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Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC)

Last updated: 14 Oct 2021

Air cushion 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 were 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 72 operational craft and 1 R&D craft. 64 LCACs have undergone the SLEP process as of Dec. 1, 2018 (does not include the 1 R&D craft) and three additional LCACs are under contract (with an option for a fourth craft) to go through SLEP through FY21.

LCAC first deployed in 1987 aboard USS Germantown (LSD 42). LCAC is transported in and operates from all amphibious well deck ships including LHA, LHD, LSD, LPD, and ESD. 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. A total of 68 LCAC will have undergone service life extension by the conclusion of the program in 2021.

A contract was awarded to Textron, Inc. on 6 July 2012 for construction of new Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) craft, to replace the retiring LCAC.

General Characteristics
 Textron Marine and Land Systems/Avondale Gulfport Marine
Date Deployed: 1987
Propulsion: Legacy: 4-Allied-Signal TF-40 gas turbines (2 propulsion / 2 lift); 16,000 hp sustained; 2-shrouded reversible pitch airscrews; 4-dbl-entry fans, centrifugal or mixed flow (lift)
Length: 91 feet 9.5 inches (28.0 meters)
Beam: 48 feet 4 inches (14.7 meters)
Displacement: 105 tons (95.25 metric tons) light; 172-195 tons (156 - 176.9 metric tons) full load
Speed: 40+ knots (46+ mph; 74.08 kph) with full load
Range: 200 miles at 35 kts with 50 ton payload
Crew: Five
Load: 60 tons / 75 ton overload (54.43/68.04 tons)
Armament: Two 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: Furuno FAR-2127BB


Point of Contact
Naval Sea Systems Command
Office of Corporate Communication (SEA 00D)

Washington, D.C. 20376

(202) 781-4123


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