The US Navy has awarded Textron Systems a $386 million follow-on contract for further deliveries of the new ship to shore connector craft (SSC).
Ship to shore connectors are the evolutionary replacement for the existing fleet of landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) vehicles, and will primarily transport weapon systems, equipment, cargo, and personnel of the assault elements through varied environmental conditions from amphibious ships over to the beach.
The contract comes after SSC 100, the first of the US Navy’s next-generation landing craft, completed acceptance trials in December 2019.
“As the program continues to move forward with delivering these important capabilities to the fleet, the procurement of these additional craft is critical,” said Tom Rivers, program manager of the Amphibious Warfare Program Office for the Program Executive Office Ships.
The $386 million fixed price incentive-firm target and firm fixed price contract will see Textron deliver a total of 15 additional craft. Work will be performed primarily in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The contract award is one of several recent milestones for the program. The navy accepted delivery of Craft 100, on February 6, 2020. Craft 100 is the developmental unit for the next-generation landing craft and will be located in Panama City, Florida where additional testing and crew training will be conducted.
The second craft, LCAC 101, is making headway and will head to sea within the next few weeks for builder’s trials for assessment of its operational readiness. During the trials, LCAC 101 will undergo integrated testing in both unloaded and loaded states to ensure the craft will successfully meet all requirements.
The detail design and construction contract procured nine craft. Beyond Craft 100 and LCAC 101, an additional seven craft are in the later stages of production.
The LCAC 100-class craft will address the growing capability and capacity necessary to transport joint forces at the US Marine Corps Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Army Brigade Combat Team, or similarly sized joint force to and across the beach. These craft incorporate improvements over the legacy LCAC to increase range and lift capability while ensuring compatibility with existing well deck equipped amphibious ships, as well as Expeditionary Transfer Dock and Expeditionary Sea Bases. The new craft can travel at a sustained 35 knots, and has an increased service life of 30 years.