Sunday, May 07, 2017
Future Ship to Shore Connector. Everything is on the board...
The pic you see above was captured from a power point discussing the next ship to shore connector. The power point is located here.
Strock gets his fair share of complaints but I think he's doing a great job, especially considering how budget constrained the Corps has been (well except for aviation...). What has me a bit miffed and confused is the lack of direction. After looking at this power point it seems that we're tossing everything at the wall and trying to see what sticks. My point? Check out the pic below (poor quality so I apologize ahead of time).
If you're like me then you've wondered about the high speed sled to transport individual vehicles ashore (being commanded by the AAV, ACV, LAV, M1 Abrams, JLTV and I'm guessing even the MTVR) and then returning to ship autonomously.
You've seen (we talked about it on these pages here and here) the LCU-F and I beat on the drum to build at least a test model so we could see what it could do (the amazing thing is that the designers are claiming that its capable of self protection against air threats and can even provide fire support, while be able to be folded up and stored on deck when not needed).
And of course we all remember that mechanized monstrosity called the Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC) that was rolled out in miniature form and then put away never to be seen again (pic below).
Last (for the purposes of this blog post but I've left off many of the off the shelf items covered in the power point...make sure you give it a look) is the LCU Replacement program that seems to have died an untimely death even though Textron was ready to march. Pic below.
The point is that no one at HQMC seems to know what they want in a ship to shore connector. Do we need massive lift in one pass? Do we need high speed options?
The solution is simple I think. We build full scale models of each design and see which one tickles our fancy. Is a high speed, heavy lift LCU the way to go? How about that monster Captive Air thingy? Is the LCU-F a no brainer especially when paired with the MLP which should be able to carry several on its deck? I have no idea but if we test them then we can make an informed decision instead of dealing with power points.