The ACV will be expeditionary in that its design will permit integration with naval shipping and ship-to-shore connectors while exhibiting a base weight rating consonant with its capabilities that will sustain inter- and intra-theater transportation plans and be both reliable and fuel efficient.
The concept of employment for ACV places a premium on using enablers like the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) and surface connectors. Surface connectors will transport the ACV including the joint high speed vessel (JHSV), the landing craft utility (LCU), the LCAC and its planned replacements, and the improved navy lighterage system (INLS). ACV will be transported on surface connectors in operational configurations.
By leveling the introduction of armored vehicles across phases (beyond initial assault), by changing the ratio of battalions that swim versus those that fly, and by creating a hybrid Assault Echelon/Assault Follow-On Echelon concept of operations, we will maximize the efficient use of our projected connector fleets. These adjustments to our concept of operations will allow us to offset the loss of a long range self-deploying tractor. Of note, we will still have substantial tank and LAV assets in the assault echelon.
As to shipping, we have a deficit in amphibious lift. This demands that MEBs be created by aggregating forward deployed ships and surge shipping. We no longer have the shipping to deploy in mass as we did with 4th and 5th MEB for Desert Storm. Numbers of ships and the time to aggregate the MEB preclude delivery of the currently planned assault echelon in amphibious shipping within acceptable timelines. Thus, the future assault echelon will need to be modified, but to ensure adequate combat power ashore we will want to immediately leverage the substantial lift capacities of our Maritime Prepositioned Shipping. This will place a premium on selective, in-stream off-load capability provided by our current MPS ships and enabled by the new MLP.