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Joint Forces Journal

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VOL. 24 - NO. 34
SEP 15 - 22, 2019
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OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

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Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

Marines Use Armored Vehicle to Defend Navy Ship from Small Boats off Iranian Coast

Aug 16, 2019
by Gina Harkins
As sailors and Marines are sailing in more contested waters, the blue-green team is getting creative about how to defend amphibious assault ships from enemy small boats and drones.

Members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit were recently photographed sailing through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf with a Light Armored Vehicle on the flight deck.

The armored vehicle can be seen in the background of photos released by the Marine Corps, showing AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters flying off the amphibious assault ship Boxer. The LAV was first spotted by Phil Ewing, national security editor at NPR.

Sailing through or near the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway that runs between the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, has been contentious in recent months.

In July, the 11th MEU jammed one Iranian drone -- and possibly two -- that flew within 1,000 yards of the Boxer. Iranians also seized a British tanker in the strait last month. And in June, two oil tankers were attacked in the nearby Gulf of Oman.

Maj. Gen. David Coffman, director of expeditionary warfare, said last year that Navy and Marine leaders were coming up with innovative ways to defend ships in contested areas. They've typically relied on aircraft, he said, but now they're getting more creative to combat new threats.

"I can tell you I watched a MEU commander strap an LAV to the front of a flight deck because it had better sensors than the ship did to find small boats," Coffman said during an event hosted by the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., last fall. "... The LAV guys will sit up there."

Marines have put an LAV on an amphib flight deck in another disputed waterway. In September, members of the 31st MEU parked an LAV on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship Wasp during a training exercise in the South China Sea, Marine Corps Times reported last year. The MEU's weapons company fired the LAV's M242 chain guns and coaxial M240C medium machine guns at simulated targets in the ocean during the exercise, the paper reported, which was meant to prep sailors and Marines for transiting through dangerous waters.

This isn't the first time the 11th MEU has turned to a land vehicles to defend the Boxer.

Marines were able to take down the Iranian drone last month by using a weapon system that fits onto a pair of small MRZR all-terrain vehicles. The system is equipped with high-power sensors and jamming technology, which the Marines used when the drone got too close to the ship.

* * * * *

Photo caption: An AH-1Z Viper attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 163 (Reinforced), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) takes off during a strait transit aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Dalton S. Swanbeck)


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