USMC Amphibious Combat Vehicles return to unrestricted operations

On January 6, the Headquarters of the U.S. Marine Corps announced that the Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicles are set to return to unrestricted waterborne operations following the development of a new tow rope solution designed to address previous issues with the vehicle’s towing mechanism. In September 2021, the Marine Corps suspended ACV operations in unprotected waters while it worked to resolve the towing issues that were identified in several after-action reports from the field.
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U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (Picture source: USMC)

“Amphibious operations, including the use of amphibious ship-to-shore connectors, is a foundational aspect of Marine Corps operations and is critical to the future force and its ability to remain the Nation’s premier expeditionary force in readiness,” said Lt. Gen. David Furness, Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations.

Once equipped with and trained to employ the new tow rope solution, units are authorized to utilize the ACV to conduct unrestricted amphibious operations, including self-recovery operations in the open ocean and through the surf zone. Prior to the receipt and installation of the new replacement tow ropes, ACV operation remains restricted to land mobility, gunnery operations, and amphibious operations in protected waters.

In addition to the new equipment and training requirements are the 18 tasks that units must complete, validate, and certify prior to the resumption of waterborne operations. These tasks stem from the comprehensive investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the July 2020 AAV tragedy.

The tasks cover a variety of requirements including ensuring that training and qualifications for crew and embarked personnel are properly equipped; vehicles have passed required inspections; and operations are conducted with safety boats, sea state assessments, and positive communication.


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