Textron Systems Corp., New Orleans, Louisiana, is awarded a $241,371,747 contract for the procurement of LCAC 100 Class material and non-recurring activities for five future Ship to Shore Connector Landing Craft Air Cushion 100 Class craft. Work is expected to be completed by October 2025. Fiscal 2023 shipbuilding and conversion, Navy funds in the amount of $99,846,368 (55%); and fiscal 2022 shipbuilding and conversion, U.S. Navy funds in the amount of $77,389,764 (45%), will be obligated at time of award. In accordance with 10 U.S. Code 3204(a)(1), this contract was not competitively procured: only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. Work to be performed is the procurement of long lead time material and non-recurring activities for up to five SSC class crafts. U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.
The Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC), also known as the LCAC 100 class, is a system proposed by the United States Navy as a replacement for the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC). . In 2003, the Navy Transformation Roadmap set out plans to start R&D on a “Heavy Lift LCAC” project in 2005, but this was superseded by the LCAC(X) “LCAC Replacement Tactical Assault Connector”. In August 2010, the US Navy issued a Request For Proposals for a contract to design and build 72 SSCs. The contract would be worth up to US$4 billion. A contract for detailed design work and construction of the first test and training craft, was expected to be awarded in 2011. It will offer an increased capacity to cope with the growing weight of equipment used by the United States Army and Marine Corps. As of 2015, the program is forecast to cost a total of US$4.054B for 73 hovercraft.
Although the design will be broadly similar to the LCAC, there will be several significant differences: two-person Fly-by-wire cockpit with joystick controls, more powerful engines, etensive use of composites and aluminum alloys for corrosion resistance, advanced skirt instead of a deep skirt for less drag and reduced craft weight. The four Rolls-Royce MT7 gas turbines that will be used to power each Ship-to-Shore Connector are derivatives modelled after the design of the Rolls-Royce T406 used in the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. The cores of the two engines types are identical, which should provide some relief in spare parts storage to those ships that will operate both the (tiltrotor) aircraft and the hovercraft. Top speed will be 50 kn (58 mph; 93 km/h). A simpler and more efficient drivetrain using one gearbox is on each side for fewer parts, less maintenance and higher reliability.
The all-aluminum Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC) is equipped with a four-person operating crew, four gas turbine engines, the ability to maintain a speed of 35 knots in sea state 3 and has a service life of 30 years. This craft is built from our legacy Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) technology and is transportable on a variety of U.S. Navy large deck amphibious ships, making it available to operate in a wide range of geographical areas worldwide. With the ability to hold a 74-ton payload and over 1,600 square feet of deck space, the SSC provides optimal room to transport supplies, vehicles—including up to four Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicles (ARVs)—and equipment to shorelines. The tenth SSC to be delivered will have the capability to launch vehicles into the water rather than travel to the beach. That ability will then be retrofitted to the previous nine vessels.