Textron Systems said today it delivered the first Ship to Shore Connector in February following successful acceptance trials late last year.
The follow-on program to the Landing Craft Air Cushion, SSC is a combat hovercraft designed to move weapons, equipment, personnel and cargo in the littorals.
“Prior to delivery, Craft 100 underwent integrated testing to demonstrate the capability of its fly-by-wire steering, electrical and propulsion systems and completed its acceptance trials in December 2019,” according to a Textron statement.
The first craft is being used for testing and training purposes, according to the Navy’s budget justification documents.
The next craft in the production line is scheduled for builder’s trials in the “first quarter of this year,” according to Textron. The Navy expects that vessel to be delivered in June, according to budget documents.
The delivery marks a positive milestone for a program that faced a budgetary slow down in recent years.
Navy brass opted not to request any new SSCs in the fiscal year 2020 budget request, citing contractual and delivery problems. Lawmakers in the annual defense appropriations bill still provided $65 million to purchase one craft in FY-20.
The FY-21 budget continues that trend by not requesting any new SSC procurement, but future years projections include two craft in FY-22, two in FY-23, five in FY-24 and five in FY-25. A Navy official overseeing the program said earlier this year that he expects several deliveries this year but technical and production issues remain.