Next summer the ­Marines will select a new combat Assault ­Amphibious Vehicle to replace the current fleet, which has been in use for more than 40 years.

The new Amphibious Combat Vehicle will be a wheeled, V-shaped hull armored personnel carrier designed to bring Marines from ship to shore and keep pace with an M1A1 Abrams tank rolling inland.

The final version will be selected from prototypes by SAIC and BAE Systems. Production is expected to begin next fall.

For now, however, the Corps will ­continue to upgrade the existing AAV fleet while the ACVs come into the inventory.

The Corps plans to purchase 204 ACV 1.1 versions and then move to acquire 490 ACV 1.2 versions after an initial production run.

The ACV must carry a crew of three along with 10 fully loaded Marine ­infantrymen and a remotely operated .50-caliber gun. It’s expected to later carry a dual .50-caliber machine gun and either a 40mm or 30mm cannon.

The SAIC version can carry the ­three-person crew and 11 infantrymen while the BAE Systems version can carry the crew plus 13 infantrymen.

Marines have 964 AAVs housed in three Assault Amphibious Battalions, two active and one reserve.

To continue effectiveness as the ACV enters the fleet, 361 AAVs will be upgraded starting mid-2019, Boucher said. The upgrades are aimed to extend its service life until 2035.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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