Well Deck Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) Operations

  1. Debark Control Officer
    The DCO is in charge of and controls the entire debark/ embark evolution, under the direction of the Commanding Officer. The DCO will continually keep the Commanding Officer informed of the progress and status of well deck operations.
    The DCO is responsible for the safe movement of all cargo and must be kept informed of the situation in the wet well. The Well Deck Control Officer (WDCO) must exercise firm control over the entire evolution and ensure compliance with standard safety precautions.
    The WDCO keeps the DCO abreast of assault craft in or near the well and provides the DCO with AAV manifests.
  2. The Well Deck Control Officer (WDCO) is normally the First Lieutenant. The WDCO performs the following functions:

    Controls all well deck operations
    Controls overall ballasting operations
    Keeps the Debark Control Officer (DCO) informed of the depth of water at the sill
  3. The Well Deck Safety Officer, normally a senior Petty Officer, conducts safety and procedural briefs for well deck evolutions
  4. The Ramp Marshal and Petty Officer in Charge (POIC) are responsible for carrying out the instructions of the WDCO. The POIC and Ramp Marshal will wear yellow helmets and may wear yellow, auto-inflated, Mk I life vests for ease of identification.
    The Ramp Marshal directs a Landing Craft Air Cushion's (LCAC's) final approach to the well deck via hand signals.
  5. Phone Talkers help to ensure that communications between well deck control, ballast control, the Debark Control Officer, and the Officer of the Deck are established early and maintained throughout the evolution. Redundant means of voice communication will always be beneficial, especially when conducting multi-ship evolutions where radio frequencies are at a premium.
  6. The Line Captains check all line handling stations to ensure they are properly manned, their personnel are in full battle dress, and the lines are on station, faked out, and free for running.
  7. Line Handlers position the marriage blocks, lines, and marriage chains in the well. The Line Handlers are located in the well deck.
  8. What well deck position conducts safety and procedural briefs for well deck evolutions?
    The Well Deck Safety Officer conducts safety and procedural briefs for well deck evolutions.
  9. How far, in inches, will Line Captains ensure that line handlers tend the lines away from T-bitts?
  10. The Ballast Control Officer is normally the Damage Control Assistant (DCA) and performs the following functions:

    Supervises the actual ballast/deballast operations
    Provides the wet well conditions, as specified by the WDCO
    The ballast control station has the following minimum manning:

    Ballasting Officer (normally the DCA)
    Phone Talker
  11. Stern Gate Control

    The stern gate provides ready access to the well deck during amphibious operations and protects the contents of the well deck from wind and weather

    Ram Room maintenance person
    Phone Talker
  12. The Combat Cargo Officer, who is normally the ship's Boatswain, coordinates cargo control.:

    Combat Cargo Officer
    Phone Talker
    Traffic Controllers
    Monorail/Bridge Crane Operators
    Securing detail
  13. Repair Locker

    The repair locker contains items for damage control.
    The minimum manning for the repair locker is as follows:

    Locker Officer
    Locker Leader
    Locker Phone Talker
    On-scene Leader
    Fire party
  14. Who normally fills the position of the Combat Cargo Officer?
    Ship's Boatswain
  15. General Craft Preparations
    1. Early in the evolution, conduct radio checks on the primary and secondary radio control frequencies.
    2. Secure all gear adrift above and below decks.
    3. Ensure embarked personnel, not assigned as crew, are given a safety brief.
    4. Ensure all craft are equipped with current navigation and tide information for the operating area. This information should be included in the craft's boat book.
  16. AAV Driving
    To ensure maximum visibility and available power, the AAV will always be driven aboard bow first, never backed onboard
  17. Steep Wedge
    Well deck ships should ballast to a steep wedge with three to six feet of water at the sill and dry well forward. This creates a false beach, which lets the AAV transition from waterborne to track drive inside the well.
  18. Approach Signal
    When all preparations in the well are complete, the ship will signal the lead AAV to make its approach using a signal flag or lights from the control station.
  19. Receiving Signal
    A green light or waving a green flag indicates "ready to receive AAV." A red light or motionless red flag indicates "not ready to receive AAV."
  20. Control Signals
    For daylight operations, control lights and flags will be used. For night or low visibility operations, control lights and light wands will be used.
  21. Control Signals
    The Petty Officer in Charge (POIC) will control craft from the aft end of the wingwall catwalk on LHD 1, LSD 41, and LSD 49 class or on top of the energy absorbing ramp on LPD 4 and LHA 1 class ships.
  22. AAV Direction

    When the AAV is in the proper position, the vehicle controller will signal the AAV driver to pivot 180 degrees and face the vehicle toward the stern. At no time will any personnel, including traffic directors, be allowed in the well deck while AAVs are being positioned.
  23. AAV Sequencing

    As soon as the AAV has cleared the sill or is spotted with brakes set, another AAV may enter the well deck

  24. AAV Hand and Wand Signals
    AAV to the right or left
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  25. AAV Hand and Wand Signals
    AAV Neutral Steer (Right/Left Pivot Steer)
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  26. AAV Hand and Wand Signals
    AAV Forward
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  27. AAV Hand and Wand Signals
    AAV Backward
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  28. AAV Hand and Wand Signals
    AAV Stop (Halt) Vehicle(s) (Also Stop Towing)
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  29. AAV Hand and Wand Signals
    AAV Decrease Speed
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  30. AAV Hand and Wand Signals
    Stop Engine/Cut Engine
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  31. AAV Hand and Wand Signals
    Starting Engines, Prepare to Move
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  32. Debark AAVs

    AAVs may debark by either of two methods:

    Administrative launches may be conducted at anchor, while lying to, or at pierside.
    Tactical or underway launches are conducted while the ship is making way, normally between five and 15 knots.
  33. AAV Launch Track

    The launch track will normally parallel the beach; however, tracks may be U-turns or echelons. By design, the AAV LOD will normally be as close to the beach as possible, and it need not coincide with the LOD for landing craft. The launch track should, if possible, avoid large variations in water depth, especially at depths of less than 100 feet.
  34. AAV Launch Interval

    When calculating the launch interval, the number of vehicles in each wave and the width of the LOD and beach should also be considered. The minimum interval is five seconds. Longer intervals should be considered at speeds of less than ten knots to ensure a safe distance between vehicles (approximately 50 meters).
  35. AAV Launch Procedures

    1. Ballast the ship to approximately one foot of water at the sill. Sill depths in excess of one foot will produce noticeably adverse effects on the vehicle’s controls. These effects become more pronounced as water depths over the sill increase.
    2. Lower the stern gate to the horizontal position; the stern gate should not deviate from the horizontal position more than three degrees during the launch.
    3. The WDCO will order the unlashing of vehicles by AAV crewmen and ship’s personnel prior to embarking troops.
    4. When all personnel going ashore are embarked in the vehicles, the AAV Unit Commander will collect manifests from all AAVs and submit them to the WDCO for transfer to the Debark Control Officer.
    5. At the direction of well deck control, the first wave of AAVs will start their engines approximately five minutes prior to launch. All other crews (successive waves) will wait until ordered to start their vehicles.
    6. The AAV Wave Commander often has difficulty determining when the last vehicle in the wave has entered the water. A prearranged signal from the ship may be useful.
    7. If a casualty occurs during the launch phase, push or pull the disabled AAV to one side and drive the remaining AAV(s) around it and off the stern gate.
  36. What are the two ways to debark Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs)?
    • Administratively
    • Tactically
  37. Wet well operations may take place pierside, at anchor, or underway.
  38. WDCOs must ensure the following:

    Assigned Safety Observers are present throughout well deck operations
    Safety Observers are qualified in the positions they are observing
    Safety Observers are assigned in sufficient numbers to observe all aspects of the operation
    Safety Observers are able to quickly communicate any unsafe condition or practice to the control station
  39. Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) General Safety

    An important factor when operating with AAVs is visibility. Due to the vehicle’s height and length, the driver’s visibility is severely reduced, particularly when objects are close to the vehicle. When the hatches are secured and the driver is looking through two inches of bulletproof glass, his visibility is reduced even farther.

    Distance from shore
    If an underway launch is planned, consideration must be given to not exceed 4,000 yards from shore due to crew considerations. For exercise purposes, the ship should be anchored 2,000 yards from the beach or lying to with base steerageway.

    Safety boats
    Safety boats are mandatory during all waterborne evolutions. One safety boat is required for five or less vehicles and two safety boats when six or more vehicles are waterborne. Safety boat crews shall be manned by a standard boat crew (Coxswain, Boat Engineer, Bow Hook) and a Boat Officer. If deemed necessary by the Commanding Officer, a Rescue Swimmer should accompany the boat crew. The Senior Boat Officer is designated the Boat Group Commander (BGC

    Safety and recovery vehicle
    The AAV detachment Officer in Charge (OIC) will designate one AAV as the primary safety and recovery vehicle.

    Boat Group Commander
    The Boat Group Commander (BGC) is responsible for the safe navigation of the safety boats and AAV. The BGC must stay vigilant to other surface craft operating in the launch area or navigational hazards not briefed.

    Distress signals
    All safety boat personnel are to be alert for the AAV distress signals when AAVs are waterborne.

    AAV spotting
    No AAV is to be spotted or left stationary on an energy absorbing ramp or vehicle ramp. There is no safe or approved way of securing an AAV on an incline.

    AAV lighting
    AAVs are not equipped with navigational lights for night or low-visibility operations. To reduce the potential hazard to both AAVs and shipping, the use of chemical lights (chemlites), attached to the AAV's antennas, is recommended. Any color but green may be used. Green has been designated by the Navy and US Coast Guard for man overboard.
  40. AAV Distress Signals

    Vehicle is sinking, is in danger of sinking, or has a serious injury onboard
    During the Day
    Wave flag November from a boat hook
  41. AAV Distress Signals

    Vehicle is sinking, is in danger of sinking, or has a serious injury onboard
    During the Day or night

    Red star shell or blinking headlights
  42. AAV Distress Signals

    Disabled vehicle
    During the Day
    Flag November on boat hook (not
  43. AAV Distress Signals

    Disabled vehicle
    During the Night
    Spotlight or battle lantern shown (pointed up)

  44. What is the distance from shore that should not be exceeded during an underway exercise AAV launch?
    2,000 yards
  45. What does a waving November flag from an AAV indicate?
    The AAV is sinking, is in danger of sinking, or has a serious injury onboard
  46. Heavy Weather Operations in the Wet Well
    Heavy weather is defined as any sea condition that, because of swell or wave action, causes the depth of water over the sill to vary by six feet or more (+/-3.0 feet from nominal depth)
Card Set
Well Deck Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) Operations
Section 1 – Identifying AAV Stations Manned During Operations Section 2 – Identifying Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) Shipboard Operation Procedures Section 3 – Identifying AAV Operation Safety Precautions