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Assault craft unit (ACU)


An Assault Craft Unit (ACU) refers to a specialized naval unit within the military that focuses on transporting troops, equipment, and vehicles during amphibious operations. ACUs primarily operate landing craft, which enables them to facilitate the assault and transportation of forces via water onto the shores or riverbanks. Their valuable support is crucial during various military operations such as amphibious assaults, evacuations, and disaster relief efforts.

Key Takeaways

  1. Assault Craft Units (ACUs) are specialized naval units designed to support amphibious warfare missions by transporting troops, vehicles, and supplies from ships to shore.
  2. ACUs are equipped with various types of landing craft and lighter vessels, such as the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and Landing Craft Utility (LCU), providing essential mobility and versatility during assault operations.
  3. Integral to successful amphibious operations, ACUs work closely with other military units like the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army to ensure seamless coordination and logistics support during beach landings and coastal objectives.


The military operations term “Assault Craft Unit (ACU)” is important because it designates a specific type of unit within naval forces that specializes in amphibious warfare and transportation of personnel, equipment, and supplies from ship to shore.

ACUs play a critical role in ensuring the efficient execution of amphibious operations, bridging the gap between naval vessels and land forces.

These units operate various types of assault crafts, such as landing craft air cushions (LCACs) and utility landing craft (LCU), which are designed to transport troops, vehicles, and essential resources across challenging littoral environments securely and swiftly.

In essence, the ACU is a vital component of naval tactical planning and overall mission success, enabling forces to project power and maintain operational flexibility in complex maritime environments.


Assault Craft Units (ACUs) are specialized naval units designed to facilitate amphibious warfare, providing a vital link between the sea and the shore. Their primary purpose is to enable the rapid and effective transportation of troops, equipment, and supplies from naval vessels onto contested or hostile shores, maximizing the chances of a successful operation.

ACUs are specifically designed for these missions, allowing forces to be rapidly projected ashore to seize and secure key objectives. They are an indispensable aspect of modern amphibious warfare, and their unique capabilities have been demonstrated in various conflicts around the world, such as D-Day and the Falklands War.

To successfully carry out their mission, ACUs are equipped with specialized vessels like Landing Craft Utility (LCU) and Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) which are aptly designed to overcome a variety of obstacles and conditions. These vessels boast an array of features that are tailored for amphibious operations, such as shallow drafts to traverse shallow waters near the shore, and ramps that enable easy loading and unloading of troops and heavy equipment.

Furthermore, they possess the capacity to be integrated into various naval platforms, such as amphibious assault ships, which serve as mobile bases for littoral combat. Ultimately, the Assault Craft Unit is an integral component in modern warfare, ensuring that an attacking force is well-prepared and well-equipped to carry out the decisive actions necessary for victory.

Examples of Assault craft unit (ACU)

US Navy Assault Craft Unit 1 (ACU-1): ACU-1, based in San Diego, California, is a part of the US Navy’s expeditionary forces and is responsible for providing watercraft support, beach support, and conducting amphibious assaults. Some key missions that the ACU-1 has participated in include Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit’s fleet consists of various landing craft, such as the Landing Craft Utility (LCU), Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), and Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM).

US Navy Assault Craft Unit 2 (ACU-2): ACU-2, based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is another crucial part of the US Navy’s expeditionary forces. Like ACU-1, this unit specializes in providing waterborne support for amphibious operations, including beach landings and delivery of troops, vehicles, and supplies. ACU-2 has participated in a range of military operations, such as the invasion of Grenada, Operation Desert Storm, and disaster relief in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew. ACU-2 also consists of LCUs, LCACs, and LCMs.

Royal Marines 47 Commando Raiding Group (47 Cdo RM): This British Royal Navy unit, formerly known as 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1 AGRM), is responsible for operating various assault craft in support of amphibious landings and raids. Based in Plymouth, England, 47 Cdo RM supports the United Kingdom’s amphibious forces by operating and maintaining an array of watercraft, such as Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC), Inshore Raiding Craft (IRC), and Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP). The unit has participated in operations worldwide, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq and various international military training exercises.

FAQ: Assault Craft Unit (ACU)

What is an Assault Craft Unit (ACU)?

An Assault Craft Unit (ACU) is a type of naval unit within the military that specializes in transporting and landing personnel, equipment, and supplies during amphibious missions. These units play a crucial role in achieving a successful beach landing and supporting combat operations.

What types of vessels does an ACU use?

ACUs typically utilize various types of landing craft, such as Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) vessels, and conventional Landing Craft Utility (LCU) vessels. These crafts are designed to efficiently transport and land troops, vehicles, and equipment onto hostile shores.

What operations do ACUs typically take part in?

Assault Craft Units are involved in a wide range of operations, including amphibious assaults, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and maritime security missions. Their ability to operate in diverse situations makes them valuable assets to the military.

How do ACUs work along with other naval units?

ACUs work closely with other naval and Marine Corps units to carry out their missions. They provide vital support to amphibious assault forces or other ships in their task force by ensuring the safe and efficient transfer of personnel, equipment, and supplies during operations.

What are some notable examples of Assault Craft Unit operations?

Assault Craft Units have taken part in various operations, such as Operation Overlord during World War II, the Inchon Landing during the Korean War, and more recent operations like Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Their role in these operations has been crucial in achieving the overall mission objectives.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Amphibious warfare
  • Landing craft
  • Expeditionary warfare
  • Naval infantry
  • Ship-to-shore operations

Sources for More Information

  • United States Navy – Official website of the U.S. Navy, including comprehensive information on various units, including Assault Craft Units (ACUs).
  • GlobalSecurity.org – A resource providing background information and analysis on a wide range of defense, military and security topics, including Assault Craft Units (ACUs).
  • Naval Technology – A website providing news and analyses about global naval developments, including detailed information on naval units, such as Assault Craft Units (ACUs).
  • The Free Dictionary – Military Dictionary – An extensive military dictionary containing terminology and explanations related to military forces worldwide, including information about Assault Craft Units (ACUs).