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Textron Starts Work on Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC) hovercraft

Triton

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"Textron Starts Work on New Navy Hovercraft"
By: Sam LaGrone
Published: November 18, 2014 7:58 AM • Updated: November 18, 2014 7:58 AM

Source:
http://news.usni.org/2014/11/18/textron-starts-work-new-navy-hovercraft

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).
 

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Moose

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Kadija_Man said:
How do they significantly differ from LCAC?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OepKLy9q2po
Wiki summary is also acceptable:
Although the design will be broadly similar to the LCAC, there will be several significant differences:
Two-person fly-by-wire cockpit[8] with joystick controls[2]
More powerful, more efficient engines
Extensive use of composites and aluminum[5] for corrosion resistance[2]
Advanced skirt instead of a deep skirt for less drag and reduced craft weight[4]
The four MT7 gas turbines that will be used to power each Ship-to-Shore Connector are a derived design of the Rolls-Royce T406 used in the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey.[13] The cores of the two engines types are identical, which should provide some relief in spare parts storage to those ships that will operate both the aircraft and the hovercraft.[14] Top speed will be 50 kn (58 mph; 93 km/h). A simpler and more efficient drive train using one gearbox is on each side for less parts and maintenance and higher reliability.[2]
The SSC has a designed lifetime of 30 years.[15]
The 10th SSC to be delivered will have the capability to launch vehicles into the water rather than need to go all the way to the beach, after which that ability will be retrofitted to the previous nine vessels.[16]
 

TomS

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There are only 70-odd LCACs actualy operational now (60 deployable) so the end-game isn't much different. The real disaster is the middle of the SSC procurement -- as the LCACs wear out and retire (even with the SLEP), the total force bottoms out around 40 landing craft. Or at least that was the plan a couple of years ago.

And of course, there's still no solution to the LCU replacement issue, going on 50 years old now.
 

sferrin

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TomS said:
There are only 70-odd LCACs actualy operational now (60 deployable) so the end-game isn't much different. The real disaster is the middle of the SSC procurement -- as the LCACs wear out and retire (even with the SLEP), the total force bottoms out around 40 landing craft. Or at least that was the plan a couple of years ago.

And of course, there's still no solution to the LCU replacement issue, going on 50 years old now.

What happened to SC(X)? Did it get chopped?
 

TomS

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Not yet, but I would not be surprised to see it happen after the current AOA, unless an LCU actually sinks on a deployment or something. LCU(R) or equivalent programs have been delayed so often that I won't believe the U-boats are actually being replaced until a production contract is issued (and maybe not even then).
 

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http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.ie/2016/01/acv-instream-launches-from-lcacsmullen.html
 

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Looks good, nice to see it on the move.
 

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Why do USN/USMC photos always show hovercraft un-loading on the beach?
Beaches are typically heavily-defended with pre-registered artillery, easy lines of fire, etc.

It makes far more sense to drive hovercraft a kilometre or two inland, then unload behind the first line of defence.
 

TomS

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Why do USN/USMC photos always show hovercraft un-loading on the beach?
Beaches are typically heavily-defended with pre-registered artillery, easy lines of fire, etc.

It makes far more sense to drive hovercraft a kilometre or two inland, then unload behind the first line of defence.

Because that's not how they are used. Realistically, an LCAC is not great at working inland; their best advantage is that they are largely immune to beach gradient and other things that hamper conventional landing craft, but once you try to take them inland, they get slow and awkward. They overcome beach defenses not by going inland from a traditional landing point, but by offering such a wide range of possible beaches that it's impossible to heavily defend them all.
 

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Interesting to see Russia copy the LCAC/SSC design after developing so many of their own. Specs are smaller size.

 

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