The Navy’s FY 2020 budget request cuts numerous Textron Inc. [TXT] Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC) Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC)-100 craft from the Future Years Defense Programs (FYDP) schedule due to contractor delays.

In FY ’19, the Navy budget planned to procure eight SSCs per year from FY ’20-’23 for a total of 32 vessels. In contrast, the FY ’20 budget plans for zero vessels in FY ’20, four in FY ’21, five in FY ’23, and five in FY ’24 for a total of 21, 11 fewer craft with one more year than previously planned.

Rendering of the Marine Corps Ship to Shore Connector, a replacement for the landing craft air cushion (LCAC) built by Textron. (Image: Textron)

In budget documents, the Navy said it cut funding due to contractual delays in FY 2017, 2018, and 2019 and delivery delays of craft awarded in FY 2015 and 2016.

“This resulted in program underexecution, which eliminates the need for the FY 2020 SSC request,” the budget documents said.

The documents noted this reduction cuts $315 million in FY ’20 and another $248 million over the FYDP.

The Navy said this will not impact the Textron workers because “there will be sufficient carry-over work from prior years to sustain production through FY 2020 with no negative impacts to the workforce.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told reporters Wednesday “I do hope it does get better in the future. We’re ready to commit to that program as soon as we get a kind of maturity and reliability that merits that.”

The SSC LCAC-100-class craft are meant to replace the existing aging fleet of hovercraft that are reaching the end of their service lives. The new LCAC-100s are designed to last for 30 years and land surface forces at over-the-horizon distances from amphibious ships and mobile landing platforms.

LCAC-100 improvements include better engines, fly-by-wire controls, high payloads, a reduced crew, and simpler maintenance.

The Navy expects to ultimately procure 73 hovercraft.

In December Textron won a $314 million modification for additional work on LCACs 109-123. That includes long-lead time materials for LCAC-109 – 118, continuing pre-fabrication activities for LCAC-109 – 112, and initial procurement of long-lead time material for LCAC-119 – 123 (Defense Daily, Dec. 14, 2019).