Assault Amphibious Vehicles (AAVs) – called "Amtracks" by Marines – are the U.S. Marine Corps' go-to vehicle for ship-to-shore landings. SAIC is equipping the legacy AAVs with Survivability Upgrades to better protect Marines for an additional 20-plus years of service to the fleet.
Ahead of schedule, SAIC delivered its first prototype AAV SU for testing at U.S. Marine Corps Base Quantico on March 4, 2016, one of 10 vehicles to undergo rigorous testing before a full 392 AAVs in the USMC fleet will be modernized with survivability upgrades. It took only 12 months for SAIC’s team in Charleston, South Carolina, to completely disassemble the first 10 of the legacy AAVs down to the hull and rebuild with upgrades to protect Marines from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other threats in theater.
The landmark AAV SU features survivability enhancements including advanced armor protection and blast-mitigating seats. SAIC delivered the first prototype to the U.S. Marine Corps for testing ahead of schedule.
The AAV SU is a modern platform that will help the U.S. Marine Corps maintain a forcible entry capability from the sea and on land. Features on the AAV SU include armor protection on its underbelly and buoyant ceramic armor on the flanks; blast-resistant seats that replace the legacy bench seating; improved horsepower and torque in the engine and new transmission powerpack; and the addition of new water jets, external fuel tanks, and upgraded vehicle controls and driver interface.
SAIC unveiled the upgraded AAV SU at an event at our Charleston facility in January 2016. The prototype vehicles will be in testing with the Marine Corps for 12 months before additional vehicles in the fleet are upgraded.
In addition to protecting Marines’ lives, our solution is changing the way vehicle upgrades are managed for our armed forces. As a services integrator, SAIC leverages our employees’ mission understanding and partnerships with industry teammates to provide the best technical solution over original equipment manufacturers.
"SAIC's solution is truly a game changer," said Dr. Brion Cornette, SAIC AAV SU program manager. "We are providing Marines with a best-in-class redesigned vehicle that is forward thinking and unprecedented."
Many of the SAIC team in Charleston are also Marine veterans. With more than 130 years combined experience, employees on the team understand first-hand the mission importance of the AAV SU.
"I was in the Marine Corps for four years as an AAV crew chief. We learned a lot of hard lessons in Iraq with legacy AAVs not standing up to IEDs. It was not armored well," said Tyler Otten, vehicle cell lead. "As a Marine, I'm sure the Marines are going to like the AAV SU, and I enjoy being able to give back to the nation and the Marine Corps."
Watch the video of the SAIC team - many of whom are current reserve and Marine veterans – as they install the AAV survivability upgrades at our facility in Charleston, South Carolina.