Today's activities for US forces participating in Ssong Yang 14 involved simulation of and training for reinforcing a beachhead. This reinforcement occurs immediately after a beach has been seized during the forcible entry phase. This is focused on moving equipment, particularly the distinctly non-amphibious items — like tanks and artillery — ashore as quickly as possible. The purpose of doing so is to reinforce and expand the beachhead before an opponent can mount a major counterattack against the landed forces to drive them off the beach.
All photos by Ryan Faith.
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With a full load, a Hovercraft (formally a Landing Craft, Air Cushion or LCAC) is capable of more than 45 mph, and when faced with a confined beach, can conduct a really badass parallel parking maneuver. The LCAC is shown here carrying out that particular maneuver, just seconds after hitting the beach and mere fractions of a second before helping the photographer determine exactly how much sand one can get in one's hair.
Waiting for the next movement may resemble waiting at the gate for the next flight. However, unlike waiting at the airport, all the passengers here are expected to carry guns. This has not necessarily done anything to eliminate travel delays. The red attachments on the ends of the weapons are called blank-firing adapters, and are used to prevent injury or damage from the burst of hot gas created when a blank is fired.
Once the ramp comes down, onboard infantry exit and deploy as quickly as possible, because really, that's what they came ashore to do. A fully loaded AAV can carry up to 21 passengers.
In a forcible entry, AAVs hit the beach in parallel. When conducting uncontested ship to shore movement, they may also proceed in a column, landing next to each other, and halting, as shown here.
The vehicle shown second from right is for repair and recovery of damaged vehicles, and is equipped with an array of tools and parts, including welding gear.
AAV driver standing out of a hatch, watching vehicle movement up the beach. The angular shapes around the top of the hatch are the windows that the driver uses to see when the vehicle is closed up.
AAVs have very limited driver visibility, making them very difficult to parallel park. This is offset by the ability of the AAV to run over most cars.
A Marine with a flag signals AAVs when there is they are ready to enter the water, particularly taking care to maintain safe separation between vehicles. Any collision between AAVs in the water is exceedingly bad.
Australian Marines getting ready to board AAVs and make their way out to the landing ships. I have no idea why the medic has a gun. It might just be that the Australians have very different notions about bedside manner.
Pan AAV crew member, getting ready to bop someone on the head.
A helmet, standing ready to do its job of preventing one of the hovercraft people from getting bumped on the noggin and bashing their brains out.