Ssang Yong 2014: USMC, Aussies and ROK Exercise Amphibious Strike Capabilities
04/01/2014: Waves of amphibious assault vehicles approach the shoreline during a rehearsal of the amphibious landing portion of Ssang Yong 2014 March 29 at Doksoek-ri in Pohang, Republic of Korea.
This exercise enhances the interoperability between the U.S. Marine air-ground task force and the ROK Marine task force while honing amphibious capabilities of each nation’s Marine Corps. Approximately 7,500 U.S. Marines will participate in the exercise with approximately 3,500 ROK Marines and 130 Australian Army soldiers. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cedric R. Haller II/RELEASED)
Republic of Korea and U.S. Marines assault the beach March 29 during a rehearsal of the amphibious landing portion of Ssang Yong 2014 at Doksoek-ri in Pohang, Republic of Korea. More than 20 U.S. Navy and ROK ships are supporting the amphibious landing.
This exercise demonstrates the unique ability of a Marine Expeditionary Brigade headquarters to composite multiple Marine Air Ground Task Forces arriving in theatre via amphibious shipping, along with a ROK Regimental Landing Team, into an amphibious combined MEB.
The Marines are looking to replace their vehicles with a cost-effective solution as opposed to an earlier concept of a vehicle coming from much further away from the shore and at high speed.
According to National Defense:
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos renewed the call for industry to provide an affordable “connector” that can move Marines from ship to shore.
He went so far as to offer government research and development funding. “I’m committed. I just told my money guy… we’re willing to put some money in [research and development] for the future technology with regards to connectors,” he said Feb. 13 at the AFCEA West 2014 conference.
In January, Amos said the Marine Corps could not afford a high-speed ACV and would opt instead for something less expensive. The amphibious combat vehicle — itself a rebranding of the now-defunct expeditionary fighting vehicle — soared in price because the Marines sought a vehicle with long range and high enough speeds to plane like a speedboat.
Amos insisted the Corps needs a vehicle that can “haul a lot of stuff” and “can move at high speed. He would like the vehicle to travel at 35 to 40 knots.
“What we need is to change the paradigm,” he said. “We think of connectors as something you carry in the bowels of an amphibious ship. We’re going to need that, I’m not saying we don’t need that.” He suggested future connectors could be folded and stacked on the deck of a ship.
The Marine Corps has already funded a replacement program for its landing craft air cushions called the ship-to-shore connector. The Corps wants to replace the landing craft-utility, a vessel capable of delivering personnel, gear and tracked vehicles.
“That’s not going to be enough,” Amos said.
He envisioned vehicles that can move from ships or from “sea bases” from 80 miles from shore and deliver Marines and gear. As military bases around the world become less accessible, Amos said, forces will have to come from the sea.