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USMC stops deploying amphibious assault vehicles

US marines do not currently have a vehicle to move them from ship to shore in choppy waters after the service decided to permanently halt amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) deployments and its new line of Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACVs) are sidelined from surf zones until 2022.

In July 2020, nine military members died when an AAV sank off the coast of San Clemente Island. Since that time the service has suspended all AAV waterborne operations while it works on upgrades to include shoring up the vehicle's watertight integrity. However, even with these improvements US Marine Corps (USMC) Commandant General David Berger has now decided that the AAVs will not return to the water unless there was an emergency.

“With those recommendations implemented and sustained, the AAV is a safe and effective vehicle for amphibious operations,” USMC Major Jim Stenger wrote in a 15 December statement.

“That said, given the current state of the amphibious vehicle programme… [Gen Berger] has decided the AAV will no longer serve as part of regularly scheduled deployments or train in the water during military exercises; AAVs will only return to operating in the water if needed for crisis response.”

Although sidelined from the water, marines will continue to operate AAVs on land, Maj Stenger said, noting that this will enable the service to “reverse” its decision.

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