Marine

Safety issue halts water operations for marine amphibious combat vehicle

The Marine Corps halted water operations from its amphibious combat vehicle on September 3 due to an identified problem with its towing mechanism, officials said.

In a safety message shared with the Marine Corps Times, service spokesperson Major Jim Stenger said the Corps made the decision “out of excess of caution.”

“The Marine Corps is working to identify and address the root cause of the problem,” Stenger added. “Realistic training is an essential part of preparation, and the Marine Corps is committed to ensuring that Marines train under the safest possible conditions; this includes ensuring the functionality of vehicles and equipment.

The Marines received their first ACVs in late 2020. The vehicle replaces the Vietnam War-era Amphibious Assault Vehicle, or AAV. The first AFVs went to the Delta Company’s 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion in Twentynine Palms, California.

Waves of AFVs then poured into the Navy fleet earlier this year, with plans at the time to deliver shipments every two or three months, starting in January.

The ACV is not the vehicle in which eight Marines and one Marine Corps member died in July 2020 during amphibious operations. It was the old AAV.

The ACV came after the cancellation of the Expeditionary Combat Vehicle in 2011. More than $ 3 billion was spent on this program before its shutdown, according to a 2020 Congressional Research Service report.

The Corps resurrected the AAV replacement in March 2014. The service selected BAE Systems to produce the ACV in 2018.

In the same year, the annual report of the Director, Operational Testing and Evaluation showed that the ACV had been successful in 15 of 16 missions.

The report made the following recommendations:

  • Modify the position of the Infantry Troop Commander to facilitate movement between the hatch and the seat.
  • Assess the ability of all existing Marine Corps recovery assets to recover ACV.
  • Investigate options to avoid damaging the steering / suspension when encountering debris on the battlefield, such as accordion wire.

A subsequent DOTE report in 2021 showed that the ACV had not “reached its average threshold of 69 hours between operational mission failures.”

Todd South has written on crime, courts, government and the military for several publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-authored project on witness intimidation. Todd is a veteran of the Iraq War Marines.


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