US Navy Accepts New Ship-to-Shore Hovercraft From Textron

Textron Systems has delivered the US Navy’s Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) 109 as part of the service’s Ship-to-Shore Connector (SCC) fleet expansion.

The SSC program is an ongoing effort to employ and modernize replacements for the US Department of Defense’s older hovercrafts in service since the late 1980s.

The new LCACs have improved capabilities and faster deployment features for transporting warfighters, weapons, tactical equipment, and other cargo between land and vehicles at sea.

Textron received the initial $213-million contract in 2012 to lead the SSC program at its facility in New Orleans, Louisiana.

In 2020, the company signed a $386-million follow-on agreement to produce 15 additional boats (LCAC 109 through 123) for the initiative.

Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC)
Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC). Photo: Sgt. Juan Magadan/US Marine Corps

“This new craft will provide the Navy and Marine Corps team with unparalleled capability in amphibious warfare, ensuring we remain agile and responsive to emerging threats and global challenges,” US Navy Amphibious Assault and Connectors Program Manager Capt. Jason Grabelle said of the handover.

“The introduction of LCAC 109 into our fleet marks a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to maintain and enhance operational readiness.”

“This advanced craft will significantly boost our operational capability, providing a critical link in our ability to project power and support joint operations across the globe.”

US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion

The US Navy’s LCAC is 92 feet (28 meters) long and has a 48-foot (15-meter) beam.

It is designed with a 1,608-square-foot (149 square meters) deck area for up to 74 tons (67,000 kilograms) of payload.

Four gas turbine engines power the boat, which can reach a maximum speed of 35 knots (65 kilometers/40 miles per hour).

The vessel is operated by four personnel, including a pilot, co-pilot, loadmaster, and engineer.

According to the navy’s fact sheet, the LCAC can be armed with mounted machine guns and grenade launchers.

All 91 planned hovercrafts, including the testbeds ordered since the first iteration of the LCAC framework, were delivered by 2021. More than 60 of these received extension services by the program’s conclusion in the same year.

Alongside American troops, the LCACs are used by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

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