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Textron Starts Work on New Navy Hovercraft

An artist's conception of Ship to Shore Connector (SSC). Textron Image

An artist’s conception of Ship to Shore Connector (SSC). Textron Image

Work started Monday on the first of 73 planned hovercraft slated to replace the service’s aging Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) landing craft, Naval Sea Systems Command announced.

The first of nine initial Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) began fabrication in Textron’s facility in New Orleans, La. in what’s slated to be a $4.07 billion program.

“It’s an exciting time. Starting production on this next generation Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) is a significant milestone for the Navy and Marine Corps,” said Capt. Chris Mercer, Program Executive Office Ships program manager for Amphibious Warfare in a Monday NAVSEA statement.
“The craft benefits from a mature design and sound production process, paving the way for many more craft to follow. Once delivered, these craft will fill a critical need to recapitalize the Navy’s surface connectors.”

The Navy currently operates a fleet of 81 LCACs first introduced into the service in 1986.

“The SSC will be a high-speed, fully amphibious landing craft capable of carrying a 74-ton payload traveling at speeds of more than 35 knots. An enclosed personnel transport module can be loaded aboard that can hold up to 145 combat-equipped Marines or 108 casualty personnel,” according to NAVSEA.
“The SSC will incorporate an improved skirt design, the advanced skirt, in place of the LCAC’s deep skirt, reducing drag and craft weight.”

The first SSC delivers in 2017 and will have an initial operating capability (IOC) in 2020.

The Navy and Marine Corps want the SSC to be able to deploy the Marine’s developing Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) concept at sea as a complimentary capability to the current Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV).

  • Robin Paine

    There is a 700 page book, with 450 pictures called ‘On a Cushion of Air’, (available through Amazon, The Book Depository and Kindle), which tells the story of Christopher Cockerell’s discovery that heavy weights could be supported on a cushion of low pressure air, and the development of the hovercraft by those who were there, from the very early days through to the heyday of the giant 165-ton SRN.4, which crossed the English Channel starting in 1968 carrying 30 cars and 254 passengers at speeds in excess of 75 knots on a calm day. It was subsequently widened to carry 36 cars and 280 passengers with an A.U.W. of 200 tones and was later lengthened to an A.U.W of 325 tons and capable of carrying 55 cars and 424 passengers. The amazing point was that from 165 tons to 325 tons only 400 extra hp was required, although a bit of speed was sacrificed, proving conclusively that Christopher Cockerell’s theory was sound.

    The development of the military hovercraft is also covered.

    Sadly, for economic reasons, the service came to an end on 1st October 2000. In total 6 SR.4s were built and the two remaining ones are in the Hovercraft Museum at Lee-on-Solent. See onacushionofair.com

  • The last successful amphibious landing made was in Mogadishu Somalia.
    Lets face it the Marines are just another army with a navy chain of command , which when they demand to be in the desert etc it just screws up and causes unified chain of command problems.

  • Secundius

    What happened, the the “Amphibious Brick” find it’s way in the pages of the “Absurd”, already…

  • Rob C.

    Big hovercraft to handle heavier loads. Older LCACs been service for nearly 30 years, their wearing out. That what this is all about. Their not intended face the teeth of the enemy, i wish they were bettered arm/armored, but such is life. Good luck marines.

  • Jack K.

    Expensive and underperforming, albiit ‘sexy’ and a good pr vehicle; not useful against any kind of opposition; not that useful in bad weather; limited to relatively smooth beaches; usmc too fond of expensive toys ( osprey, efv, lcac) that don’t work all that well (efv not at all); better spend scarce defense funds on something more useful

    • old guy

      You’re a dinosaur , albeit a smart one. I agree on the “expensive toy” syndrome but disagree, strongly with the LCAC inclusion (please see my general remarks). Like the PHM hydrofoils the use and operation of LCAC was back shelved by Navy. You couldn’t make flag commanding a bunch of E-8 commanded Marine support craft and their was no path up after. Career disaster. ’nuff said.

  • old guy

    Bigger hovercraft are ideal for no port, administrative landings. Russian SUBR (POMORNIK) are 3X as big, armed and real useful. Had we borrowed 3 (they had 6)
    we could have brought supplies into northern Somalia, unopposed, and never have gotten into the calamitous operation at Mogadishu. This was proposed, but turned down by the State Dept. No kidding. (I vuss dere, Charlie.)

  • Secundius

    Maybe we acquire the plans to the British Saunders-Roe Nautical 4 Mk. III Hovercraft. At 185-feet by 78-feet by 37-feet 08-inches @ 352.74-tons with a sea-lift capacity of 183-tons, 1,454-pounds…

  • Chin Fat

    Oh! usa so smart! reliance on high tech will be your downfall. China will do to you what you did to Germany in WWII: we will overpower you through sheer weight of numbers. But you can do down sucking each other off with your government sponsored homosexual marriage. HaHaHaHaHaHaHa!!!!!!! Enjoy!!!!