The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) on Friday awarded Textron Inc. [TXT] a $314 million modification for additional work on Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC)-100 craft LCAC-109 – 123.

The SSC LCAC-100-class vessels aim to replace the existing fleet of hovercraft vehicles that are reaching the end of their service life. The LCAC-100 vessels, designed to last for 30 years, are used to land surface forces at over-the-horizon distances from amphibious ships and mobile landing platforms.

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

The newer vessels have improved engines, fly-by-wire controls, higher payloads, reduced crew, and simplified maintenance.

During the annual Sea Air Space Expo in April, Scot Allen, Textron vice president for marine systems, said the company and Navy ultimately expect to produce 73 total hovercraft (Defense Daily, April 18).

This award specifically covers long-lead time material for LCAC-109 – 118, continuation of pre-fabrication activities for LCAC-109 – 112, and initial procurement of long-lead time material for LCAC 119-123.

This work is expected to be finished by July 2023. FY 2017-2019 shipbuilding funds of $236 million are obligated at award time and will not expire at the end of this fiscal year.

The LCAC-100 craft are built at Textron’s facility in New Orleans and then tested at the Navy’s LCAC test facility in Panama City, Fla.