While defense companies know that the US Marine Corps is eyeing few new acquisition programs, it won't stop them from displaying several of the possibilities at this week's Modern Day Marine exposition in Quantico, Va. (US Marine Corps)
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Modern Day Marine
WASHINGTON — With the size of the US Marine Corps shrinking from 202,000 to 182,000 — and possibly 174,000 as recently floated by Commandant Gen. James Amos — one would think that the annual Modern Day Marine industry trade show this week at Quantico, Va., would be a gloomy affair.
But not so.
Conversations with industry have shown that they’re introducing plenty of new capabilities to the Corps at the show, even if the service has little extra money to buy new gear not already on the books.
Boeing and AM General are both displaying their submissions to US Special Operations Command’s Ground Mobility Vehicle program, which was recently won by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems.
The lightweight commando vehicle, which can be transported internally by a CH-47 helicopter, would be useful to far-flung small units that travel by boat and have to travel light, industry reps claim, even though the Corps isn’t necessarily looking for a new vehicle.
Likewise, BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin continue to promote their submissions for the amphibious Marine Personnel Carrier program, which the Corps recently put on ice for as long as a decade while it funds other priorities like the F-35 joint strike fighter.
And still others, like General Dynamics, are trying to build on successes they’ve had with other services. The company is rolling out its radio and smart phone hybrid, the Nett Warrior, hoping to further entice the Corps into looking into a revolutionary dismounted infantryman communications system that the Army recently deployed to Afghanistan.
But while budgets aren’t what they once were, the Marine Corps is hardly broke, and doesn’t seem to be planning a long procurement holiday anytime soon.
In other words, things are tight, but there’s still a chance that the ledgers might be able to squeeze in one more program.