This craft provides a very different technology from the original one
that was designed back in the 1980s. The original Landing Craft Air
Cushion predated digital control, so it was controlled by wires and hydraulics
running around the ship, while the SSC will utilize a digital fly-by-wire technology. The original LCAC system also had a yoke and rudder steering system.
The SSC will have a side stick controller and will include an automatic flight
controller, effectively an autopilot. We are also doing a lot of ergonomics studies to make sure that anything the current LCAC operators can do they will be
able to duplicate with the side stick controller, but even make it easier.
There is a lot of really innovative technology going into this program.
L- 3 Maritime Systems also developed a simulator in its Leesburg office for
the SSC, which has been a great help. Being able to do high-fidelity simulation testing in our lab is a huge risk mitigator. Using simulators, we are
able identify a lot the problems that are not usually noticeable until you
begin live testing of the equipment. It’s a vital part of our test procedures.
Like most other development contracts, this program is being designed
and developed under a fixed-price contract vehicle. While the pressures of
fixed-price development programs can be challenging, we have got to make
shipbuilding more affordable for the Navy and the Coast Guard, as everybody’s budgets are in a crunch and we need to do our part to support that.
For SSC, we have brought in a design tool set that was developed by one
of our other L- 3 divisions for a very large and complex new ship development
program, and they recognized early on that managing the design requirements and baseline was going to be very complicated. I took one of our engineers to get a demonstration of what they had developed and we determined
that this new design tool set would be a great cost-saver for all of our future
programs. We have since customized this tool set, rolling it out on the
SSC platform as well as for all future development programs.
L- 3 Developing Platform Electronics
For Ship-to-Shore Connector
Textron invited L- 3 Maritime Systems, headquartered in Leesburg,
Va., to join its Ship-to-Shore
Connector (SSC) team early in the
preproposal phase in 2012. The
SSC design is based on marine
technologies, as opposed to the
original Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), which was based
more on aviation-style systems.
Textron selected L- 3 as its command, control, communications,
computers and navigation (C4N)
integrator for the program given L-
3’s recent experience in the integration of marine electrical and
L- 3 currently has nine divisions
working with Maritime Systems
on designing, supplying and integrating all the SSC’s electronics
and electrical systems, including
flight control, navigation, and
communication and power distribution.
In July 2012, the U.S. Navy awarded the detailed design and construction contract to Textron
Marine & Land Systems, with initial delivery expected to begin in
fiscal 2017. L- 3, as a major subcontractor to Textron, is designing
and developing the C4N integrated system in support of the initial
test craft production, with delivery
to Textron planned in 2016.
Alfred Taylor is director of business development at L- 3 Maritime
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 48 SEAPOWER / MARCH 2014