 1.1, which is 34 tons and has eight-wheel drive.
"Our amphibious combat vehicle 1.1 solution is designed from the ground up to fulfill the complex mission objective of deploying Marines from ship to shore," the company said.
The vehicle can carry 13 embarked Marines and three crew with internal storage capacity for all their equipment and two days of supplies.
On land, the vehicle has a range of more than 325 miles before refueling and can travel at speeds in excess of 65 miles per hour.
On water, AAV7A1 vehicles have a cruising speed of 7 knots and the ability to negotiate 10-foot plunging surfs heading seaward or to shore.
Last September, the Marines terminated an amphibious assault vehicle survivability upgrade program with SAIC that included new tracks to enhance mobility, increased underbelly armor, blast-mitigating seats, a new engine and transmission, suspension upgrades.