Textron, Inc. began fabrication of the US Navy’s first Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) at its New Orleans facility Nov. 17.
In October, the Navy approved Textron to start production following the SSC Production Readiness Review during which the Navy evaluated the design maturity, availability of materials, and industry’s ability to start and sustain fabrication.
Capt. Chris Mercer, program executive office ships program manager for amphibious warfare, said:
Starting production on this next generation Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) is a significant milestone for the Navy and Marine Corps. 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 SSC will serve as the evolutionary replacement for the existing fleet of LCAC vehicles, which are nearing the end of their service life. The SSC will use more corrosion-resistant aluminum in the hull than LCAC as well as composites in the propeller shroud assembly and shafting to increase craft availability and lower life-cycle maintenance costs.
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. 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 SSC supports rapid movement of Marine Expeditionary Forces from the sea base to shore and can tactically deliver personnel and heavy equipment to trafficable terrain well beyond the beach, with the built-in reliability to operate in the harshest littoral environments. With 73 craft planned, the SSC will significantly enhance the capability of Navy and Marine Corps teams to execute a broad spectrum of missions, from humanitarian assistance and disaster response to multidimensional amphibious assault.
Press release, Image: US Navy