Textron Systems’ Marine and Land Operations based in New Orleans, La., was awarded a contract by the U.S. Navy valued at over $61 million. This contract is for work associated with the Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) Service
Life Extension Program (SLEP). LCAC is an amphibious vehicle that
traverses snow, marsh, ice, tundra, sand and water. This is the second
LCAC SLEP production contract awarded to Textron, and it will provide
for the SLEP of five craft. All work is to begin immediately, with
incremental deliveries of completed craft, with the last deliveries
taking place in the last quarter of 2005.
The first LCACs were manufactured in 1984 with a service life design of
20 years. All craft have performed at or above expectations and have
become an integral part of the Navy's amphibious capabilities. The
Service Life Extension Program will extend the useful life of the LCAC
fleet, reducing operating costs and improving performance.
The U.S. Navy's plan is to extend the service life of 74 fleet LCACs.
Prior to this new production contract, initial design changes were
developed, incorporated and tested on craft number 91. That craft was
delivered to the U.S. Navy in March of 2001. Later in that same year,
Textron Systems was awarded a production contract for the SLEP of three
fleet LCACs. This latest contract brings the total number of craft
awarded to Textron to eight. Additionally, the new contract provides
options, that if exercised, will provide for the SLEP of four additional
craft and increase the total value of the award to over $100 million.
This new contract entails modifications for extending the service life
of the LCAC from 20 to 30 years. Changes include incorporation of main
engine upgrades, installation of a new skirt system, and some hull and
fuel system modifications that were developed to improve trim and damage
stability characteristics of the LCAC. In addition,
communication/navigation systems will be upgraded for consistency with
other U.S. Navy equipment
and to reduce the costs of maintenance, repair
and obsolescence of parts. The majority of the work will be completed at
Textron Systems Marine
& Land Operations in New Orleans.