Textron has been awarded a $212.7m fixed-priced incentive-fee contract from the US Naval Sea Systems Command to provide detail design and construction of a ship-to-shore connector (SSC) test and training craft.

Under the contract, Textron will provide an SSC to replace the US Navy’s current landing craft, air cushioned (LCAC) vehicle, which is nearing the end of its service life.

US Navy secretary Ray Mabus said that the ship-to-shore connector programme was expected to reduce acquisition and total ownership costs in the process.

"This is the first major naval acquisition programme in more than 15 years to be designed in-house," Mabus added.

"This is the first major naval acquisition programme in more than 15 years to be designed in-house."

The SSC programme is expected to boost the future capabilities of navy and US Marine Corps to help perform various missions that range from humanitarian assistance and disaster response to multidimensional amphibious assault.

A high-speed, fully amphibious landing craft, SSC will be capable of carrying a 74t payload while cruising at a speed of more than 35k during day or night.

With a 30-year service life, the SSC will be designed to support the rapid transfer of personnel and heavy equipment from the sea base to shore with the built-in reliability to operate in the harshest littoral environments.

The SSC will feature improved technology to provide enhanced performance to handle current and future missions, as well as improvements for better fuel efficiency and to reduce maintenance through existing shore-based infrastructure.

The contract has options for up to eight additional craft and is valued at $570.45m should all options be exercised.

Deliveries under the contract are scheduled to begin in 2017 for the US Navy, while the initial operational capability is expected to be achieved in 2020.