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Marines Test the Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector – UHAC

That ugly duckling coming out the water here is just a ½ scale model of a developmental landing craft with the potential to revolutionize disaster relief as well as military ship-to-shore operations. If successful, this new vehicle could allow civilian ships to deliver up to 190 tons of emergency supplies to a disaster zone without requiring a deep-water harbor or cranes, thus freeing up military resources for more critical missions. In a wartime situation though, this system shines the brightest and would radically change how the Marines do business.

Technically, the UHAC is a tracked amphibious transporter, much like the Marine’s current AAV 7, but with a twist. The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory has added a second set of air-filled tracks over the steel ones, earning this experimental vehicle the nickname “combat paddleboat.” The 42’ long and 26’ wide demonstrator in the video paddled from the USS Rushmore (the large vessel in the distance) at 5 knots through the waves. The air-impregnated foam blocks keep the track buoyant, literally letting the vehicle drive across the water.

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On shore, the incredible weight distribution lowered the ground pressure of this 38-ton craft to just 1 PSI, far less than the 9.7 PSI applied by the Marine’s current amphibious assault vehicle. With so little pressure, the UHAC would have no trouble cruising across sand dunes or seawalls up to 10 feet (3 meters) in height. Not to mention easily overcoming swamps, battlefield debris, anti-tank obstacles and even some types of pressure-activated land mines.

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The full-sized production UHAC is planned to be 84’ long and reach water speeds as high as 20 knots. The UHAC is intended to replace the iconic Landing Craft Air Cushion hove

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