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Photos: Marines test-drive next-gen armored vehicle

The amphibious Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle moves fast and packs state-of-the-art electronics.

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1 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle

It may look a little like the fake dragon in the James Bond movie "Dr. No," but the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is actually the next-generation amphibious troop carrier for the U.S. Marine Corps. The EFV is due to go into service at the end of the decade, a higher-tech replacement for the Marines' aging workhorse, the Amphibious Assault Vehicle, originally fielded in 1972.

On Thursday, the Pentagon awarded General Dynamics a $44 million contract to complete the current phase of development.

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2 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Digital displays

Digital displays are an integral part of the EFV for displaying maps and vehicle control systems. The vehicle is also set to include state-of-the-art voice and data communications.

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3 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Driver

Even with the technical advances, the quarters will continue to be cramped. The EFV will have a crew of three and is designed to transport 17 combat-equipped Marines.

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4 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Water

A 2,700-horsepower engine will propel the EFV through the water at up to 25 knots, and on land at up to 45 miles per hour. Operational testing is scheduled for the summer.

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5 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Rear view

Rear view of the EFV, with the decidedly low-tech--and indispensable--gear of shovel and sledgehammer.

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6 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

EFV

The EFV, looking menacing at night on the firing range. The main weapon is a 30mm automatic chain gun.

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