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US Navy’s second ship to shore connector completes acceptance trials

Illustration: Textron Systems photo of LCAC 101 during acceptance trials

The second of overall 22 next generation landing craft currently on order has completed US Navy acceptance trials following a series of graded in-port and underway demonstrations.

The ship to shore connector (SSC), land craft, air cushion (LCAC) 101, concluded the acceptance trials earlier this month, five months after the lead unit in the class.

During the trials, the craft underwent integrated testing to demonstrate the capability of the platform and installed systems across all mission areas to effectively meet its requirements. These demonstrations are used to validate the quality of construction and compliance with Navy specifications and requirements prior to delivering the craft to the US Navy. As INSURV is the approving authority for ships and craft undergoing acceptance trials, LCAC 101 can now begin preparing for delivery.

“The first operational production unit for the next-generation landing craft, LCAC 101, performed well having incorporated lessons learned from the recent Craft 100 at-sea trials,” said Tom Rivers, amphibious warfare program manager for Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “LCAC 101 successfully demonstrated the ability to operate both on and off cushion at full load through the full range of speed, payload and maneuvering requirements.”

The SSC is the evolutionary replacement for the existing fleet of legacy LCAC vehicles, and will primarily transport weapon systems, equipment, cargo, and personnel of the assault elements through varied environmental conditions from amphibious ships to and over the beach.

SSCs are constructed at Textron Systems, Marine & Land Systems in Slidell, La., and are built with similar configurations, dimensions, and clearances to legacy LCAC, ensuring the compatibility of this next-generation air cushion vehicle with existing well deck equipped amphibious ships, as well as expeditionary transfer dock and expeditionary sea bases. Textron has delivered craft 100, has completed testing on LCAC 101, and is currently in production on 12 craft with an additional 10 on contract.

The SSC program envisions a total of 73 craft for construction, one test and training and 72 operational craft.