Friday, January 16, 2015

Could Catamaran Replace Army Landing Craft?

Could Catamaran Replace Army Landing Craft?: The venerable LCM-8 "Mike" boat is well known to military harbormasters and US Army logistics teams. Chugging at a sedate 12 knots with no load — 8 knots or less when fully loaded — the craft with bow ramps can drop right onto a beach and perform a myriad of unglamorous but necessary tasks.

But the Army's Mikes, which are from the late 1950s and 1960s, are worn out and in need of replacement. And one of the contenders is the L-Cat, a French-designed, multipurpose craft that can zip across the water at 30 knots — almost unheard of for a landing craft.

The L-Cat gets it speed from an unusual configuration. It's essentially a twin-hulled landing craft with a vehicle deck in the middle that can be lowered to the water's edge for direct access onto shore, then raised to turn the vessel into a high-speed catamaran.