| Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) 89, assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4, returns to the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky/Released)
The Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) is a high-speed, fully amphibious landing craft capable of carrying a 60-75 ton payload. It can carry heavy payloads such as an M-1 tank and travel at speeds of more than 40 knots. The LCAC rides on a cushion of air, and no part of the LCACs hull penetrates the surface of the water. The entire hull rides approximately seven feet above the water. The LCACs propulsion system has additional safety mechanisms making it less susceptible to mines than other assault craft or vehicles.
The Navy’s LCAC Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), which began in 2001, is actively improving and upgrading these versatile platforms. The program includes upgrading the powertrain to provide additional power as well as decreasing fuel consumption and maintenance needs.
SLEP also replaces older technologies, including upgrading command, control, communications, computer and navigation, or C4N, systems. Of the 91 LCACs originally built, 68 are to receive SLEP enhancements by the time the program concludes in 2021.
Updated Jan 2018