Textron Marine & Land Systems (TM&LS), an operating unit of Textron Systems, announced today that its team has been selected by the US Navy for the Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC) programme. The SSC will replace the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), providing a modernised means for the US Navy and Marine Corps to land at more than 80% of the world’s shorelines for the next 30 years.

The approximately $213m fixed-priced, incentive-fee contract is for the detailed design and construction of an initial SSC Test and Training Craft with work to be completed by February 2017. The contract includes options for up to eight production craft to be delivered by 2020 worth a total potential value of $570m. With its amphibious lift requirement, SSC will provide the surface assault portion of the US Joint Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare tactical plan with the capability to project and sustain military operations from the sea, independent of tides, water depth, underwater obstacles or beach gradient.

The Textron team, including aluminum manufacturing and performance expert Alcoa Defense and command, control and navigation systems industry leader L-3 Communications, brings together more than 55 years experience in Air Cushion Vehicle (ACV) engineering, design, specialty materials, systems integration, manufacturing, high-rate production and service life extension with the only facility in the world that has successfully produced ten SSC-like craft a year. Textron Marine & Land Systems shipyard is sited in New Orleans, Louisiana, near the Gulf of Mexico; the 600,000ft2 shipyard is designed to optimise the production of ACVs, allowing these craft, once finished, to move from assembly line to open water, mission ready.

Textron Systems president and chief executive officer Fred Strader said: "Our team was formed from the very beginning to deliver to the US Navy the lowest risk SSC, a highly capable, high performing vessel delivered within budget, at weight and on schedule, and maintained for its entire service life.

"Our experienced team is eager to get to work building air cushion vehicles once again in our shipyard and supporting the U.S. Navy in every way we can."