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Corps aims to make vomit-proof amtrac

By Gidget Fuentes – Staff writer
Posted : Monday Feb 27, 2012 17:49:24 EST
  The Marine Corps may be a sea-going service, but there’s one thing not issued in boot camp: a strong stomach that can endure riding in amphibious assault vehicles.

But an ongoing study started last year hopes to find ways to increase the comfort of amphibious vehicles and make them less apt to induce nausea in combat-equipped Marines before they hit the beach.

“What are the endurance limits of Marines, and what are the tolerance limits of Marines in conjunction with amphibious transport to the beach?” asked William E. Taylor, the Marine Corps’ program executive officer for land systems in Quantico, Va., during a Feb. 7 visit to Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch at Pendleton is helping with the studies, which are part of a broader effort to improve future vehicles.

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“We are trying to be a little smarter in developing the next-generation vehicle by simply not basing it on a paper document,” Taylor said. “We are just trying to gain some practical insight into the ramifications of our requirement.”

Taylor declined to detail their preliminary findings or elaborate on how Marines were being tested. He said the Marine Corps will report the results to Congress, which requested a habitability study in the fiscal 2012 defense authorization.

Test branch officials and members of I Marine Expeditionary Force have helped with initial research using AAVs and four prototypes of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, the AAV-replacement program defense officials canceled last year.

When it comes to stomach-churning research, “this actually is the most scientifically approached testing we have done,” said Emanuel “Manny” Pacheco, a spokesman for the program manager office. “We have had all kinds of anecdotal information that says, OK, we keep Marines in the back of this thing for 45 minutes to an hour and they are going to start losing their lunch.”

The first phase of the testing has been completed with the AAV and EFV, Taylor said, “just to baseline some of the human aspects of amphibious transport.”

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