The US Navy’s first next-generation landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) 100 production model, has entered into the next phase of manufacturing, with the completion of its hull.
PEO Ships Amphibious Warfare Program Office programme manager Tom Rivers said: "This significant production event marks the buoyancy box’s transition from the Hull Assembly Line to the first Craft Assembly Station.
"It is a major transition point as the first craft now enters the above deck module integration phase of production."
In July 2012, Textron Systems was awarded a $213m contract to design and build a SSC test and LCAC 100 with scheduled delivery in 2017.
This contract included options worth a total potential value of $570m for up to eight production craft to be delivered by 2020. The first contract option for LCAC 101 was awarded in August 2014.
The US Navy’s SSC programme has a total requirement of 73 craft, including one test and training and 72 operational craft. Currently, Textron is building two crafts as part of a nine-hull contract.
The SSC is capable of carrying a 74t payload at speeds of more than 35k, and can accommodate up to 145 combat-equipped marines or 108 casualty personnel.
Being developed as a replacement for the navy’s existing fleet of LCACs, the SSC craft will operate from the navy’s amphibious ships and mobile landing platforms to transport weapon systems, equipment, cargo and personnel.