Large crowds gathered in Niantic today to see something that few people will ever witness. The U.S. Navy roared to shore on the Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC) to storm the Hole-in-the-Wall beach and establish a beachhead.
It’s probably safe to say that most people who see this happen for real aren’t nearly as thrilled as the spectators attending the kickoff event for OpSail 2012CT were!
The LCAC is an amphibious landing craft designed to transport military personnel, weapons, equipment and cargo required by the Marine Air-Ground Task Force from ship to shore and across the beach. Riding on
a cushion of air, not only can it travel at high speed, it can also access
about 70 percent of the world’s coastline. Conventional landing craft can only access about 15 percent of the coastline globally.
Besides beach landings, the LCAC is also used to transport personnel, deliver Marine and Special Warfare equipment, provide evacuation support, and conduct lane breaching and mine countermeasure operations.
Fast Facts about the LCAC
Length: 87 feet, 11 inches
Beam: 47 feet
Displacement: 87.2 tons light; 184.92 tons with a full load
Speed: 40+ knots (upward of 46 mph with a full load)
Range: 200 miles at 40 knots with a full payload, 300 miles at 35 knots with a full payload
Load: 60 tons (75 ton overload)
Armament: Two 12.7mm MGs. Gun mounts will support: M-2HB .50 cal. machine gun; Mk-19 Mod3 44mm grenade launcher; M-60 machine gun