A brand new amphibious landing craft prototype got a test from U.S. Marines at the ongoing Rim of the Pacific 2014 exercises (RIMPAC).
The Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC) is expected to be able to carry massive amounts of equipment from “ship to shore” through various terrains in a short amount of time, according to the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI).
A full-sized UHAC is projected to be 84 feet long and up to 34 feet high. It will also be capable of doing 20 knots at sea with a range of 200 miles. It will be capable of carrying up to three M1A1 Abrams tanks, or 190 tons of cargo.
“[UHAC] is a collaborative effort between the U.S. and the nation of Singapore to look at future connector capabilities ship to shore,” Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea, MCWL commander, told USNI. “The demonstration is mostly to look at how we can get a lot of equipment and get it from the ship to the shore quickly, but also get it over difficult terrain.”
UHAC is capable of not only hitting the beach, but maneuvering inland across difficult terrain. Key to the UHAC are the non-absorbent foam treads that act as paddles in the water and tracks on land. The captive air cells provide buoyancy and spread the weight of the vehicle out to one pound per square foot of foam, enabling it to cross difficult coastal terrain such as tidal flats and swamp. Impressions on the ground left by the 38-ton UHAC concept demonstrator were noticeably light.
Killea told USNI that the UHAC is designed for “secured” shores.