WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 74 SEAPOWER / MAY 2016
The SLEP upgrade is a major work package consisting of a complete
overhaul and upgrade of every major system of the craft. We are
proud to partner with the Navy and Marine Corps in this most important
L- 3 started the SLEP work in 2005 with LCAC 37 on the East Coast and
LCAC 42 on the West Coast. Prior to the SLEP program, L- 3 had accomplished several LCAC maintenance availabilities, which tend to be smaller
in work scope.
To date, 56 craft have received the SLEP upgrade. That total will increase
to 65 once L- 3 completes the nine additional craft currently on contract.
Based on the government’s initial plan of upgrading 73 craft, up to eight
more could receive SLEP upgrades if deemed necessary by the government.
Because of its hybrid configuration, between a vessel and an aircraft, the
LCAC platform requires a unique workforce unlike other vessels/platforms
to upgrade and maintain these craft. The thin-plate aluminum welding
requires a special skill to weld. The electrical/electronic systems are also
LCAC-specific and require personnel who understand how to troubleshoot
and operate these systems. As a result of these special skills needed, L- 3
has put together an experienced workforce on both coasts to support the
SLEP program and the other LCAC maintenance needs of the Navy.
Currently, L- 3, the local regional maintenance centers (Mid-Atlantic
Regional Maintenance Center/Southwest Regional Maintenance Center)
and the Navy work together as a cohesive team. The quality of the SLEP
craft being delivered back to the Navy is outstanding. End-product deficiencies on SLEP craft have been reduced over 90 percent when compared
to the first LCAC upgrade delivered.
Because the SLEP comprises major upgrades to hull, mechanical and
electrical systems it is expected these craft will continue to receive maintenance and system upgrades until the Navy decides to replace them with
the new SSC [Ship-Shore Connector, now dubbed LCAC 100, being
developed by Textron Marine & Land Systems] craft.
LCAC Service Life Extension
Program Enters the Home Stretch
Norfolk, Va.-based L- 3 Unidyne
Inc., a division of L- 3 Communications, was awarded a pair of contract modifications worth almost
$29 million March 21 to perform
service life extension program
(SLEP) work on four Landing
Craft Air Cushions (LCACs) for
the U.S. Navy. L- 3 has performed
32 LCAC SLEPs, and now is under
contract to upgrade a total of nine
Work began on the SLEP program
in 1996. Based on Navy plans,
73 of the 91 LCACs originally
built will receive upgrades that
include refurbishing the buoyancy box and rotating machinery,
enhancing the gas turbine engine,
installing a new deep skirt, and
installing an integrated command,
control, communications, computers and navigation equipment
package. The work will boost craft
capability, replace obsolete electronics, repair corrosion damage,
improve reliability and maintain-ability, increase survivability and
extend their service lives from 20
to 30 years.
Work under the latest contracts
will be performed at Assault
Craft Unit (ACU) Five at Camp
Pendleton, Calif., and ACU 4 in
Virginia Beach, Va., and is expected
to be completed by May 2018.
John Greene is president of the L- 3
Marine Services sector, which consists of L- 3 Unidyne and PacOrd.
U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air Cushions assigned to Naval Beach Unit 7 land on
Dogu Beach, Pohang, South Korea, on March 17 during Exercise Ssang Yong 16.