LCUs are carried aboard amphibious assault ships to the objective area and used across a range of military operations to deliver vehicles, personnel and cargo from sea-to-shore and shore-to-shore. They can also be used to support civilian humanitarian/maritime operations.
Building partnership missions are also supported by LCUs being able to provide dive team or small boat support; to assist in port clearing; conducting limited surveillance and to support many other missions enabled by their range and independent operations capability. LCUs have the ability to operate independently at sea for up to 10 days.
In March 2018, the detail design and construction of the LCU 1700 class was awarded for up to 32 craft, replacing the existing LCU 1610 craft on a one for one basis.
LCU 1700 will recapitalize the capabilities and flexibility currently provided by the LCU 1610 Class displacement craft in a fuel-efficient, cost effective, updated design. These craft will operate independently for up to 10 days with a range of 1200 nm for continuous landing of troops, equipment and supplies; missions requiring persistence; and missions to reinforce, reposition and resupply forces over a wide operating area. They are highly effective in theater security cooperation and building partnership activities.
General characteristics of the LCU 1700 class include:
- Diesel propulsion with Kort nozzles, twin shafts 2x500 hp sustained;
- Approximately 139 ft. long, beam is approximately 31 ft. wide,
- Displaces approximately 428 long tons at full load,
- Speed is 11 knots (12.7 mph/20.3 kph),
- The range is 1200 nautical miles at 8 knots,
- Accommodations for mixed gender crew of 14,
- Military lift load: M1A1 tanks (2), or 350 combat troops, or 400 persons, or 170 short tons of cargo,
- Armament mounts for four crew operated weapons,
- Includes a commercial navigation radar, military communications suite and Amphibious Assault Direction System.
Updated Sept 2021