The US Naval Sea Systems Command has ordered further two Landing Craft Utility vessels from Louisiana-based Swiftships LLC under a $26.7 million contract modification announced by the US defense department on February 4.
The newly-ordered LCU 1701 and 1702 are the second and third in their class.
A contract for the lead unit in the class was awarded in April 2018.
The new LCU 1700 class will replace the existing LCU 1610 class of amphibious landing craft on a one for one basis. It will be a similarly rugged steel craft which will recapitalize the LCU 1610 capabilities and have a design life of 30 years.
According to a US Navy fact file, the new LCU 1700 class will be approximately 139 feet (42.4 meters) long with a beam of 31 feet (9.4 meters) and a displacement of approximately 428 long tons (434.9 metric tons) full load.
The craft will have a range of 1200 nautical miles at 8 knots and a crew of 13. They will be capable of transporting two M1A1 tanks or 350 combat troops, or 400 persons, or 170 short tons of cargo (151.8 long tons or 154.2 metric tons).
LCU 1700 craft will be a heavy lift platform whose capability will be complementary to the faster air cushion landing craft which have a significantly shorter range, smaller payload capacity, no habitability, and operating hour limitations.
Work on the latest contract will be performed in Morgan City, Louisiana, and is expected to be completed by May 2021.