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US Marines rush wonky amphibious vehicles to the Pacific

The US Marine Corps (USMC) is set to deploy its advanced Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) to the Pacific despite questions about its readiness, maintenance and operation amid recent restrictions on surf-based use of the platform.

The ACV deployment, expected in or around March, aims to fill a looming amphibious warfare ship shortage amid rising tensions with China over Taiwan.

Defense News reported the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit will deploy with the ACVs aboard the US Navy’s Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) in phases, with the amphibious transport dock Somerset heading to the Pacific in the coming days for a six-month scheduled deployment.

The Defense News report says that the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer and the dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry will deploy about two months later due to ship readiness and maintenance challenges.

The ACV is slated to replace the USMC’s aging Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV), which have been in service since the 1970s. Defense News mentions that the eight-wheeled ACV can emerge from a ship, transit waves and then roll onto shore, allowing the military’s amphibious force to conduct amphibious operations.

However, ACV operations have been restricted for nearly 18 months after one rolled over in the water during training exercises in October 2022, prompting the USMC to halt nearly all surf-based operations, Defense News reports.

The ACV has also faced challenges on land, including a December 2023 rollover that killed a Marine aboard at a California USMC base.

The USMC has attributed the mishaps to training shortfalls and said it is on the process of recertifying vehicle operators and maintainers. But even the operators who have been recertified are not yet authorized to transit