The U.S. Marine Corps’ existing Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) and its Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) replacement are too slow moving troops from the sea to the shore, said deputy Marine commandant Lt. Gen. Brian Beaudreault, noting that the force must have a faster seaborne assault capability. “We have to find a solution to getting Marines to shore, from over the horizon, at something greater than seven knots (8 mph),” he said, in reference to the low 8 knots per hour speed of the existing amphibious craft and replacements. Some of the ideas being floated, so to speak, include having small, fast missile boats clear a path through coastal waters for Marine forces while robot jet skis, surfboards and mini-subs reconnoiter landing sites ahead of the landing force. Then, high-speed landing craft would carry troops and their gear to the beach. “You’ve got to have high speed connectors (i.e. landing craft),” Beaudreault told the annual Expeditionary Warfare conference here. “We must find a high-water-speed vehicle on the surface. We must.”
Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.