The next generation landing craft, Ship to Shore Connector (SSC), Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC), successfully completed well deck interoperability testing with USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) and demonstrated the craft are another step closer to fleet integration.
The evolution was conducted as part of the first phase of ship interface testing and helped validate user requirements by performing multiple well deck entries and exits from USS Carter Hall. LCACs are built with similar configurations, dimensions, and clearances to the legacy LCAC – ensuring the compatibility with existing well deck equipped amphibious ships.
“This is an exciting period for the Ship to Shore Connector program as we continue to validate user requirements and get the craft ready for their eventual fleet tasking,” said Capt. Scot Searles, program manager, Amphibious Assault and Connectors Programs, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “The success of the well deck testing and other recent evolutions validates these modernized craft will be a game changer for the Navy/Marine Corps team as they execute various missions in the maritime domain.”
The test event, a collaboration between, PEO Ships, USS Carter Hall, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division and other stakeholders, was the culmination of months of preparation. The testing also has historical significance, as Panama City, Fla. is the location of the Navy’s Air Cushion Vehicle Center of Excellence with the first-ever well deck operations occurring off Panama City in 1985 between legacy LCAC 01 and USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41).
"Working alongside Program Executive Office Ships, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division and other stakeholders to provide the fleet with a modernized and more capable Ship to Shore Connector makes our Navy better in every way," said Cmdr. LaDonna Simpson, Carter Hall's commanding officer. "The time and efforts invested here make my people more proficient, and our Navy stronger. We are grateful to have been selected to support this evolution."
With the recent delivery of LCAC 103 and its fly away to NSWC Panama City, the program is currently in serial production on LCACs 104 – 116. The delivery of four more craft is scheduled for later this calendar year.
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, boats and craft.