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Landing Craft, Air Cushion - LCAC

Air cushioned vehicle for transporting, ship-to-shore and across the beach, personnel, weapons, equipment, and cargo of the assault elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
The Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) is a high-speed, over-the-beach fully amphibious landing craft, capable of carrying a 60-75 ton payload. It is used to transport the weapons systems, equipment, cargo and personnel of the assault elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force from ship to shore and across the beach. LCAC can carry heavy payloads, such as an M-1 tank, at high speeds. The LCAC payload capability and speed combine to significantly increase the ability of the Marine Ground Element to reach the shore. Air cushion technology allows this vehicle to reach more than 70 percent of the world's coastline, while only about 15 percent of that coastline is accessible by conventional landing craft.
Concept Design of the present day LCAC began in the early 1970s with the full-scale Amphibious Assault Landing Craft (AALC) test vehicle. During the advanced development stage, two prototypes where built. JEFF A was designed and built by Aerojet General in California. JEFF B was designed and built by Bell Aerospace in New Orleans, Louisiana. These two craft confirmed the technical feasibility and operational capability that ultimately led to the production of LCAC. JEFF B was selected as the design basis for today’s LCAC. The first LCAC was delivered to the Navy in 1984 and Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was achieved in 1986. Approval for full production was granted in 1987. After an initial 15-craft production competition contract was awarded to each of two companies, Textron Marine and Land Systems (TMLS) of New Orleans, La., and Avondale Gulfport Marine, TMLS was selected to build the remaining craft. A total of ninety-one LCAC have now been built. The final craft, LCAC 91, was delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2001.

This craft served as the basis for the Navy’s LCAC Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). The program of record is to SLEP 72 operational craft and 1 R&D craft. Forty-six LCACs have been SLEP'd as of Oct. 10, 2013 (includes the 1 R&D craft) and seven LCACs are under contract to be SLEP'd through FY2013. An additional twenty are planned to be SLEP’d through FY2018 for a total Program of Record of 72 operational SLEP crafts and 1 R&D SLEP craft.

LCAC first deployed in 1987 aboard USS Germantown (LSD 42). LCAC are transported in and operate from all amphibious well deck ships including LHA, LHD, LSD and LPD. The craft operates with a crew of five.

In addition to beach landing, LCAC provides personnel transport, evacuation support, lane breaching, mine countermeasure operations, and Marine and Special Warfare equipment delivery.
Program Status
All of the planned 91 craft have been delivered to the Navy. A Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) is currently in progress to add 10 years of service life to the craft design life, delaying the need to replace these versatile craft.

A contract was awarded to Textron, Inc. on 6 July 2012 for a new Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) craft, to replace the retiring LCAC.
Point Of Contact
Office of Corporate Communication (SEA 00D)
Naval Sea Systems Command
Washington, D.C. 20376
General Characteristics
Builder: Textron Marine and Land Systems/Avondale Gulfport Marine.
Date Deployed: 1987.
Propulsion: Legacy: 4-Allied-Signal TF-40B gas turbines (2 propulsion / 2 lift); 16,000 hp sustained; 2-shrouded reversible pitch airscrews; 4-dbl-entry fans, centrifugal or mixed flow (lift)
SLEP: 4–Vericor Power Systems ETF-40B gas turbines with Full Authority Digital Engine Control
Length: 91 feet 9.5 inches (28.0 meters).
Beam: 48 feet 4 inches (14.7 meters).
Displacement: 94.5 tons (96 metric tons) light; 170-182 tons (174 - 176 metric tons) full load.
Speed: 40+ knots (46+ mph; 74.08 kph) with full load.
Range: 200 miles at 40 kts with payload / 300 miles at 35 kts with payload.
Crew: Five.
Load: 60 tons / 72 ton overload (54.43/64.29 tonnes)
Armament: 2 - Gun mounts will support: M2HB .50 Cal machine gun;, M240 7.62 mm machine gun; and MK-19 MOD3 40 mm grenade Launcher
Electronics: Radars, Navigation: Marconi LN 66; I band / Sperry Marine Bridge Master E.
Last Update: 15 November 2013
Photo - LCAC 50 on the water
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