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Marines with 3rd Assault Amphibious Battalion in an assault amphibious vehicle and an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank with 1st Tank Battalion provide security during a movement to contact exercise conducted aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., May 4, 2017. Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity Office conducted the exercise as part of operational testing used to compare an upgraded AAV to its old variant. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Dave Flores)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Dave Flores

Marine Corps tests AAV upgrades

4 May 2017 | Cpl. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

The Marine Corps tested an upgrade to the Assault Amphibious Vehicle aboard the Combat Center throughout the month of April.

Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity Office conducted the testing through the AAV Reliability, Availability,

Maintenance/Rebuild to Standard program which allows members of the military to field-test replacement parts and equipment. This enables the Marine Corps to remain prepared to respond to a wide range of potential adversarial challenges.

“We came out here to test an upgrade for the AAV by using it in an operational environment and with infantry integration,” said Staff Sgt. David Billen, section leader, new equipment testing team, MCOTEA.

“The test piloting gave us an idea of how the vehicles handle this terrain as well as gave the crew an opportunity to better understand the differences of the vehicles.”

Infantry Marines from 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, rode in the upgraded vehicles which allowed for the vehicles to be tested with the same amount of weight and total personnel that would typically be utilized in an operation. The Marines who rode in the vehicles helped to determine its carrying capabilities compared to the older variant.

“The Marines went up against an opposing force to best simulate a real operation,” said Sgt. David Escudero, section lead, survivability upgrade assessment team, MCOTEA. “All the data that they collect while running these tests gives us the best idea about what to do with the vehicle in the future.”

Throughout a 30-day trial period, the data the Marines from 2/4, the Combat and MCOTEA have been collecting will give the Marine Corps’ leaders enough information to make future decisions on whether or not to use the upgrades.

The next step in the testing process will be conducted aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and will test the AAV’s amphibious capabilities.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms