The navalization of the Marines: a reference also for the San Marco?

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)
18/02/21

To face the new operational scenarios, marked by the return of competition between the great powers, the United States Marine Corps has started an adaptation process - both in terms of personnel and armaments - in order to face the new challenges. In practice, there will be a return to the past of the Corps, after decades of purely terrestrial operations, it will take on a more naval connotation.

The new operating model to which the Marines will refer is that of a light force (7 tank companies will be decommissioned), capable of conducting missions increasingly coordinated with naval and air assets, as well as contributing to the creation of areas of sea control of control-denial.

Therefore, according to the new model, the personnel of the Corps will also be redesigned with the creation of the MLRs (Marine Coastline Regiment), or departments that will have to carry out the so-called EABO (Expeditionary Advance Base Operations), operations conducted starting from advanced bases, close to if within enemy territory, in order to deploy weapon systems (mainly missiles) to create bubbles of sea control of against-denial.

The first step is to transform, for experimental purposes, the 3rd Marine Regiment stationed at Kaneohe Bay, in the Hawaiian Islands, into the 3rd Marine Coast Regiment. The 3rd Marines is part of the III MEF (Marine Expeditionary Force) located in Okinawa which has Asia-Pacific as its area of ​​responsibility. The new model plans to create three MLRs, one for each MEF, by 2030.

After the tank component, the one most sacrificed will be the single-tube artillery, which will be reduced to 5 batteries. While the multi-tube batteries (rocket launchers) and missiles will be increased. In this regard, the anti-ship missile was acquired /country attack NSM (Naval Strike Missile) of the Norwegian Kongsberg (photo), with a maximum range of 185 km. Raytheon is taking care of integrating this weapon system on an unmanned version of the new wheeled 4x4 JLTV vehicle.

In addition, given the termination of the INF Treaty, the Marines plan to acquire a missile as well cruise long range. The choice could fall on the Maritime Strike Tomahawk, capable of hitting targets, including naval ones, at a distance of over 2.000 km.

The "military revolution" undertaken by the Marine Corps could also be taken as a reference by ours Amphibious component. Probably the marine brigade Saint Mark (together with the Army component) will never be used in a theater like the Pacific one, however some aspects could be incorporated that could contribute to making it more effective even in contexts such as the Mediterranean basin.

Our Amphibious Force - also with the support of the Army departments with the Pozzuolo del Friuli brigade - is equipped with few heavy vehicles (currently it is possible to deploy only the Centaur of the regiment Genoa Cavalleria, which will be replaced by the new version Centaur II with 120/45 piece). As far as artillery is concerned, in addition to the 120 mm striped mortars, the Amphibious Force can use the 155/39 pieces of the artillery regiment of the brigade Pozzuolo del Friuli.

With the entry into service of guided ammunition Volcano, the operational arm of the artillery will be increased (up to 90 km) while remaining well below the requirements of the new operational scenarios.

It would therefore be appropriate to insert a missile component within the 3rd amphibious regiment, perhaps using rotated vehicles such as the IVECO ACTLs (already used in the past as a vehicle for the FIROS-30 light rocket launcher) for the transport and launch of the missile anti-ship Mars Mk-2 ER, perhaps also optimized for attacking land targets.

Always with the same vehicle it could be verified the possibility of mounting tubes for the launch of the MLRS 227 mm rockets (same operation done by the Americans with the HIMARS - photo), also using the GMLRS-ER GPS-guided rockets (maximum range 150 km).

Such weapon systems could also be used by the deck of amphibious units in anti-ship function /country attack, only to be landed and used to help create bubbles A2 / AD.

Photo: US Marine Corps