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Strategic Defense Guidance

Posted: January 13, 2016 3:29 PM

New Navy Landing Craft Procurement Moved Up Two Years

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy's program to build a new utility landing craft (LCU) will begin this year instead on 2018, thanks to the fiscal 2016 budget passed by Congress.

The Navy's fleet of 32 LCUs of the 1610 class, the oldest of which was built in 1959, will be replaced by the new LCU 1700 class. The LCU 1610s were designed to serve for 25 years and are suffering from corrosion.

The Navy has put some LCUs through overhauls that cost $3 million each, said Tom Rivers of the Navy's program office for landing craft. Speaking Jan. 13 at the Surface Navy Association’s National Symposium, he said that "corrosion is the biggest maintenance driver we have in the LCU."

The LCU 1700 will be 4 feet longer and 2 feet wider than the older class and have a payload of 170 short tons that is 30 tons more. It will be able to carry two M1A1 Abrams tanks instead of one, as on the older LCU. It also will be able to carry a personnel transport module.

The new LCU will have a 1,200-nautical-mile range unrefueled and be able to conduct independent operations for up to 10 days. It will have the same speed as the older craft.

Rivers said the Navy will issue an Federal Business Opportunity announcement for the new LCU in three to four weeks, with a Request for Proposals expected later this year. A contact award is expected in 2017.