The US Marine Corps has banned its Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) fleet from water-borne operations except in emergencies.
The 1970s vehicle had been kept out of service since July last year when nine marines and sailors died in an accident involving the vehicle. The vehicle will be available for ground operations, which form 76 percent of its total functioning.
According to a Marines statement, the vehicle was found “safe and effective” for amphibious operations by the recommendations that stemmed from multiple investigations that followed the fatal mishap.
Marine Corps Times, citing the investigations, wrote that “multiple vehicles on the deployment had serious mechanical issues before joining the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit in addition to failures in training that may have led to the accident.”
The service, meanwhile, stated that “given the current state of the amphibious vehicle program, the Commandant of the Marine Corps 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.”
AAV’s Replacement Also Grounded
“This decision was made in the interest of the long-term health of the amphibious vehicle programs and future capabilities,” the statement said. “The AAV will continue to operate on land; 76 percent of its tasks are land-based. In doing so, we reserve the capability to reverse this decision should the need arise.”
The decision comes as the AAV’s replacement, the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), which entered full-rate production late last year, has also been grounded since September due to a problem in its towing mechanism.
“We expect that issue to be resolved soon and for ACVs to return to the water early in the New Year,” the Marines statement added.