BAE’s ‘Supersized’ Personnel Carrier


BAE Systems Plc is optimistic the U.S. Marine Corps will eventually resume funding for a new wheeled personnel carrier, an executive said.

The question is, when?

To keep folks talking about the program, the company transported a prototype of its 8X8 amphibious wheeled vehicle to the Modern Day Marine expo a few weeks ago in Quantico, Va. Based on the SuperAV made by Italy’s Iveco Defence Vehicles, the 26-ton green machine was hard to miss.

“We supersized the vehicle, as if we took it to the drive-thru at McDonald’s and gave it a few Big Macs,” John Swift, director of the Marine Personnel Carrier program for the U.S. subsidiary of London-based BAE, said in an interview. “Size matters. The greater the mass, the more buoyancy you have. The greater the mass, the more survivable it can be.”

The service has an operational need for about 570 of the so-called Marine Personnel Carriers, or MPCs. Due to budget cuts, though, it was forced to delay the effort and transfer funding to more important programs, including the Amphibious Combat Vehicle, or ACV.

“We’re now being told that the funding for next year will be vacated and will be reassigned to ACV,” Swift said. “MPC will go into hiatus for one to six years.”

BAE was one of four companies that received contracts from the service to begin developing and testing prototypes. The others were General Dynamics Corp., based in Falls Church, Va.; Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Md.; and SAIC Inc., based in McLean, Va.

Because the Marine Corps mandated that any designs be based on existing platforms, each of the companies partnered with an international company. BAE teamed with Turin, Italy-based Iveco, which is part of CNH Global N.V., based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Iveco’s SuperAV was almost entirely compatible with the Marine Corps’ program requirements, but needed to be modified to carry bigger troops and withstand stronger blasts, Swift said. BAE’s version of the vehicle costs about $3.5 million, he said.

The redesigned machine can carry a dozen Marines, including three crew members and nine passengers, each standing 6-foot-3-inches tall and weighing about 220 pounds, plus their gear, Swift said. It features a V-shaped hull to deflect bomb blasts and can travel up to 10 nautical miles from a dock landing ship to shore and back, he said.

The vehicle on display had already completed water and shore demonstrations at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Swift said. Two others had successfully undergone blast testing at the Nevada Automotive Test Center, he said.

Whether or when Marine Corps may move forward with the program remains unclear, Swift said. When asked whether some level of funding will be likely restored to keep the program alive, he said, “I am hopeful but not confident.”

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

18 Comments on "BAE’s ‘Supersized’ Personnel Carrier"

  1. “MPC will go into hiatus for one to six years.”

    They did this to GPS IIF during the last defense big department funding drop in the late 90s. The result was the knowledgeable engineers will go elsewhere, the technology will change and when/if funding resumes it will be worse than starting from scratch with overruns and schedule slips galore.

  2. "Size matters. The greater the mass, the more buoyancy you have"
    For the love of god, don't let that man anywhere near the people designing this thing. I'm guessing he also thinks heavier things fall faster?

  3. So this will carry a nine man squad. Problem is marine squads are 13…

    So the Marine squad hits the beach 30% weaker or has to link up under fire. This is the greatest weakness of the Bradley relearned in Iraq and why the Army has been so adamant that the GCV carry the whole Army nine man squad.

    Marines, don't repeat the Army's mistake. We lived with it for 30 yrs and still trying to fix it.

  4. I don’t know why they don’t build these amphibious vehicles as wheeled semi-submersibles with twin schnorkels and periscopes – submerged, they are protected from ATGMs and other kinds of fire, and there would be far less issues with dealing with different sea states.

  5. Nice machine for the marines but I think the Navy should require it be able to take off like a helicopter. To save money. Maybe the air force has some requirements?

  6. "BAE Systems Plc is optimistic the U.S. Marine Corps will eventually resume funding for a new wheeled personnel carrier, an executive said.

    The question is, when?"

    When the DoD finally stops spending all its money on the F-35 and LCS boondoggles.

  7. Wishful thinking by BAE who money got there heads. The USMC will not have the funds anytime soon for this. I also dont see the need for a LPV replacement for now. more crap from greedy company.

  8. How many drones could we afford to have on station for the cost of one of these things full of marines. 20? 30? And no broken bodies coming home from war. More savings.

  9. I'm still not sure if we'd be better served by delivering infantry to the shore on boats instead of a dual-purpose vehicle. The tradeoff is that you need space aboard ship to store boats /and/ whatever armored personnel carrier you wanted to carry your marines on the ground, and that personnel carrier would compete with the M1 and other trucks for limited LCAC space.

    Hovertanks can't come soon enough.

    It feels like the only reason we have amphib APCs is so that there is one less vehicle that needs to be carried by precious LCAC or other landing craft.

  10. unless china blitzkriegs the pacific rim in the next 20 years…. I don't see a need for this.

    In all honesty… when is the last time the US Marines pulled an amphibious BLT sized raid since Somalia. and was that one even necessary…?

  11. On various websites it says that if you want a turret it will drop the troop capacity down to 8-9. Pictures without a turret makes it look unarmed. I could not find anything that wrote about how you might shoot from it without a turret. I do not know, may be shooting from it is not a requirement. Does anyone on here know more about it?

  12. BAE’s ‘Supersized’ Personnel Carrier. Just what we need in the age of smart missiles and IEDs every five feet. Why not a Personnel Carrier Blimp to float our men ashore from the air at 5mph?

  13. If Big Dog had a dolphin mode then marines could ride them ashore and up onto the beach. Mounted cavalry from the sea.

  14. Oh dear. He really has no clue!

    1) Buoyancy isn't mass dependant. It's density that matters.

    2) Making heavier doesn't make it more survivable. That's down to the emergency systems, crew competence, the validity of the original design

  15. Let's see here…..carries only nine Marines…is larger than the current AAV….

    Well decks for ships are only so big, planes can only carry so much weight….how in the hell are you going to get enough of these into the area of operations to make any kind of difference? What is the Marine leadership willing to leave behind so they can have these? Hopefully this thing dies a quick death.

  16. It's not big enough th be called "supersize". When I saw "supersize" i thought of an armoured bus.

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