United States Marine Corps to receive new improved M9 combat armoured engineer vehicles 0603141

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Defence & Security News - United States

 
 
Thursday, March 6, 2014 07:29 AM
 
United States Marine Corps to receive new improved M9 combat armoured engineer vehicles.
The first four new and improved M9 Armored Combat Earthmovers have arrived on Camp Lejeune, N.C. They might look the same from the outside, but the legacy armored tractors have been completely overhauled.
     
The first four new and improved M9 Armored Combat Earthmovers have arrived on Camp Lejeune, N.C. They might look the same from the outside, but the legacy armored tractors have been completely overhauled.
Robert Kubach, operations chief for 2nd Combat Engineering Battalion and Cleveland native, operates the improved M9 Armored Combat Earthmover during a familiarization exercise Feb. 26 in Camp Lejeune, N.C. (Credit photo U.S. marine Corps)
     

The M9 ACE is a highly mobile, armored tracked vehicle that provides combat engineer support to front-line Marine forces. Its capabilities include eliminating enemy obstacles, maintaining and repairing roads and supply routes, and construction of fighting positions.

As the Department of the Navy's systems command for Marine Corps ground weapon and information technology systems, and as the Marine Corps commandant's agent for acquisition and sustainment of warfighting systems and equipment, MCSC completed the modernization effort that has transformed the M9 ACE.

Those upgrades include new hull, improved hydraulic system, a new joystick operating system and a front-mounted camera, according to Capt. Gregory B. Procaccini, the M9 ACE project officer at MCSC.

With more power, the M9 ACE is able to keep up during convoy operations, and does not require being loaded onto a truck, which gives it greater tactical use. Also, with an added camera the M9 ACE is able to be more exact with its movements.

"From an operator’s standpoint, the only thing the same is the hull,” said Joe Klocek, product manager for Engineer Systems at Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va. “Everything else is better.”

“There were performance issues and reliability issues that were becoming a major problem,” Klocek said. “The initial system was fielded before Operation Desert Storm so we were dealing with some ‘70s technology.”

That ‘70s tech included intricate hard-piped hydraulic lines, a time-intensive fix, and a lever-based operating system that did not allow for a great degree of precision.

Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, were able to familiarize themselves with the new M9 ACE on Feb. 26, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C.

 

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