KDUEH  hat ancient mariners said they feared coming from the sea
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KDUEH hat ancient mariners said they feared coming from the sea

Since WWII US Marines coming from the sea were the Dragons most feared by our E potential adversaries Will this still be true in the 21 st entury Are t he Marines Procuring Their Way to Irrelevance as a Sea Based Threat By Colonel James G Magee and

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KDUEH hat ancient mariners said they feared coming from the sea




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7KDUEH * hat ancient mariners said they feared coming from the sea . Since WWII , US Marines coming from the sea were the Dragons most feared by our E potential adversaries Will this still be true in the 21 st entury? Are t he Marines Procuring Their Way to Irrelevance as a Sea Based Threat By Colonel James G. Magee and Major Richard G. DuVall United States Marine Corps, Retired During a candid response to a question last year to a largely Marine audience, a top Defense Department executive postulated that in foreseeable conflicts, an afloat MAGTF ould probably not get

ashore until D+30 or later, probably as a pacification force, as the amphibious ships carrying them need to be at a stand off distance of 100 miles from shore in order to observe, acquire, target and defeat sea skimming coastal defense cruise and other shore based missiles ( CD D capable of being fired at them by even the most basically capable adversaries . In our E everely constrained budget environment, if sea based Marines

E ose conflict s are decided, (i.e., pacification force), then the Corps will not only be viewed as irrelevant but will beg the question at ational political and military level : o we really need the Marines if they
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After just cursory threat research, the authors found that the 100 mile mark for initial amphibious ship stand off is not at all farfetched in a mid intensity conflict .

D have proliferat ed at an unsettling and accelerating pace and are found in Indonesia, Malaysia, N. Korea, Iran, Lebanon [Hezbollah] and Nige ria Cuba, Nicaragua, Egypt, Yemen, Mozambique, Libya, and Algeria are reported to be not far behind It is no longer just NATO nations, Brazil, Sweden, Russia and China with these capabilities , as it was in the 20 th century . These missiles appeal to smaller nations as they ca n easily be hidden, as well as remotely fired from standard looking ISO containers , like those found virtually everywhere in the developing and developed

worlds. In the next decade, amphibs sailing 100 miles from the coast may become routine as tensions rise. C urrent US Navy carrier battle group ( CVBG operating practices and battle tactics place the CVBG at nearer to 40 miles from such a shore based CDCM threat . here does that leave the amphibi ously embarked Marines when power projection of Marine forces to seize objectives from a sea base is required in such a mid intensity scenario he E amphibious task force (ATF) reaction time to observe, acquire, target and defeat one or numerous D when operating at a 100 mile

from shore stand off distance is frighteningly short. t this 100+ mile distance , ships targeted by such coastal defense cruise and sea kimming missiles have very little reaction time , as shown in the following chart: We know that we will hear a chorus of worry , Marines the carrier battle group amphibious ships If we consider that the irst ule of Carrier Aviation is W rotect the arrier, and the econd ule is here is no econd ule where will that leave the Marines? he amphibious task force may well be on its own, closer to the CDCM threat Exocet OLNH late 20 th century, barely

supersonic missile (700 mph +/ ): 6 minutes 6L]]OHU6XQEXUQRU supersonic, 21 st century era threat missile (1,700 mph +/ ): 3 minutes &DUULHU .LOOHUK\SHUVRQLF missiles (Mach 5 7): 1 minute or less
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Thus, in this mid intensity conflict scenario, we believe that arines must be equipped with assets, aircraft and helicopter liftable armored combat vehicles, so that when arine landing forces are ordered ashore to close with and destroy an enemy force they can do so. This opens the key question: ow do sea based

Marines get to their ashore objectives , over 100 miles across the sea, concentrate a force powerful and effective enough to engage an enemy force and strong enough to win the battle The options are few today , and Marine procurement plans exacerbate Marine expeditionary employment from the sea in the future Here is what the Marines have today or have in their procurement plans : The 22 Osprey aircraft can take troops but no fully armored heavy weapon vehicles unless CMC directs the re install ment of the fuselage frames/stringers that were removed a decade or so ago so that the 22 could pass

its accepta nce airframe weight limit target. Regardless of its shortcomings relevant to what it can lift , the 22 can get there very quickly, less than an hour ship to shore. Th e Marines CH 53 E can carry external HUMVEE loads as well as externally lift the un gunned LAV variant , but the CH 53 E will ake more than an hour to get to the shore with sling loads . Surface lift by Marine amphibious assault vehicle assets is out of the equation.

D current tracked AAV, or the planned for procurement, overly protected, extremely heavy, wh eeled, non amphibious, interim AAV replacement known as ACV 1.1, from such a 100 mile ship to shore distance, even from the 65 nm distance in xpeditionary orce 21 is questionable at best, and criminal conduct at worst. AAV a launch, nor will any attack scenario justify Marines undertaking the nine or more hours required

to get there by AAV, even in flat seas The ACV 1.1, being non amphibious, requires a Navy operated connecter to get from ship to shore. he E only long range, high speed, ship to shore connector, the air cushioned landing craft, LCAC will take well over 3 hours ship to shore 'E for the current LCAC fleet, and their on again/off again support for an LCAC replacement , having the Corps epend ent on the Navy to pro vide additional varieties of high speed , or even low speed connectors requires the Marines to assume that (1)

all off loads will be very close to shore , and (2) be done after the US forces achieve a near peacetime coastal threat environment. This further stretches credibility and requires the Marines to blindly adopt hope as a course of action.
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Thus, sea based arines value to Fleet and eographic Combatant Commanders GCC in this scenario borders on nonexistent The will be 35 carry the Marines and are piloted by Marines but joint doctrine demands that they be employed by the oint force air component commander, likely either the E carrier battle group ( CVBG commander , or a distant,

friendly shore based US Air Force (or allied air force) commander. In either case, these F are very unlikely to be providing close air support to Marine ground forces th e only reason that Marines have statutory authority to possess fixed wing attack aircraft . T he se aircraft will almost certainly be involved in the fulfill ment of the irst ule of arrier W or targeted on CDCM or air defense sites ashore. Bottom line: wi thout Marine ground forces having the capability for long range helicopter lift into an enemy

AOR from a very distant sea base providing firepower, armored mobility and mass these Ma ines will find them selves irrelevant to decision makers and out of the fight. /D and operat ional concepts and trategies that were modified to justify these questionable procurements must change to avoid the potentia l for irr

elevance. Fo r almost five decades Marines and the Navy have concurred in paradigms for K the Horizon (OTH) Assault ^ to Objective Maneuver and KD^ as their strategic amphibious i mperatives. Further, Marine and Navy operational and tactical concepts (CONOPS) for power projection of Marines from the sea have been honed over time to achieve these as a matter

of course Have these been forgotten? Even without a CDCM threat, the Marines over the horizon surface and air assault doctrines and tactics should not be shelved to accommodate the limits of s, nor should the Marines ever become totally reliant on Navy connector lift, ship to shore, to be successful in amph ibious operations. The apparent disconnect between Marine procurement plans, and long established Navy/Marine Corps amphibious strategies and CONOPS is striking. The Marines have apparently forgotten that we as been an accepted from the sea maneuver warfare CONOPS for Marines since the

Inchon landings of the Korean War.
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Most importantly, and under no circumstance, should the Marines well earned embrace of higher risk than their sister Services at rms nor their Spartan like expeditionary culture , nor their aggressive tactics ever be sacrificed for vehicle protection levels in expeditionary operations from the sea The s operation al limitations require the Marines to abandon all of these. The Corps has accept ed the reality

that in 2014 even state of the art technology cannot provide Marines with a high speed, Over the Horizon ( OTH (23+ miles) amphibiously capable AAV replacement at reasonable cost hat leaves the Marines facing the reality that the smartest and most cost effective all terrain Marine operated amphibious vehicle solution is to upgrade and extend the service life ( SLEP of the current AAV 7 family until technolo gy catches up to our OTH high speed requirement . The Marines planned procurement of a wheeled vehicle replacement for the AAV , the projected ACV in all its progressive increments ,

ignores the fact that such a near 20 ton wheeled vehicle will never be ab le to self deploy ashore from OTH and will be equally useless in the snow and swampy terrain . The ACV dismally fails to match the utility in the ocean and in snow covered and swampy terrain that the un upgraded AAV pr ovides , today The Corps should reject degrading their in water , tracked amphibious vehicle capabilities to embrace the military vehicle manufacturers ACV 1.1 and follow on candidates; near 20 ton , excessive levels of vehicle protection , wheeled vehicle nominees as the AAV ear term or long term

replacement . The Marines should cease the procur ment of the lead system in this march to irrelevance, the ACV 1.1, which may be a suitable vehicle for the eastern European land arm ies, but a vehicle unable to be used in Marine expeditionary operations from the sea without relying on Navy operated high speed connectors to transport them ship to shore ; connectors that are rare today, and unlikely to be available in any useful numbers from d& 10 mile CDCM stand off position in the future . For air assault from the sea, current Marine helicopter lift is

so weight limited that when the Marines need armored firepower and mobility ashore in the 100 mile ship stand off scenario, the Corps is unable to provide sufficient numbers from ship to shore to ensure success in combat.
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Sea based Marines Dh deploy with only light armor (LAV 25 ), which while light compared to an M1A1 tank, is too heavy now even with out its up arm ored B kit installed for CH 53 E lift . It will even be too heavy for projected CH 53 K, which is specified to only be capable of lifting 27,500 lbs; less than the CH 53 E was capable of lifting in

the mid to ; i.e., 30,000lbs /,YD viation Department directed the installation of additional weighty aircraft systems that reduced the CH net liftable weight to about ,000 lbs., roughly 4,000 pounds less than before these modifications to the air craft . Thus, sea based Marines fa ce an inability to helo lift landing force units with armored vehicles and their heavy weapons from ship to shore given the 100 mile at sea launch site limitations noted herein As the AAV is virtually eliminated from ship to shore

movements at the 100 mile stand off ATF position, t here is an obvious need for a vehicle to assume the role that the AAV takes ashore, that of an armored personnel carrier (APC) . As opposed to the ACV 1.1 desired capabilities, he MARINE APC MUST BE CAPABLE OF BEING LIFTED BY THE MARINES SEA BASED HELICOPTER FLEET AND CAPABLE OF TRANSPORTING A FULL MARINE SQUAD ONCE ASHORE. Today , that role can only met by using an un gunned LAV as a surrogate APC, as shown below
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The authors recommend that the Corps should immediately cancel the ACV 1.1 procurement, and in its place conduct

an APC evaluation using the LAV L as a surrogate APC for this test. he LAV , even with the up armored B Kit installed, is still light enough to be lifted by CH 53 and will be capable of external lift by the similarly equipped CH 53 K. The current LAV , however, will barely accommodate a Marine infantry squad and with very minimum comfort today . However, w ith removable tiered tandem seating pallet installed , that comfort and seat protection could be enhanced The key is that this LAV L is an APC surrogate for evaluation , not the final APC. However, or immediate employment requirements from a

stand off sea base , t he LAV L surrogate APC can be equipped with up to four (4) crew served weapons mounted on pintels at the hatch corners, such as the M2 .50 al iber D' Javelin anti tank weapons CROWS turret, Stinger missiles or Mk 19 grenade launchers . he LAV an also tow a 155 mm howitzer or the EFSS 120 mm mortar , plus the ammo and crew . LAV L Graphic is shown below Some risk is necessary for the current AV to operate as a surrogate APC , but if the mission requires the Marines to take that prudent risk to be use ul to Fleet and GCC commanders ,

the Marines can do so, while concurrently develop ing a more suitable, helicopter liftable APC through an APC evaluation process.
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The Marines must not lose sight of the fact that the APC solution , be it surrogate, short or long term, will not address the Corps requirement to put armor ed firepower ashore by helicopter lift from d& CDCM stand off position, 100 mile at sea, given the lift limits of the CH 53 E and K. To address this shortfall, we believe that the answer for the Marines is procure and deploy a very heavy lift (VHL) CH

Crane Variant . Such a VHL helicopter sh ould be capable of lifting the LAV 25, the MATV, as well as a direct fire a ssault un equipped armored vehicle , an ir efense weapon equipped armored vehicle and an nti ank weapon equipped armored vehicle . rudent airframe structural development and fuel loads will have to be optimized to do the latter lifts Th e VHL crane helicopter is not a new solution, as H developed from the CH 53 and H ha ve been used for almost 40 years. A US Army st Cavalry Division 54 crane variant is shown below:
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A notional, but fully optimized VHL CH K crane

variant with folding blades and wings, might well look like this mock up model The Marine Corps Times eaders may rightfully ask How do the Marines pay for th e expeditionary enhancements x CMC should immediately cancel the ACV program, beginning with the ACV 1.1 procurement and repurpose th at money to fund the LAV L surrogate APC development al efforts , as well as resulting APC procurement , as well as The SLEP and upgrade of the full AAV family , as the Marines are likely to need the AAV 7 family for another thirty years . x The Corps number one priority must always be the development of

AAV replacement that will be both fast and OTH capable . T he authors recommend that the Corps resurrect the LVT X concept vehicle files, and concurrently fund such continued AAV replacement vehicle development R&D with industry as it s continuing highest priority . Recovered funding from the ACV program cancellation will adequately support these efforts, as well. x With the Marines already buying 340 of the F 35 (VSTOVL) aircraft , the Marines should easily be able to repurpose th $1 Billion CMC has requested as a FY 15 budget plus up for six (6) additional 35 B aircraft to procure something

that actually benefits Marine ship to shore employment capabilities See APC and AAV SLEP comments, above . Spending $1 billion
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dollars for just 6 additional an aircraft with enormous electrical and computer dependencies with debatable stealth and utility in close air support roles, and sub standard availability to Marine ground force in initial landings in a CDCM threat scenario cannot be justified. x It may be little known, but t he Marines are also buying eighty (80) of the F 35 C, the catapult launched tail hook equipped, aircraft carrier variants that the US Navy will

use. The Co rps should cancel procurement of forty (40) of these 35 C , and repurpose some of $ 4.5 billion that would be saved by doing so to develop and procure a hundred (100) or so VHL CH 53 K crane variants . This would provide a significant armored vehicle hel icopter lift capability increase to the Marine expeditionary sea based forces. While Marine operated 35 C carrier based aircraft are very unlikely to be available to initially provide close air support to Marines landing forces in the mid intensity confl ict, CDCM scenario discuss ed herein. See Carrier Aviation Rule Number One.

Some would say that we have painted a portrait of the Corps in which he Corps leadership has forgotten that the Marines are an expeditionary force that has historically accepted a higher degree of risk than other US forces to achieve mission success. Maybe so. For whatever reason, the Marines appear to be procuring weapons systems more suitable to a land army , or aircraft assets more likely to be employ ed as , or by, an air force . Failure to change what the Corps is procuring risks having the Marines viewed as less employable in increasing threat environments , as a force without a long

reach , unable to concentrate power ashore ; thus, a force of ques tionable value to the Nation in a severely constrained fiscal environment ut the Corps leadership can change these direction and the perceptions they engender. In our view, t he Corps must make these changes ; change to the Corps procurement priorities and to the Corps increasingly risk aversion corporate mind set The result will be a far more relevant sea based , long reach, e mployable expeditionary Marine force, useful to and desired by Fleet and GCC commanders . BUT THE TIME FOR CHANGE IS N OW, IF THE CORPS WANTS TO REMAIN

THE FEARED DRAGONS OF TOMORROW.