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While hover crafts still give a pretty cool demo after all these years, the U.S. Marine Corps is considering replacing its 20-year-old fleet of Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC) vehicles with a beast of a new tracked ship.
Dubbed the Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC), this new assault vehicle is still in development and a half-scale model began testing back in the Spring, according to a report from the Marine Corps Times. The latest test on July 9 in Hawaii was captured in the video below and even at half-scale is huge, standing 17 feet high, 42 feet long and 26 feet wide.
The big advantages to the UHAC over the LCAC are its longer 200-nautical-mile range, larger payload and the fact that it doesn’t have to turn around once it reaches the shore.
The UHAC has a deck area of 2,500 square feet compared to the LCAC’s 1,800. And the UHAC can carry more than three times the payload: 190 tons with an overload payload compared to the LCAC’s 65. That means the UHAC could transport three battle tanks from ship to shore.
The UHAC’s special tracks are what allow it to drive atop both land and water. The tracks are made of foam and contain low-pressure captive air cells allowing it to easily cross mud flats, tidal marsh areas and 10-foot sea walls. UHAC’s only downside so far is that it travels in water at half the speed of the LCAC at 20 knots.
And while this technology offers obvious military advantages it could also be useful in construction and excavating. While amphibious excavators already exist, these tracks would offer the advantage of allowing the machine to float on top of the water rather than in it.