The US Marine Troopers will temporarily organize maritime operations on its new amphibious combat vehicles (ACV), similar to a nautical tank. They are currently investigating why a few cars ran into trouble off the coast of southern California last week due to high waves, according to military officials.
“Pausing maritime operations will allow investigation of the incident and ensure the assault amphibian community can review best practices and procedures to remain capable, safe and ready.“, announced the Corps in a statement.
Lt. Gen. David Furness, the U.S. Marine Corps deputy commandant for plans, policies, and operations, stressed that the shutdown is the “good thing to do” while rigorous investigations are ongoing.
“A break on apple cider vinegar maritime operations will give us time to investigate, learn from this event, and ensure that our Assault Amphibian community remains ready to support our nation.
A video published on July 21 by a news agency shows that ACVs have difficulty navigate in the big surf right next to a beach at Camp Pendleton. A wave will come crashing into one at some point. Marines can be seen running away from the vehicle, and one of the vehicles appears to have overturned in the water. Abnormally high waves on Tuesday, caused by a southern hemisphere storm, caused one of the vehicles to roll on its side, the statement said. However, none of the Marines or sailors aboard were injured in the incident. The other vehicle was unable to operate after waves reaching heights of up to 8ft pounded the shoreline.
A Navy spokesman for the First Marine Division, which is based at Camp Pendleton, did not return calls to questions regarding the number of Marines who were on deck the vehicles or whether or not the cars are attached to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is currently training for deployment. However, Marine Corps officials said these vehicles (ACV) will make their maiden voyage with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) this year. Additionally, Pentagon photos reveal that the MEU conducted training exercises off San Diego in preparation for this deployment.
The new LCAs
The latest armored Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) 1.1 is currently developed and produced by BAE Systems in conjunction with Iveco Defense Vehicles. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) initiated the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) 1.1 program in 2011, replacing and ultimately replacing its aging line of Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs), which were fielded for the first time in 1972. Compared to the current fleet of AAV7 vehicles used by the US Marine Corps, the new model of armored vehicle will have improved characteristics for survivability and payload capabilities. In November 2020, the US Marine Corps approved initial operational capabilities for the ACV.
The US Marine Corps has signed with BAE Systems a Contract valued at $184 million to purchase the first 36 ACV vehicles in December 2020. In February 2021, the US Marine Corps placed an order for 36 additional cars under a full-rate production contract for a total of $184 million and 72 vehicles. Under the terms of the agreement, the ACV Personnel Carrier Variant (ACV-P) will also be built.
Already seen the Past Crash?
As newer ACVs are set to replace AAVs, history tells of a similar experience. After taking on water on the evening of July 30, 2020, an amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) off the coast of Southern California carrying 16 US Marine Corps members and one US Navy member drowned rapidly. The unfortunate tragedy resulted in the dead nine of the sixteen soldiers who were inside the AAV. All service members killed in the AAV crash off California were under the age of 24 when they tragically died.
They were all part of Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. Media reports say the servicemen were engaged in a routine training exercise off Navy-owned San Clemente Island. Around 5:45 p.m., the AAV started to take more water that the vehicle could be pumping out of its system. At the time of the fatal accident, the AAV was returning to the amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD-25). Even when other AAVs arrived at the ER, they couldn’t save the 26-ton amphibious vehicle from drowning. According to military sources, the AAV was immediately submerged in several hundred meters of deep water.