The US military calls them Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC). They’re high-speed, fully amphibious hovercraft capable of carrying a 60-ton payload (75 tons in overload) over water and land at speeds in excess of 40 knots and a nominal range of up to 200 nautical miles. Carrying equipment, troops, and/or supplies, the LCAC launches from inside the well deck of an amphibious warship, then travels the waves at high speed, runs right through the surf zone near the beach, and stops at a suitable place on land. Its cargo walks or rolls off. The LCAC returns to the surf to pick up more. Rinse. Agitate. Repeat.
A total of 91 LCACs were built between 1984-2001, and their design itself dates back to the 1970s. They require regular maintenance, refurbishment, upgrades, and even life extension programs to keep them operational into the future. This free-to-view Spotlight article will covers the program from 2005 forward, tracking contracts and key events.