Marines’ ACV resumes on-water operations from USS Anchorage after operational pause

Marines assigned to 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, conduct water training with an Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) from shore at the amphibious transport loading dock USS Anchorage (LPD-23) at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 12, 2022. U.S. Marine Corps Photo

Marines put their amphibious combat vehicles at sea over the weekend in a resumption of maritime and well deck operations with Navy ships, ending a five-month hiatus after problems have occurred with the ACV tow rope system.

The two-day deep-sea training operation with the USS transport dock Anchoring (LPD-23) off Camp Pendleton, Calif., marked the services’ return to full, joint maritime operations with the Marine Corps’ newest amphibious craft. The shutdown came after several instances last summer where tow cables snapped as Marines towed vehicles through waves.

“The ACV demonstrated its survivability, maneuverability and strong swimming capabilities by participating in a series of deep-sea swims” between the ship and the training beaches at Camp Pendleton, Corps officials said Tuesday. of the Marines in a press release. Crews from the 3rd Assault Amphibious Battalion, 1st Marine Division, and sailors from Anchorage launched and recovered vehicles from the ship’s well deck.

“The priority now for the ACV program is to get these vehicles into the hands of Marine Corps units so that we can train and master their capabilities,” the commander, Gen. David Berger, said in the statement.

The Marine Corps relies on the ACV’s advanced capabilities to replace the existing and aging fleet of tracked amphibious assault vehicles and bolster the service’s combat capability in future conflicts.

“As we build naval warfare as a force and pivot to operate in a contested littoral environment, conducting safe and realistic training on this platform enhances our ability to respond quickly to global threats in austere maritime conditions,” he said. Maj. Gen. Roger Turner, who commands the 1st Marine Division, said in the statement. “The amphibious combat vehicle is purpose-built to provide expeditionary lethality to Marines on the move.”

The ACV, “combined with the L-class ships and the light amphibious warfare vessel, are essential programs that allow us to move forces. The role of the Marine Corps is a forward force. This organic mobility is crucial to function as a forward deployed reinforcement force,” Berger added.

The return of eight-wheeled armored vehicles to ocean and shipboard operations came after the hiatus due to the towing problem which temporarily suspended training and well deck operations with the Navy’s amphibious ships. This blue-green integration had further deteriorated after the Marine Corps’ separate decision to suspend most maritime operations involving the AAV following the July 2020 fatal sinking of an AAV off the island of San Clemente, California. In December 2021, the service issued a ban on AAV. water operations.

Marines assigned to 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division conduct waterborne training with amphibious fighting vehicles (ACVs) aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD-23) in the Pacific Ocean, February 13, 2022. US Navy Photo

This accident occurred as AAVs from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit were returning to the USS transport dock Somerset (LPD-25) following an amphibious mechanized raid at the start of PHIBRON-MEU integration training, a critical “blue-green” pre-deployment event with the three ships of the USS Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group led by San Diego-based Amphibious Squadron 3.

The weekend’s training “focused on ship-to-shore security and capabilities for the Marine Corps and Navy, as part of a larger training plan to refine tactics and doctrine for amphibious operations,” Expeditionary Strike Group 3 officials said in a press release. . For the February 12-13 training, “the designated anchorage and safety boats remained in close proximity to the ACVs throughout amphibious operations, ensuring safety in all aspects of the training.”

“The safety of our Marines and sailors is a top priority, especially as we continue to test the capabilities of the Marine Corps’ newest platform,” said Rear Admiral Wayne Baze, commanding officer of ESG-3, in the press release. “The Sailors and Marines involved received extensive training in the operation of the craft, providing the Navy and Marine Corps team the opportunity to rehearse together for real-world events.”

“This ongoing period is a true testament to the rigorous training our Sailors and Marines do to prepare for ACV maritime operations,” Baze said. “They spend countless hours preparing, which is evident in the professional manner in which they have conducted themselves throughout this development. I couldn’t be more proud of each one of them.
Berger noted that the ACV, “combined with the L-class ships and the light amphibious warfare vessel, are essential programs that allow us to move forces. The role of the Marine Corps is a forward force. This organic mobility is crucial to function as a forward deployed reinforcement force.

To date, the Marine Corps has fielded 90 ACVs, with 72 vehicles operating with Fleet Marine Force units and 18 at the Assault Amphibian School at Camp Pendleton, said Maj. James Stenger, a spokesman for the department, to USNI News.

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