Landing Craft, Air Cushioned – LCAC

LCAC

LCAC

A US Navy Landing Craft — Air Cushion or LCAC races to shore. Put this thrilling image on your wall as a poster or framed print. Or buy the LCAC greeting card or postcard set. All waiting for you at The PatriArt Gallery.

Air cushion craft for transporting, ship-to-shore and across the beach, personnel, weapons, equipment, and cargo of the assault elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
 
Features
The Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) is a high-speed, over-the-beach fully amphibious landing craft, capable of carrying a 60-75 ton payload. It is used to transport the weapons systems, equipment, cargo and personnel of the assault elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force from ship to shore and across the beach. LCAC can carry heavy payloads, such as an M-1 tank, at high speeds. The LCAC payload capability and speed combine to significantly increase the ability of the Marine Ground Element to reach the shore. Air cushion technology allows this vehicle to reach more than 70 percent of the world’s coastline, while only about 15 percent of that coastline is accessible by conventional landing craft.
 
Background
Concept Design of the present day LCAC began in the early 1970s with the full-scale Amphibious Assault Landing Craft (AALC) test vehicle. During the advanced development stage, two prototypes where built. JEFF A was designed and built by Aerojet General in California. JEFF B was designed and built by Bell Aerospace in New Orleans, Louisiana. These two craft confirmed the technical feasibility and operational capability that ultimately led to the production of LCAC. JEFF B was selected as the design basis for today’s LCAC.

The first LCAC was delivered to the Navy in 1984 and Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was achieved in 1986. Approval for full production was granted in 1987. After an initial 15-craft production competition contract was awarded to each of two companies, Textron Marine and Land Systems (TMLS) of New Orleans, La., and Avondale Gulfport Marine, TMLS was selected to build the remaining craft. A total of ninety-one LCAC have now been built. The final craft, LCAC 91, was delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2001. This craft served as the basis for the Navy’s LCAC Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). To date three operational craft have been delivered to the Navy in the SLEP configuration.

LCAC first deployed in 1987 aboard USS Germantown (LSD 42). LCAC are transported in and operate from all amphibious well deck ships including LHA, LHD, LSD and LPD. The craft operates with a crew of five.

In addition to beach landing, LCAC provides personnel transport, evacuation support, lane breaching, mine countermeasure operations, and Marine and Special Warfare equipment delivery.

 
Program Status
All of the planned 91 craft have been delivered to the Navy. A Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) is currently in progress to add service life to the craft design life of 10 years, delaying the need to replace these versatile craft.
 
Point Of Contact
Corporate Communications Office
Naval Sea Systems Command (SEA 00D)
Washington, DC 20376
 
General Characteristics, LCAC 1
Builder: Textron Marine and Land Systems/Avondale Gulfport Marine.
Date Deployed: 1982.
Propulsion: Legacy 4-Allied-Signal TF-40B gas turbines (2 for propulsion / 2 for lift); 16,000 hp sustained; 2-shrouded reversible pitch airscrews; 4-double-entry fans, centrifugal or mixed flow (lift)
SLEP 4–Vericor Power Systems ETF-40B gas turbines with Full Authority Digital Engine Control
Length: 87 feet 11 inches (26.4 meters).
Beam: 47 feet (14.3 meters).
Displacement: 87.2 tons (88.60 metric tons) light; 170-182 tons (172.73 – 184.92 metric tons) full load.
Speed: 40+ knots (46+ mph; 74.08 kph) with full load.
Range: 200 miles at 40 kts with payload / 300 miles at 35 kts with payload.
Crew: Five.
Load: 60 tons / 75 ton overload (54.43/68.04 tonnes)
Military lift: 24 troops or 1 MBT.
Armament: 2 – 12.7mm MGs. Gun mounts will support: M-2HB .50 cal machine gun; Mk-19 Mod3 40mm grenade launcher; M-60 machine gun.
Electronics: Radars, Navigation: Marconi LN 66; I band / Sperry Marine Bridge Master E.
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3 Responses to “Landing Craft, Air Cushioned – LCAC”

  1. Gordon Chamberlain Says:

    Good Day
    I am looking for information on the limitations of LCAC in severe cold weather. Have these craft been tested in Alaska or on arctic Tundra ?

  2. worldmilitaryhistory Says:

    Gordon,

    I just googled the search terms “LCAC” and “Arctic” and found numerous reliable sources which address that question.

    Best of luck with your research.

  3. Bob Ragot Sr Says:

    I worked on the AALC program from 1968 onward to Sept 1981. I spent a lot of effort to accurately record the failures, all maintenance requirements and Mission Reports for JEFF A and Jeff B. I have been pleased to see that there is so much information available online about AALC and, particularly, LCAC. I am also pleased to see that the Navy and Marine Corps liked the craft enough to procure 91 craft. From what I have been able to find, the craft reliability, maintainability and availability have been much better than expectations at the end of the AALC program.

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