US Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer recently sailed through the Strait of Hormuz with an armored vehicle strapped to the flight deck, ready to fight off drones and Iranian gunboats.
Photos from a recent Strait of Hormuz transit by the US Navy amphibious assault ship USS Boxer showed an 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit light armored vehicle parked on the flight deck, a sign that this warship was expecting trouble in the hostile waterway.
The Boxer was harassed by Iranian drones in the Strait of Hormuz last month, and the US says the warship downed one
A light armored vehicle (LAV) belonging to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit can be seen on the flight deck as an AH-1Z Viper lifts off in a recently-released Marine Corps photo
The Marine Corps LAV-25 has a high-end targeting system that directs its 25mm chain guns and M240 7.62mm machine gun. The USS Boxer is armed with counter-air missiles, as well as various close-in weapon systems, among other weapons. The Vipers carry two air-to-air missiles, a handful of air-to-surface missiles, and a 20mm Gatling cannon.
The Marine Corps began experimenting last year with strapping LAVs to the decks of the amphibs — flattops capable of carrying helicopters and vertical landing and take-off jets and transporting Marines — to make the ships more lethal.