With the hypersonic the Marines are preparing to face China

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)

La Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon office in charge of conducting research and development of innovative military technologies, has announced that it has successfully carried out the first flight test of the Operational Fires Program at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

A medium-range hypersonic missile was launched from the back of a Marine Corps logistics truck. The successful launch demonstrates that any Marine or US Army vehicle equipped with the palletized loading system can be converted into a launch pad. The program employs a type of missile pallet designed for use with truck load handling systems. 

The development of the hypersonic (credited with a speed higher than mach 5) is handled by Lockheed Martin.

There is no doubt that, in the short term, the United States will continue to increase its military presence in the South Pacific due to China's continuing threats to Taiwan and Japan.

This evolution arose from the need to "pierce" them bubbles A2 / AD Chinese, more and more complex and articulated. The doctrinal vision of the Marines is based on DMOs (Distributed Maritime Operations), developed for minor targets to the opponent and, at the same time, hinder the plans by denying him the initiative.

In 2021 the new manual was published which lays the foundations of the new operational concepts: "The Tentative Manual for EABO".

The manual acknowledges the need to face opponents who could have advantages in terms of geography and missile systems, both in terms of range and accuracy. Furthermore, the publication states that in the future, the Marine Corps must be a force capable of occupying and operating in a coastal area, as part of a naval theater campaign. In fact, the EABO (Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations) doctrine provides for the use of a numerically limited mobile force, with a light logistical burden positioned within an opposing territory, therefore under the constant threat of being engaged with different weapon systems. at any time. EABOs need to be able to conduct a wide range of tactical actions while still being threatened by possible enemy attacks.

The fundamental characteristics of the EABO are 5:

  • Permanent presence of forces in the area of ​​operation;

  • Transports (the units must have resources and vectors capable of allowing access to the operating theater);

  • Persistence (units will have to remain in key areas, with limited logistical support);

  • Integration with naval forces (forces littoral they must be composed of an organic Navy-Marines force, in order to move easily within the coastal-maritime theater);

  • Cost-Effectiveness (operating with numerically limited units influences the cost-effectiveness calculation of the opponent, thus leading him to limit the use of the most important weapon systems).

Another change that the Corps intends to carry out concerns the conversion of its LAR (Light Armored Reconnaissance - photo) units into MR (Mobile Reconnaissance) assets, through the acquisition of a platform, currently under development, called ARV (Advanced Reconnaissance). Vehicle).

The ARV will be highly mobile, connected to the network, easily transportable, protected and lethal. Like its predecessor (LAV-25), the ARV will conduct reconnaissance, surveillance and security operations in support of the maneuver, as well as offensive and defensive actions, deceptions and raids to create favorable conditions for the expeditionary force.

The new vehicle will likely be equipped with a 30mm auto cannon (already selected for ACV), and will need to be able to fire precision ammunition to engage NLOS targets (Not Line Of Sight), as well as carry and throw loitering munitions (Switchblade). It will also be equipped with a modern C2 (Command and Control) suite, with a wide range of reconnaissance and surveillance systems, in order to extend and improve the current operational ranges.

In conclusion, the Marines are preparing to bring into service, in the coming years, a series of weapon systems ranging from anti-ship missiles (NSM), to hypersonic, to new reconnaissance and attack vehicles.

The confrontation with China has already begun, it remains only to wait when it becomes armed.

Photo: Lockheed Martin / US Marine Corps