Within 10 years, a large-scale military reform of the Marine Corps will be launched in the United States. What changes will befall this kind of troops? What equipment will be delivered, and which will be removed for the state? And why did the Pentagon need to reform the marines? Read in our material.
In March 2020, Pentagon officials announced the start of a massive military reform of the Marine Corps (ILC), which will take place over ten years. High-ranking military see the main tasks of re-equipping the marines in increasing the mobility of this type of troops and increasing the percentage of precision weapons. However, the methods by which these ideas will be implemented by many experts have caused considerable controversy.
First of all, they want to completely exclude tanks from the Marine Corps. Thus, according to plans for military development, all seven tank battalions, which are now subordinate to the ILC, will be reduced. It is worth noting that tanks in the ranks of the marines have been actively used since the Second World War and to a large extent helped turn the war with Japan in the Pacific Ocean in favor of the United States.
In 2019, the total number of marine tanks was about 447 Abrams units. These combat vehicles were actively exploited by the marine corps. Moreover, in 1988, tests were conducted to create a floating version of "Abrams". In 2003, KMP tanks participated in the assault on Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. However, now the US military command considered the presence of tanks in the ranks of the Marine Corps an extra ballast, which would hamper the mobility of troops.
“Tanks are unsuitable for solving our highest priority tasks in the future,” said General David Berger, commander of the ILC.
In the future, the "Abrams" want to replace the LAV-25 armored personnel carriers, which since 1983 began to enter the arsenal of the Marine Corps and showed themselves well in a number of conflicts. In addition to the withdrawal of tank battalions from the state, the military command also wants to reduce ships adapted for delivering tanks to the coast.
In addition to the Abrams, it is planned to relieve the ILC of the AAV-7 landing forces, which in 2019 totaled about 1,200 units, and also to reduce the number of amphibian companies from 6 to 4. It is worth noting that the US military has long failed to satisfy the AAV-7 and they were looking for a replacement for them.
In the 90 years to replace the standing armed amphibians has developed a new combat vehicle for the marine corps. In 2000-ies she received the official title as the EFV (Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle) "Expeditionary Fighting vehicle" and the Pentagon planned to buy over a thousand pieces of this equipment. However, war machine was never brought to mind. At its creation, the Department of defense spent more than $ 3 billion, and further development and launch of a series of the developers demanded another 12 billion. In the end, the program is "Expeditionary Fighting vehicle" was curtailed.
At the same time, the need for a new car, amphibians will not go away, so the Pentagon had to develop another program for the production of the necessary equipment. In 2014 they resumed work on creation of floating armored personnel carriers, the design of which, a year earlier, was curtailed due to lack of money. Now the Pentagon is seen in this APC a real replacement for the AAV-7. APC has called the ACV (Amphibious Combat Vehicle) "Fighting vehicle Amphibious", it accommodates three crew members and up to 13 Marines, and its maximum speed is 120 km/h on land and 11 km/h on water. The armament is a weapon station with a heavy machine gun with the possibility of installing automatic grenade launcher.
It is expected that this car will have a cross "Abrams" and mine resistance. At the moment it was purchased about 30 cars for use in the army. In the new military reform, the marine corps is expected within 10 years to replace the ACV on all machines of the type AAV-7. The cost of the first series 204 armored vehicles is 1.12 billion US dollars. It is planned to purchase about 870 units of the equipment.
Not spared and artillery armament of the ILC. So, at the disposal Marines were 21 artillery battery armed with 155-mm howitzers, about 480 of guns in 2019. In the end, will leave only 5 artillery batteries, the rest should be reduced.
Such serious cuts in conventional artillery in the opinion of management, the US must be offset by a threefold increase in the number of jet systems of volley fire. So, it is planned to add 7 to units equipped with MLRS HIMARS, about 40 machines, 14 of the battery, thereby increasing threefold the number of rocket launchers. These machines are also planning to use for the installation of anti-ship missiles and quasiballistic short-range missiles. There are also plans to reform, there are supplies for the needs of the marine corps mobile ground installations with missiles "Tomahawk".
Will affect the reform and aviation forces of the ILC, so would decrease the number of convertiplane, attack and transport helicopters. Fighter squadron, which is now of 16 planes like the F-35 and F/A-18 in the new structure will consist of no more than 10 units. While the commander of the marine corps General David Berger acknowledges that reducing the number of F-35 fighter jets that were bought for the needs of the ILC, due to the insufficient financing of the armed forces and a limited number of pilots, who are able to control these machines.
Such serious cuts in aircraft the Pentagon plans to compensate for the modernization facing armed fighters. So, until 2022, the Commission will have to make all of the F/A-18C/D Hornet new radars AN/APG-79(v)4, with the active phased antenna arrays. In the opinion of management of the ILC this modernization will strengthen the combat capabilities of fighter jets in the Marines. In addition, under the new reform plan to increase the number of squadrons of unmanned aerial vehicles 3 to 6 and to enter into the ILC shock drones.
Changes will also affect themselves Marines. The reform is planned to reduce about 16 thousand military personnel of the Commission and thus to increase the number of this kind of troops up to 170 thousand people. Under the cut you will get and such units as the "military police", of a company of bridge-builders and part of the anti-aircraft gunners.
At the same time, the Pentagon plans to increase the firepower of the Marines at the expense of delivery in units of KMP, the new M320 grenade launchers, which were previously re-ground units. Until 2024 it is planned to replace all M203 grenade launchers on the new version. The M320 grenade launcher is different in an advantageous way by the presence of the laser rangefinder, self-cocking trigger mechanism, pistol grip for more comfortable shooting, the ability to fire independently from the main weapon.
At the same time, in the leadership of the ILC makes a very disappointing conclusion. So, the commander of the marine corps General David Berger stated that the main potential adversaries of the marine corps United States now are China and Russia. At the same time General acknowledges that the ILC is not expected in the near future to carry out any operation against such serious opponents. However, complained to the commander of the naval infantry and the inadequate funding for the troops, which, according to him, it is unlikely that in the future will increase.
According to the General, the marine corps in the modern world has exhausted its possibilities and needs serious refurbishment. The main objective of the reform of the ILC to create a compact and mobile troops will be focused on carrying out RAID operations and not large-scale combat. Given these objectives, it is planned to develop for the marine corps and the special light warships.
It should be noted that this position was supported by many US military linking this with the fact that maybe in the future ILC will be involved to counter China's influence in the Pacific, and in this area are more suitable for light, mobile forces rather than a major tank and artillery units.
At the same time, until recently, in a similar vein, developing and reforming the naval infantry of the Russian Federation. At the end of 2000-ies of the personnel of the Russian airborne troops were withdrawn all armored units, large artillery pieces, refused the Ministry of defence to buy and specially designed for the "black berets" BMP-3F. The forces of the Marines was seriously reduced, and they are the main equipment of steel wheeled armored personnel carriers.
However, after coming to the position of head of the Ministry of defence of Russia Sergey Shoigu began steps in the opposite direction. Thus, during operations in Syria, it became clear that without the support of heavy equipment and artillery Marines severely curtailed in its fighting capability. To strengthen "Black berets" had due to the technology divisions of the army. After that, the brigades of Marines of Russia again began to include tanks and artillery pieces. Also announced the establishment of the special BMP for the marine corps.
Currently, the U.S. marine corps is one of the most combat-ready connections in the American army, she actively participated in virtually all conflicts in which were involved forces of the United States, including the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At this point, the American reform of Marines caused a very conflicting reviews of a number of experts. So, on the one hand, many actually praised the us military for the creation of similarity "Marines rapid response", but on the other it is quite possible that without heavy weaponry, the Commission is simply not able to carry out its major tasks. And reform for optimization of the ILC are not more than a necessary measure, to the weakening of the US position on the world stage and a deficit in the defense budget.