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NEWS | March 23, 2022

Navy Ship to Shore Connector delivers CH-46 for Air Force training

By Jeremy Roman NSWC PCD Public Affairs Office

Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) demonstrated its versatility and effectiveness to provide logistics support.

Program Manager, Ships (PMS) 317 Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) hovercraft and NSWC PCD Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) In-Service Engineering Agent (ISEA) civilian operators played a vital role in the delivery of a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter, from Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola to Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Fla., Feb. 24, 2022.

With a height of nearly 17 feet, transporting the helicopter by land would have required extensive preparation work in order to lower the height to safely maneuver on public highways.  The Air Force 96th Test Wing reached out to NSWC PCD and determined that moving the CH-46 by way of hovercraft was a better option.  NSWC PCD LCAC craft pilots then planned the mission in collaboration with the 96th Test Wing, Eglin AFB, Program Executive Office Ships, PMS 317, and NAS Pensacola.

LCAC 103 transited from Panama City, Fla., to NAS Pensacola where the CH-46 was loaded and then transported to Eglin AFB to be used to support future training operations for the Air Force Special Operations Command Special Tactics Training Squadron. The LCAC 103 then displayed its amphibious capability by transiting from water to shore at Eglin AFB where the CH-46 was rolled off the deck onto dry land. LCAC 103 further demonstrated the SSC amphibious capabilities by transiting across Santa Rosa Island at the Eglin AFB Test Range to navigate back to base via the most efficient route to NSWC PCD. This long distance, land hopping mission, supported post-delivery test and trials objectives by successfully gaining reliability growth hours while demonstrating required capabilities for Navy and Marine Corps Expeditionary Forces.

This is one example of how NSWC PCD aligns with Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) strategic goals at the division level by demonstrating its ability to deliver an array of responsive options and services to meet real world needs.

“NSWC PCD is a Navy research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) laboratory, and this mission displayed the fruit of the RDT&E and Acquisition team work which is providing this critical expeditionary capability to the Fleet. It is always a bonus when that capability supports our sister military branches and partners,” said Randy Whitehead, NSWC PCD Air Cushion Vehicle and Seabasing technical program manager. “This was an excellent demonstration of key capabilities such as the LCAC’s unique combination of range, speed, amphibious versatility, and lift capacity. It not only allowed us to successfully execute this mission but also showed how SSC can bring more to the table for future Distributed Maritime Operations.”

The NSWC PCD mission is to conduct RDT&E, in-service support of mine warfare systems, mines, naval special warfare systems, diving and life support systems, amphibious/expeditionary maneuver warfare systems, and other missions that occur primarily in coastal (littoral) regions. NSWC PCD provided a bridge to deliver problem-solving capability and stands ready at a moment’s notice to help get the right people and the right technical services to support national defense strategies.