US Landing Craft Air Cushion can carry up to 75 tons at speeds over 46 mph

Source: US dep of defense

The Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) is a type of air-cushion ship (hovercraft) employed by the U. S. Navy’s Assault Craft Units and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force as a landing craft (JMSDF). They carry the assault components of the Marine Air/Ground Task Force’s weapons systems, equipment, supplies, and soldiers from ship to shore and over the beach.

Source: U.S. Navy

Today’s modern design concept LCAC was founded in the early 1970s. On June 29, 1987, LCAC received full production approval. By 1989, 48 air-cushion landing boats were authorized and allocated. The final ship, LCAC 91, was handed to the United States Navy in 2001.

Lockheed Shipbuilding Company was chosen as a competitive second source. The budget request for 1990 contained $219.3 million for nine aircraft.

Source: wiki commons

LCAC also offers troop transport, evacuation support, channel breaching, mine countermeasure operations, and Marine and Special Warfare equipment delivery, in addition to beach landing.

Source: U.S. Navy

The four primary engines are employed for both lift and main propulsion. With two engines out of service, the craft can continue to function at a reduced capacity. They may be swapped out for redundancy. 180 properly equipped troops may be accommodated in a transport model. The cargo capacity is 1,809 square feet (168.1 m2). The LCAC can carry a 60-ton cargo (up to 75 tons in an overload scenario), including one M-1 Abrams tank, at speeds of more than 40 knots.

The LCAC is a significant advancement in current amphibious combat technology. It enables the launch of amphibious assaults from places above the horizon up to 50 nautical miles (93 km; 58 mi) offshore, reducing the danger to ships and men while increasing confusion in the enemy’s mind about the location and time of an attack, enhancing its chances of success.

Source: Petty Officer 2nd Class Kiona Miller / wiki commons

Because of the LCAC’s propulsion mechanism, it is less vulnerable to mines than other attack craft or vehicles. Because of its incredible over-the-beach capabilities, the LCAC can reach more than 80% of the world’s coasts. Landing craft formerly had a max speed of around eight knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) and could only cover around 17% of the world’s beach area. Assaults were launched from a few miles off the coast.

Source: Mate 1st Class Bart A. Bauer / wiki commons

The US Navy had 80 LCACs in its inventory as of September 2012. Of the 80 LCACs, 39 have completed the Service Life Extension Program conversion, 7 are in the process of completing the Service Life Extension Program conversion, and 4 are awaiting induction. The USN’s LCAC inventory will continue to decline as the LCAC Service Life Extension Program is phased down.

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