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Strategic Defense Guidance

Posted: February 10, 2014 3:30 PM

ONR Team Working on Technologies for Future Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR), together with the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab and an unidentified international partner, is working to develop technology for a possible future landing craft.

According a Marine Corps report, Seabasing Required Capabilities Annual Report 2013, ONR is leading an initiative to develop technologies for a long-range landing craft called the Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC), a “displacement craft with buoyancy and propulsion provided by an innovative captive air-cell technology.”

A “future full-scale UHAC would have up to three times the payload of the Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC) and approximately the payload of a 1600-series Landing Craft Utility (LCU),” the report said. “It would have the same well deck footprint as an SSC with speeds twice that of an LCU. The captive air cell technology also yields a low ground pressure footprint (less than 2 psi) giving it the ability to traverse mud flats or climb over obstacles in excess of 10 feet. With a projected range of over 200 miles, UHAC could deliver forces and sustainment from well over a horizon.”

The report said that such a craft would give commanders of Marine Air-Ground Task Forces “a significant improvement in force projection ashore.”

ONR and its international partner have successfully demonstrated fifth- and half-scale demonstrators of the UHAC and continue development.

“The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab is sponsoring a half-scale UHAC demonstration during their 2014 Advanced Warfighting Experiment (in conjunction with RIMPAC [Rim of the Pacific Exercise] 2014), “the report said. “Development of a full-scale technology demonstrator is a possibility.”

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