US Navy prepares to test next-generation amphibious hovercraft

The US Navy intends to test a new generation of transport amphibious assault hovercraft - Ship to Shore Connector (SSC), which will replace the already obsolete LCAC ships that entered service in the 80s.

A bit of history. In the early 1950s, with the advent of nuclear weapons, the Pentagon leadership came to the conclusion that the old tactics of amphibious operations were no longer relevant. This entailed equipping the Marine Corps with helicopters and the creation of LCAC class hovercraft with four gas turbine engines. The vessel was launched from a transport ship 15 km from the coast and delivered the necessary cargo to the place of disembarkation within 15 minutes.

The new SSC is a flat-bottomed ship with a 490 sq. On the sides it has four sets of Royce AE 1107C-Liberty gas turbine engines with a total capacity of 18.4 MW. The ramp is at the front. The vessel can move not only over the water, but, if necessary, over the landing site. According to defense company Textron, the SSC is adapted to more than 80% of all coastlines.

SSC is capable of carrying up to 74 tons (LCAC - 60 tons) of cargo. This is enough to deliver an M1A1 Abrams tank, or 180 Marines, to the landing site, or evacuate 54 wounded. The rubber air skirt is designed to reduce drag and overall weight. The ship's hull is made of aluminum.

The US Navy plans to purchase 72 SSCs, plus one for testing. According to the US Naval Institute, deliveries should begin this year.