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Fuel Efficiency Improvements for Amphibious Vehicles



TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Ground/Sea Vehicles

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PM, Advanced Amphibious Assault

OBJECTIVE: The objective is the development of innovative technologies that reduce fuel consumption enabling longer mission durations and/or increased operating ranges for an Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) 1.1 vehicle.

DESCRIPTION: The Amphibious Combat Vehicle Phase 1 Increment 1 (ACV 1.1) is an armored personnel carrier that is balanced between performance, protection, and payload for employment within the Ground Combat Element (GCE) and throughout the range of military operations, to include a swim capability. Amphibious vehicles operate on the leading edge of an assault and in austere environments where logistics support including access to fuel is limited. PM Advanced Amphibious Assault (AAA) is looking for technologies that reduce fuel consumption and thus enable longer mission durations and increased operating ranges for ACV 1.1. The automotive industry has done a lot of work improving fuel efficiency. However, ACV 1.1 is significantly heavier than most commercial applications, must operate in water, off-road and idles a significant amount of time. The ACV 1.1 is a Modified Non Development Item that has a traditional diesel engine powertrain. The engine operates at two different load levels. First, the engine must operate at high-power to climb slopes, traverse soft soils and operate in a wide range of amphibious conditions. Second, the engine must operate for long periods of time at a low capacity while the vehicle is parked to support generation of electricity and HVAC functions. Technologies that can efficiently adapt to varying load and terrain requirements as dictated during the performance of its mission could result in significant fuel savings. Other technologies, like electrification of engine accessories, have been investigated to improve fuel efficiency for similar powertrains on commercial and military vehicles. Technologies that reduce weight, particularly un-sprung mass, can improve fuel efficiency while also improving ride quality and water performance. By using a combination of the available technologies, a significant increase in operating time and range could be achieved.

The goal for this program is to reduce fuel usage over the ACV mission profile by 10 to 15%. The ACV will operate on land for more than 95% of its mission and average over 60% of its time at idle, under low load or on silent watch. While the vehicles spend a significant amount of time at idle and silent watch, the majority of its fuel usage is expected while the vehicle is moving. The land operating profile is expected to consist of 10% Primary Roads, 20% Secondary Roads, 30% Trails and 40% Cross Country.

The ACV 1.1 will begin Full Rate Production in 2019, but ACV production will continue for over 20 years. ACV 1.1 will be followed by ACV 1.2 followed by either ACV 1.3 or ACV 2.0. There will be opportunities for Engineering Change Proposals (ECP’s) to fielded vehicles as well as opportunities to cut new technologies into the production line over that 20-year period.

PHASE I: The small business will develop concepts for fuel efficiency improvements including an estimate of reduced consumption/increased operation time and/or distance for an ACV 1.1 notional vehicle. The small business will demonstrate the feasibility of the concepts in meeting Marine Corps needs and will establish that the concepts can be developed into a useful product for the Marine Corps. Feasibility will be established by material testing and analytical modeling, as appropriate. The small business will be encouraged to work with the ACV Prime Contractors but this may not be necessary in Phase I depending on the technology and how it would be integrated on the platform. The small business will provide a Phase II development plan with performance goals and key technical milestones that will address technical risk reduction.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II development plan, the small business will develop a scaled prototype for ACV fuel efficiency improvements for evaluation. The fuel efficiency improvements prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II development plan and the Marine Corps requirements for fuel efficiency improvements. System performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation, modeling and simulation and analysis over the required range of parameters based on the component/concept selected. Evaluation results will be used to refine the fuel efficiency improvements prototype into an initial design that will meet Marine Corps requirements. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Marine Corps use.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The small business will develop a full scale modification package for evaluation on the ACV to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment. The company will support the Marine Corps for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Marine Corps use. The small business will work with the ACV program office to develop an engineering change proposal to be applied to fielded systems and/or applied to ACV’s during subsequent vehicle production. Private Sector Commercial Potential: The potential for commercial application of the fuel efficiency technologies developed under this effort will have many potential transition paths. Possible avenues for employment are heavy construction equipment, fire, rescue and law enforcement vehicles, and recreational vehicles (personal amphibious water craft) to name a few.


  • ACV 1.1 Request For Information.
  • Butcher, J., Vasavada, N., Bayer, J., Koplin, M. et al., "Optimizing the University of Wisconsin's Parallel Hybrid-Electric Aluminum Intensive Vehicle," SAE Technical Paper 2000-01-0593, 2000, doi: 10.4271/2000-01-0593.
  • Tai, C., Tsao, T., Schörn, N., and Levin, M., "Increasing Torque Output from a Turbodiesel with Camless Valvetrain," SAE Technical Paper 2002-01-1108, 2002, doi: 10.4271/2002-01-1108.

KEYWORDS: Fuel efficiency; Smart vehicle Technology; Ground Vehicle; Amphibious; Amphibious Combat

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