Evolution of the Landing Craft, Air Cushion Technology

Change Date Order

    Landing Craft - 1960

    • 1960s
      The Decade of Firsts
    • 1962 January 8

      Announcement of the U.S. Navy’s 22-ton, 62-foot Hydroskimmer is under contract. It is the largest air cushion vehicle ever to be constructed in the United States.

    • 1965 August 20

      The first of three SK-5 air cushion vehicles are supplied to the U.S. Navy. Naval personnel begin training in operation and maintenance of the SK-5 at the Buffalo Test Base on Lake Erie.

    • 1965 February 17

      The Federal government mass transportation project announces a passenger service between the Oakland airport, San Francisco airport and downtown San Francisco, using two SK-5 air cushion vehicles. By August 1966, the passenger service successfully logs 179,700 passenger miles and carries 13,600 passengers.

    • 1966 November 21

      Three SK-5 air cushion vehicles serving with the Navy in Vietnam take part in Operation Quai Vat (Monster) near Moc Hoa, South Vietnam, venturing into areas that were previously inaccessible.

    • 1967 March 15

      A specially instrumented SK-5 air cushion vehicle completes a historic 235-mile trip across frozen Lake Erie, marking the first time any surface vehicle has traveled the ice-clogged lake in wintertime. The SK-5 also demonstrates several days of runs between Pelee Island and the Canadian mainland.

    • 1969 January 13

      Award contract for the detail design, construction and test of the Surface Effect Ship SES-100B as well as support of Navy test operations.

    • 1969 June 11

      The SK-5 begins a six-week demonstration program for the U.S. Coast Guard in St. Petersburg, Fla., marking the first use of an air cushion vehicle by the Coast Guard.

    Landing Craft - 1970

    • 1970s
      The Decade of Advanced Technological Improvements
    • 1970 April 1

      Work begins on the preliminary design of a 50-knot, 45-ton C30-50 air cushion Amphibious Assault Landing Craft for the U.S. Navy.

    • 1971 March 8

      The U.S. Naval Ship Systems Command selects the design, construction and test of an experimental 50-knot, 160-ton air cushion LC JEFF(B) Amphibious Assault Landing Craft.

    • 1971 October 4

      Final assembly begins on the first Voyageur heavy haul air cushion vehicle. Voyageur 001 starts operational test programming in December and begins major ten-day Army/Navy offshore logistics exercises involving the transport of MILVAN containers from ship to shore in Fort Eustis, Va. in September 1971.

    • 1973 March 1

      SES-100B attains speeds of more than 70 knots in Lake Pontchartrain tests - a world record for this type craft.

    • 1973 March 12

      Successful model testing of the Viking Air Cushion Vehicle is announced.

    • 1976 March 15

      The first of two LACV-30s (Lighter, Amphibious Air Cushion Vehicles 30-ton payload) is completed for the U.S. Army.

    • 1977 April 7

      The U.S. Navy announces completion and rollout of the first JEFF(B) amphibious assault landing craft.

    • 1978 January 8

      The LACV-30 craft completes surf tests at Camp Pendleton in California. While expanding the entry angle envelope at high gross weight, the craft takes a steep 7- to 8-foot wave broad on the bow at 20 miles per hour, successfully demonstrating surf performance.

    • 1979 August 14

      Successful operational demonstrations of the 160-ton JEFF(B) are carried out at Tyndall Air Force Base and Naval Coastal Systems Center. More than 30 government and contractor organizations are involved. The ship is maneuvered in and out of the well deck of a Landing Ship Dock and achieves an overwater speed of 62 knots while carrying a full load including a main tank, a jeep and Marine troops. The JEFF(B) maneuvered through simulated war conditions on shore, including exploding mines and traversed sand dunes as high as 10 feet.

    Landing Craft - 1980

    • 1980s
      The Decade the LCAC Makes a Splash
    • 1980 January 27

      The 100-ton SES-100(B), designed and built for the U.S. Navy, breaks the world’s speed record by moving across water at 105.8 miles per hour (91.9 knots) at the Navy’s Patuxent River Test Facility in Maryland. The previous record of 104 miles per hour was set by the SES-100(B).

    • 1980 November 24

      At the Landing Ship Dock 32/AALC Interface Trials, the JEFF(B) makes 19 entries and exits from the well deck in sea states up to 3, with the USS Spiegel Grove (LSD-32) cruising at speeds up to 19 knots.

    • 1981 October 23

      A dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony is held for the new $10 million production facility for the New Orleans Operations shipyard facility. This is the only U.S. shipyard dedicated solely to full-time production of air cushion vehicles and surface effect ships. Located in eastern New Orleans, the shipyard sits on a 14.7-acre site, has 168,000-square feet of manufacturing space and provides direct access to the Intracoastal Waterway, the Mississippi River, the Mississippi River Outlet and the Gulf of Mexico. Navy dignitaries, Louisiana Congressmen Robert Livingston and Lindy Boggs, and Robert P. Straetz, Chairman of the Board of Textron Inc., attend the dedication.

    • 1982 September 29

      The SES-200, the world’s largest surface effect ship, completes a record breaking trip from New Orleans, La., to the Patuxent River in Maryland averaging 23.4 knots during the 1,550-nautical mile, nonstop, nonrefueling voyage.

    • 1983 February 24

      A ceremony marks the beginning of production on the first hull assembly for the Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC). George A. Sawyer, former Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Shipbuilding and Logistics, is the guest speaker. The JEFF(B), the LCAC prototype, makes its longest trip to date from Panama City to New Orleans for the ceremony.

    • 1983 August 6

      Second of three major milestones in the production of the LCAC-1 is achieved when the aluminum hull is turned over at the production shipyard.

    • 1984 May 2

      With a huge American flag waving and the rousing beat of the Marine Corps band, America’s largest military air cushion vehicle, the Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC-1) is given a red carpet rollout and crowned with colored balloons in New Orleans. The LCAC-1 is the first production craft for the U.S. Navy. Five more LCACs are also in production at the shipyard in eastern New Orleans.

    • 1987 June 18

      LCAC-2, LCAC-3, and LCAC-4 depart San Diego, California for a successful six-month, 20,000-mile voyage through the Pacific as part of the WESTPAC deployment. The WESTPAC operation marks the first deployment of LCACs.

    Landing Craft - 1990

    • 1990s
      The Decade of Growth and Expansion
    • 1992 April 6

      Contract is awarded for 12 additional LCACs by the U.S. Navy.

    • 1994 April 8

      Contract is awarded to build LCAC amphibious craft for the Japan Defense Agency.

    • 1995 February 3

      The U.S. Navy awards the contract for LCAC mid-life availability. The contract consists of all work associated with the mid-life overhaul and refurbishment of approximately 30 existing craft and is valued at approximately $23 million.

    • 1996 February 21

      The decision made by Congress to appropriate $37 million dollars for the purpose of implementing an LCAC service life extension and upgrade program. With this funding, the U.S. Navy executes a modification to its existing contract. This procurement entails design, development, installation and testing of modifications to LCAC and LCAC systems in order to extend the service life of existing craft from twenty to thirty years.

    • 1996 November 20

      A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Yamada International and Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding, both of Japan, is announced to provide technical assistance and training for the first two LCACs delivered to Japan Defense Agency (JDA). The delivery of the first JDA LCAC takes place in August of 1997.

    Landing Craft - 2000

    • 2000s
      The Decade of International Impact
    • 2000 August 7

      ISO 9001 (International Standards Organization) registration is achieved for designing, producing and supporting amphibious air cushion vehicles, specialty marine craft and armored vehicles. This certification is based on an audit demonstrating Quality Management System compliance and evaluation in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001:1994.

    • 2001 April 2

      Awarded the contract for the LCAC Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). The Navy’s plan is to extend the service life of 74 fleet LCACs. This contract addresses the first three craft only and contains options to incrementally extend the life of the remaining craft in the fleet over the next 15 years. On May 2, 2002, a LCAC SLEP ceremony was hosted to celebrate the turnover of the initial LCAC SLEP production hull.

    • 2004 May 3

      Celebration of the 20th anniversary of LCAC-1 rollout.

    • 2005 January 10

      LCACs hit the beaches in Indonesia and other areas ravaged by a tsunami that killed more than 150,000 on December 26. The craft brings water, rice, building materials and construction equipment to almost inaccessible areas in desperate need of help. Textron donates up to $500,000 to assist with relief efforts, including a matching contribution for employee donations.

    • 2005 August 29

      Hurricane Katrina hits the Gulf Coast, leaving unparalleled devastation across the entire region. Production stops for approximately two months as disaster teams work to clean up and repair the heavily damaged facilities.

    • 2009 October 5

      Textron Systems Marine & Land Systems teams with L-3 Communications to pursue the Navy’s next generation landing-craft, the Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC). The team further develops the Navy’s contract design using its proven detailed design-to-prototype build practices. The partnership unites Textron Systems technical expertise and high-rate precision manufacturing with L-3 Communications’ advanced maritime integration capabilities. In September 2010, Alcoa Defense joins the team as a leader in designing, developing and manufacturing high-performance aluminum structures.

    • 2017 January 2

      The SSC program reaches a critical milestone as testing begins of the subsystem level components on the first SSC craft, LCAC 100, and will move into the final assembly stage. The craft is scheduled to begin on-water testing the second quarter of 2017 and the first delivery to the Navy is scheduled for the fourth quarter.

    Landing Craft - 2010

    • 2010s
      The Decade of the Ship-to-Shore Connector
    • 2012 July 9

      The U.S. Navy selects Textron Systems for the Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC) program. The $213 million contract is for the detailed design and construction of an initial SSC Test and Training Craft. The contract includes options for up to eight production craft to be delivered worth a total potential value of $570 million. The SSC will replace the Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC), providing a modernized means for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to land on more than 80 percent of the world’s shorelines for the next 30 years.

    • 2014 December 15

      To mark the start of production on the U.S. Navy’s Ship-to-Shore Connector, a ceremony takes place at the Textron Systems New Orleans Shipyard.

    • 2015 April 13

      Textron Systems Marine & Land Systems is awarded the contract option to build crafts 102 and 103 from the U.S. Navy Naval Sea Systems Command for the Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC) and associated technical manuals.  On March 31, 2016, another award was given to build crafts 104, 105, 106, 107 and 108.

    • 2015 November 11

      A major milestone is achieved in the Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC) program during hull assembly when the LCAC 100 hull is turned over. Images show the craft build post turnover.

    • 2016 November 4

      Construction begins on LCAC 104 with the initial step of plate cutting.

    • 2017 January 2

      The SSC program reaches a critical milestone as testing begins of the subsystem level components on the first SSC craft, LCAC 100, and will move into the final assembly stage. The craft is scheduled to begin on-water testing the second quarter of 2017 and the first delivery to the Navy is scheduled for the fourth quarter.