Textron readies new ship-to-shore connector for US Navy acceptance trials

The first of the US Navy’s future ship-to-shore connector craft has completed builder’s trials and is ready for the navy’s acceptance trials.

US Navy photo of a landing craft, air cushion

LCAC 100 completed the trials seven years after Textron received the first contract for the construction of a new generation of LCAC (landing craft, air cushion) in July 2012.

“Our ship-to-shore connector craft 100 successfully completed builders trials and will now be followed by Navy with acceptance trials,” Textron chief executive Scott Donnelly told analysts during an earnings call.

“Earlier this week we flew craft 101 [LCAC 101 ], which is the second one. It did its first time on the water and ran flawlessly for over six hours and accomplished an awful lot of the test cards.”

Donnelly added that the company was in detailed negotiations with the navy regarding the transitioning of the program from a developmental into a production one.

Textron’s craft will replace the current LCAC which first deployed in 1987. In addition to offering increased payload, the new craft are built in fewer parts, promising faster production and easier maintenance.

The SSC program envisions a total of 73 craft for construction, one test and training and 72 operational craft. Deliveries were initially expected to begin in fiscal year 2019 with initial operational capability projected for fiscal year 2020. The service is yet to provide an updated delivery schedule.