View Full Version : Problems Stall Pentagon's New Fighting Vehicle

02-07-2007, 07:13 AM
7 February Washington Post - Problems Stall Pentagon's New Fighting Vehicle (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/06/AR2007020601997.html) by Renae Merle.

After 10 years and $1.7 billion, this is what the Marines Corps got for its investment in a new amphibious vehicle: A craft that breaks down about an average of once every 4 1/2 hours, leaks and sometimes veers off course.

And for that, the contractor, General Dynamics of Falls Church, received $80 million in bonuses

The amphibious vehicle, which can be launched from a ship and then driven on land, is so unreliable that the Pentagon is ditching plans to begin building the first of more than 1,000 and wants to start over with seven new prototypes, which will take nearly two years to deliver, at a cost of $22 million each.

The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is one of the Pentagon's largest weapons programs and exemplifies the agency's struggle to afford a cadre of new mega-systems that are larger and more complex, but also more trouble, than their predecessors...

Rob Thornton
02-08-2007, 05:51 AM
After spending time working FCS I can identify with the headaches. The winners on this setback are obvious - the Military Industrial complex. If they fail to listne and deliver, then payment should be recouped. They need a penalty incentive to get it right.

I agree with the Marines need of a new amphib vehicle that gets them there from farther out and faster, and puts them on the ground with more survivability, mobility, and FP given the problems with forced entry. Industry will milk a need though. I've rarely met an Industry guy I liked or agreed with. They always seem to be trying to sell you their assessment of what they say you really need vs. what you want, and are always too quick to tell you why you can't do or have something even when you know its already out there and with some fine tuning it could work - they know it too and will charge you development costs for somthing that is more or less already on the ground. This is one of the reasons they hire retired military - these folks peddle influence and "experience" to be their salesman/represenative.

My opinnion - buy COTS wherever and whenever possible. Reassess the need if possible - the Army should and could consider the current bunch of V shaped hulled combat vehicles as opposed to the MGVs of FCS. I think the whole deployability thing is more or less eywash anyway -yea you need to count frames - but not the way these guys do it - they write it like a KBR contract - lots of "and ifs" or "buts". No matter how you cut it putting anything more then a company on the ground to conduct 72 hours of sustained ground combat is going to require a HUGE expenditure of lift and MHE (I did the excercises with the loggies so I know) - Industry likes to hid stuff like that down deep and rewrite ORDs.

My experience has been DARPA delivers because they are not making long term contract money off of it. Ergo - grow DARPA and give it the funding money - let Industry do the production runs. The market will adjust. Nature abhors a vacumn, somebody will step in and meet our needs. Right now Insustry thinks they have us by the short and curlies. As for COTs to meet immediate and short term - grab a good hull or fram and put new avionics, engines, C4ISR, weapons etc. on them - Israel seem to be good at this.

The money saved can go back into paying people what they are worth (base pay, incentives, NCOES/OES, housing, healthcare, childcare, education for military dependants, longevity bonuses, etc.), and maybe we'll be able to have the military we need an want.

Am I passionate about it - yep. Suits don't fight, but they are good at selling snake oil.