The Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) is the evolutionary replacement for the existing fleet of Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) vehicles, which are nearing the end of their service life. The SSC is an air cushion vehicle whose mission is to land surface assault elements in support of Operational Maneuver from the Sea (OMFTS), at over-the-horizon distances, while operating from amphibious ships and mobile landing platforms. SSC provides increased performance to handle current and future missions, as well as improvements which will increase craft availability and reduce total ownership cost.
| Artist rendition of Ship to Shore Connector. (Image credit: US Navy)
The SSC program will significantly enhance the Navy and Marine Corps team’s capability to execute a broad spectrum of missions well into the 21st century, from humanitarian assistance and disaster response to multidimensional amphibious assault. LCACs/SSCs are used primarily to haul vehicles, heavy equipment, and supplies through varied environmental conditions from amphibious ships to over the beach.
Additionally, an enclosed personnel transport module can be loaded aboard that can hold up to 145 combat-equipped Marines or 108 casualty personnel. LCACs have proven to be very useful in supporting non-hostile amphibious operations and were vital in delivering life-saving equipment, food, water, and medical supplies in humanitarian relief efforts throughout the world. It is anticipated that SSC will be called upon to perform in a similar manner.
The SSC program is the first major naval acquisition program in more than 15 years to be designed “in-house” by the Navy rather than by private industry. The Navy Design Team progressed through an evolutionary design process, beginning with a Set-Based Design process, where craft level requirements were functionally decomposed into discrete system level functional requirements documents (FRDs). The FRDs formed the functional basis for selecting trade spaces, and to start Preliminary Design. Preliminary Design was followed by a Contract Design period, which developed the Allocated Baseline and formed the basis for the SSC contract solicitation.
The Navy-led contract design, released to industry in a full and open competition, allowed for mid-tier builders without air cushioned vehicle experience to compete for the detail design and construction contract. This approach uses the government’s expertise in air cushioned vehicles and provides industry the flexibility to make component selections and complete design details for optimal producibility and low acquisition costs.
The detail design contract was awarded to Textron, Inc., New Orleans, La., whose major subcontractors include L-3 Communications of Camden, N.J., GE Dowty of Great Britain, Rolls-Royce Naval Marine of Indianapolis, Ind., R. Cushman and Associates of Farmington, Mich., Umoe Mandal of Norway, and Innovative Power Solutions of Eatontown, N.J. Other subcontractors include Alcoa of Riverdale, Iowa and Exlar of Chanhassen, Minn. Fabrication of the SSC began on Nov. 17, 2014 following completion of the SSC Production Readiness Review (PRR).
Updated Jan 2017