Just doesn’t feel quite right

| March 20, 2023

You may remember back to July 2020, when a US Marine Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) went down in training and killed 8 Marines and a sailor. At the time, the Corps did a thorough inspection of the vehicle fleet:

The thorough inspection, based off of initial tests developed by the manufacturers, found that nearly all AAVs in the Marine Corps leaked at unacceptable rates.

Only 10 of 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion’s nearly 200 vehicles passed the more intense inspection, Operations Officer Marine Maj. Justin Davis said while testifying at a board of inquiry for the unit’s former battalion commander, Lt. Col. Keith Brenize, on Dec. 7 at Quantico, Virginia.

“These are old vehicles,” Lt. Col. Matthew Hohl, the executive officer for 3rd AA Battalion, said during his Friday testimony.

“As a community, AAVs are extremely maintenance heavy,” he added, noting that an AAV typically requires eight hours of maintenance for every hour of operation.

Military Times

10 out of 200…like Mr. the Cable Guy would say, I don’t care who you are: that’s a lot. And operational time of an hour for 8 hours of maintenance? Incredible.

In late 2021 the Marines said the AAV was not to be used on water or landings except in emergencies (it’s replacement, the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) would take over the A  (Amphibious) bits, despite at the time having a problem with its own towing mechanism. So, on water, no AAVs, used an ACV instead – except they were restricted, too. As of November, ACVs were restricted in surf zone operations, so I guess you could use them off shore and on-shore but not in between? This is a bit confusing.

So the upshot is that we have these $5,000,000 ACVs,  which we are using to replace the 40-year-old AAVs. OK

In a statement to Defense News on Friday, a Marine Corps spokesman said that while fleet’s average age is 40 years, the vehicles have undergone “a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), a Reliability Availability Maintainability/ Rebuilt to Standard Program (RAM/RS), and scheduled cycles through depot-level maintenance” throughout their lives.

Geez, these things have been through more facelifts than Phyllis Diller. (You youngsters can ask someone older what that means.)

The U.S. government has approved the sale of dozens of  Assault Amphibious Vehicles to Greece roughly a year after the Marine Corps barred the tracked vehicles from regular deployments following a fatal sinking incident in 2020.

The U.S. State Department approved NATO ally Greece to buy up to 76 Assault Amphibious Vehicles worth $268 million, according to an announcement on Friday. The Marine Corps, which maintains the vehicles are safe, intends to supply the vehicles from its inventory.

Greece, which has sought the deal since at least 2022, has asked to buy 63 of the personnel variant of the so-called AAV, nine of the command variant and four of the recovery variant, with 63 50-caliber machine guns, as well as MK-19 grenade launchers and M36E T1 thermal sights among the related equipment.

Military Times II

Objectively, if these things cost $5 mill new and after 40 years we can get $3.5 mill each, that’s incredible. Wish my cars did that. On the other hand, two questions:

1) One can hope the Greeks know their limitations. After all, they are our allies – if they aren’t good amphibious vehicles, should we be inflicting them on a predominantly island/coastal country? On our friends?

2) The sad one… do we have some serious Naval design issues? I look at all the fast and good designs from WWII  and then I look at deployment time for the Gerald Ford, or some of the designs that barely last an election cycle (yes, you, Littoral Combat ship), and I cringe. Am I missing seeing some spark of genius somewhere?

Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", International Affairs, Navy

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I can’t say that I have a lot of behind the scenes knowledge of modern ship design or anything, but the feel I get is that we are trying to make more and more complex ships and that slows down production and makes them much more prone to mechanical, electronic and software issues (and is super expensive). The most complex ship that could be built prior to the computer revolution could only get so complex. To take an airplane example, the B-29 was very advanced for its day but could still be mass produced relatively quickly. The F-35? Seems to be delivering on a lot of its promises, but it took a damn long time to get right and I hope we don’t need a lot of them quickly (and are very expensive). The Gerald Ford – I bet it’ll be a hum-dinger when all is said and done, but when will that be? How many could we crank out if we needed them and would we have the money for it? I work on the M-270 program and we are building those for the first time in a long time. As long as it takes to buy all of those component parts, I can’t imagine something like a super high-tech ship!
This dumb retired Marine’s thought is that we should be building many, good sturdy ships but maybe at a technological level just shy of the newest most technologically advanced thing out there. Many ‘darn good’ships seems preferable to a very few “gee, I hope it don’t break” and “this is too important to get sunk” ships.


Maybe we should be selling them to commie China.


If we could just work out the remaining issues with wind and solar.


The Marines get leaky amphibious vehicles while $250 billion goes to the Ukraine.


Let’s keep our cash and send the AAV’s to the Ukes.


A better question is why Greece wants them…

Yes, there will be a war with Turkey one day.


That would be funny. Kind of like watching a drag race between a Ford Pinto and a Dodge Colt.


IDK, Turkey has improved quite a lot in recent years. They now have the second largest standing military in NATO. If they withdrew from NATO and attacked Greece they would destroy Greece until they were annihilated.



If it wasn’t for the Brits there I’m sure they’d be at it.


Andrew Jackson Higgins weeps.

Skivvy Stacker

The thing that bothers me more than anything is the fact that there are ACCEPTABLE leakage levels.
I would think that NO GODDAMN LEAKING would be the only acceptable level I would want in any AAV I was going to ride in.


Acceptable to the guy who ain’t riding in them, fuck that!


It’s the same faulty thinking the Germans fell into during WWII, quality over quantity. A handful of “superweapons” looks great on paper, but the more complex something is, the easier it breaks down. An old fashioned Higgins Boat is primative by todays standards, but it puts boots on the beach.


Things are a lot more complex and tougher to make these days, but relatively way more powerful. For example one Gerald Ford Aircraft Carrier group could easily defeat and sink the entire WWII Imperial Navy of Japan at its peak without even breaking a sweat or resorting to nukes.

Our biggest problem is the erosion of our industrial base. Mostly it was a victim of our own success with a bunch of government regulations thrown in.


If they cost 5 mil 40 years ago
What is their current replacement cost


So when do you suppose us Civies can buy one of them AAVs? With a little bit of time, you could stirp the whole thing down and do a frame off restoration, and it could pro’lly be wat’r tight again! Be a nice apocol’is vehicle…for you know whent he Water Zombies attack!!!