Textron recently won a $212.7 million US Navy contract for a 'Ship to Shore Connector' (SSC) test & training hovercraft
Earlier reported here, now more detail added with acknowledgement to 'Defense Industry Daily'.
Textron, Inc. in New Orleans, LA have been awarded a $212.7 million fixed-priced incentive-fee contract for the detail design and construction of a ship to shore connector (SSC) test and training hovercraft, and technical manuals. This contract includes options for up to 8 production SSC hovercraft, which could bring the cumulative value of this contract to $570.5 million.
The Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) hovercraft program aims to build on the USA’s LCAC hovercraft experience, and retain the US Navy’s unparalleled transport options from ship to shore and beyond. LCACs launch from inside the well deck of an amphibious warship, then travel the waves at high speed, run right through the surf zone near the beach, and stop at a suitable place on land. Their cargo walks or rolls off.
These air-cushioned landing craft are much more capable than the conventional flat-bottomed landing boats used by other countries, but that capability comes at a price, explains 'Defense Daily News'. LCACs were expensive to buy, suffered from corrosion and maintenance issues, and remain quite expensive to operate and maintain after many years in service. The other problem is that tanks and other vehicles have gotten heavier, so carrying equipment like the Marines’ latest M1 Abrams can push current LCACs to their capacity limits.
Countries like France are designing fast catamaran landing craft for over-the-horizon delivery at a lower price point, although modern hovercraft offer new options of their own, and the Navy decided to go ahead with the SSC project.