When you think of ship-to-shore maneuver and amphibious assaults, Marine Corps planners want to banish the image of an Iwo Jima-style beach landing.
Instead, they envision a near future where tactical elements push forward through contested littorals while drone swarms provide cover overhead; where autonomous amphibious assault vehicles and decoys confuse the enemy; and where heightened awareness and maneuverability allow Marines to come ashore in formerly forbidding environments.
All of these futuristic capabilities and more will be put through their paces and featured on display at the Advanced Naval Technology Exercise next month aboard Camp Pendleton, California, a first-of-its-kind effort to equip the Marines for a new era of ship-to-shore maneuver.
In all, some 50 technologies will be demonstrated and another 50 shown in static displays so that analysts, experts and rapid acquisition personnel can determine which ideas show promise for future experiments or longer field tests.
The major beach assaults of World War II may be a thing of the past, but service officials maintain the Marine Corps needs to retain its ability to land on hostile coasts, likely those belonging to technological peers.
“Having a revanchist Russia, a surging China concentrates the mind,” Col. Daniel Sullivan, chief of staff for the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab and co-lead for the upcoming experiment, told reporters near Quantico on Thursday. “Now that we have near-peer competitors and with them technological acceleration … you’ve got to go fast.”
Doug King, director of the Ellis Group, the Corps’ internal warfighting think tank, said the amphibious assault he envisioned is not “a bunch of [amphibious assault vehicles] lined up, putting ashore at 6 knots” to land on a surveyed 1,000-meter beach.
“I want to go to a gap in the mangroves that I can penetrate to where nobody’s going to find me, that I can get in and I can, when necessary, concentrate my forces of maneuver against them,” he said. (end of excerpt)
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