Amphibious ready group

Amphibious ready group

An Amphibious Readiness Group, or (ARG) of the United States Navy consists of a Navy element—a group of ships known as an amphibious task force (ATF)—and a landing force (LF) of United States Marines (and occasionally, United States Army troops), in total about 5,000 people. Together, these elements and supporting units are trained, organized, and equipped to perform amphibious operations. A typical U.S. Amphibious Readiness Group consists of:

* An amphibious assault ship (LHA or LHD): the primary landing ships, resembling a small aircraft carrier, designed to put troops on hostile shores. In a secondary role, using AV-8B Harrier aircraft and anti-submarine warfare helicopters, these ships perform sea control and limited power projection missions.

* An amphibious transport dock (LPD) Ship: a warship that embarks, transports, and lands elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions.

* A dock landing ship (LSD): a warship supporting amphibious operations including landings via Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), conventional landing craft and helicopters, onto hostile shores. In the first decade of the 21st century, three classes of LSDs were in service: the "Harper's Ferry", the "Whidbey Island", and the "Anchorage" classes.

* A Marine Expeditionary Unit: a force capable of conducting missions ranging from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to major theater war.

* AV-8B Harrier IIs: attack aircraft designed to attack and destroy surface targets.

* CH-53E Super Stallions or CH-53D Sea Stallions: heavy-lift helicopters designed to transport personnel, supplies and equipment in support of amphibious and shore operations. (CH-53Ds have not been attached to MEUs since 2005)

* CH-46D Sea Knights: medium-lift assault helicopters, primarily used to move cargo and troops.

** In the future, CH-46 helicopters will be replaced by MV-22 Osprey aircraft.

* AH-1W Super Cobras: combat helicopters providing fire support and fire support coordination to the landing force during amphibious assaults and subsequent operations ashore.

The resulting forces may range from a single Amphibious Ready Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) [ARG/MEU (SOC)] , to a larger organization capable of employing a Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) or even a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF).

Amphibious forces must be capable of performing missions ranging from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to major theater war (MTW). Additionally, they can be configured and deployed to operate at various levels of conflict and in multiple theaters simultaneously. They can provide a presence that may preclude adventurous actions by a potential belligerent.

Because they are sea-based and because the decision to position and engage amphibious forces will always be easily reversible, amphibious forces greatly expand the repertoire of available response options. Among other national resources, they are particularly well placed to provide a demonstration of the United States's commitment and resolve to friends and allies as well as adversaries.

Normally two to three ARGs are forward deployed: one in the Mediterranean Sea/Persian GulfIndian Ocean area, and one or two in the western Pacific Ocean area. The other ships of the ARG are either working up to deploy, in transit, or in overhaul. One ARG/MEU is forward based in Sasebo and Okinawa, Japan.

In most cases, the ATF will be deployed under the protective umbrella of an carrier battle group (CVBG), which provides cover for the ATF and combat support to operations ashore. Ships of the ATF are capable of embarking and supporting other forces when the mission requires, including the United States Army, Special Operations Forces (SOF), or other joint and combined forces.


Based on public domain information published by the United States Navy Office of Information.

See also

*Expeditionary Strike Group

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.