The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), an armoured amphibious assault vehicle is under the prying eyes of the Pentagon today as it is considered for cancellation as Defense secretary Robert Gates has planned a cut in defense spending to meet a Pentagon operations spending reduction of $100 billion ($US). He states in a press release that “he supports the cancellation of the EFV”.

The EFV project is a $14.4 billion program with prototypes created, tested and was intended to be deployed in 2015 to replace the AAV-7A1. The vehicle weighs 38-short-tonnes, carries a 30 mm MK44 chain gun along side a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun as well as a secondary 7.62 mm machine gun. It can carry 17 infantrymen plus three crew and is intended to be launched from LHD or amphibious assault ships. It can be considered an upgrade from the AAV-7A1 as it carries a 30 mm chain gun in comparison to an inaccurate grenade launcher and travels 28 mph through water in comparison to the AAV-7A1’s 9 mph.

Analysts in 2008 suggested the axing of the program. The program has been in development for over 20 years with billions going into the development of the vehicle and it has had several re-designs since its incarnation. There have been several reliability problems with the vehicle, however the project was still funded through Congress to fix these deficiencies. In 2010 Robert Gates called the program “exquisite” citing the fact that the program had not got anywhere close to completion in its 20 year tenure of problems. The National Taxpayers Union called the program “wasteful” and further asked for its cancellation in late 2010. According to US Navy financial documents the program has a total projected cost since its first development of around $15.9 billion ($US).

Unofficial tests in Pendleton have lasted more than 20 hours between system failures and interruptions. The initial goal for the EFV set by the defense committee was for the EFV to last 43.5 hours per breakdown and later on it would have to meet further targets beyond fielding in 2013.