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  • #31
    There is an improved LCAC on the way.



    Navy Awards Big Contract for LCAC Replacement Ship-to-Shore Connectors

    17 Apr 2020
    Military.com | By Gina Harkins
    The Navy has awarded a new contract for the long-awaited replacement connector that will ferry Marines, weapons and other equipment ashore.

    Textron Systems was awarded $386 million to build 15 new ship-to-shore connectors, Naval Sea Systems Command announced on Thursday. The connectors will replace the aging fleet of Landing Craft, Air Cushion vehicles, known as LCACs, which have been in operation since the 1980s and are nearing the end of their service lives.

    The new 92-footlong connectors will have further range and lift capabilities than the legacy LCACs. They can carry 74 tons and will be compatible with amphibious ships that have well decks, along with expeditionary transfer dock and sea bases.

    "As the program continues to move forward with delivering these important capabilities to the fleet, the procurement of these additional craft is critical," Tom Rivers, program manager of the Amphibious Warfare Program Office for the Program Executive Office Ships, said in a statement.

    The contract award is an important milestone for a program that plays a big part in the Marine Corps' future missions. That service is focusing its sights on the Asia-Pacific region, where Commandant Gen. David Berger said Marines and sailors will likely be called on to respond to China's growing influence.

    China has militarized tiny man-made islands in the South China Sea. The islands have airstrips, hangars, barracks and lookout points.

    As the country's military invests in new weapons systems that can target ships further away from the shore, the Navy and Marine Corps will need next-generation landing craft to get people and equipment from amphibious ships onto nearby beaches.

    The new connectors can be loaded with an enclosed personnel transport module that can carry up to 145 Marines in full combat gear, according to Textron. The craft can also carry vehicles and other heavy equipment.

    Textron will do most of its work on the 15 new vessels in New Orleans. The Navy already accepted delivery of the first next-gen landing craft, called the Ship to Shore Connector Craft 100, in February.

    The sea services will continue testing it and training on that platform in Panama City, Florida.

    The Navy plans to buy 73 of the new ship-to-shore connectors, according to its program summary.

    -- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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    • #32
      Interesting article focused on the Marine Corps as the test bed for adapting to the National Defense Strategy.

      https://mwi.usma.edu/first-to-adapt-...-marine-corps/

      Key paragraph:
      As other service chiefs seek ways to adapt their forces to support the nation’s strategy, they can look at the Marine Corps as a test bed. Per the NDS, the Marine Corps will play a role in the contact and blunt layers—during steady-state operations short of war and during initial escalatory phases. While this charge gives the service different tasks than the surge forces described in the same document, these larger forces will still find value in the Marine Corps’s tests. The Corps’s goal of persistent mobilized maritime operations is only attainable if the forces are combat credible. This means that the Marine Corps, with its Navy counterparts, will have to create parity with the same long-range, networked, precision missile systems that concern the overall joint force. Dealing with these advanced sensors and munitions will surely be a part of the joint force’s playbook. Furthermore, every service’s force-employment concepts will need to explore enhanced distribution and mobility for survivability inside sophisticated enemy observation and threat bubbles. As the Army works to analyze how it will reorganize to integrate its Multi-Domain Operations concept, it can look to the Marine Corps as an already-deployed force integrating the latest Joint All Domain Command and Control methodology. Furthermore, the Army’s Multi-Domain Task Force currently experimenting in the Indo-Pacific region will have service-level data provided by the Marine Corps to help frame further concept employment. The myriad after-action reports that come from the commandant-directed war games will serve well for other services to understand concept viability. The Marine Corps’s experience will serve as a basket of lessons learned for the larger DoD.

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      • #33
        Much of the discussion of the changes the Marine Corps is executing focuses on the Pacific. This is a reminder that the Corps is still engaged in NATOs northern flank. The closest the article gets to a mention of the Marine Littoral Regiment is "increased opportunities for large-scale exercises of Marine Corps tactical units.”

        https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/new...ent-to-norway/

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