Landing Craft Utility
The Landing Craft Utility (LCU) is a type of boat used by amphibious forces to transport equipment and troops to the shore. They are capable of transporting tracked or wheeled vehicles and troops from amphibious assault ships to beachheads or piers.
The Engin de débarquement amphibie rapide (EDA-R) landing catamaran or L-CAT, entered service in January 2011. They can carry a main battle tank like other European LCUs, but are capable of much higher speeds, up to 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph).
Only two Barbe class utility landing craft (Type 520), dating from the mid-1960s, remain in service with SEK-M Naval Special Forces command, but Germany is looking to buy more. Five Barbe were transferred to Greece at the end of the Cold War.
|Name:||LCU Mk.II (NL) class|
|Operators:||Royal Netherlands Navy, Netherlands Marine Corps|
|Type:||Ro-Ro landing craft|
|Displacement:||255 tonnes (251 long tons)|
|Length:||36.3 m (119 ft 1 in)|
|Beam:||6.85 m (22 ft 6 in)|
|Draft:||.85 m (2 ft 9 in) forward, full load
1.4 m (4 ft 7 in) aft, full load
|Capacity:||65 tonnes (64 long tons)|
|Armament:||2 × Browning .50 calibre (12.7 mm) machine guns|
With the launch of the amphibious transport ship HNLMS Rotterdam in 1998 there was a need for LCUs. The Dutch LCUs are similar to the British LCU Mk.10 with the bridge being set to one side allowing for a roll-on roll-off design. Until 2005 the Netherlands Marine Corps used the LCU Mark I (NL).
In 2005 and 2006 the five vessels were modernized to the type Mark II. The vessels have been stretched by 9 meters to decrease their draft, which increased their load carrying capacity by 20 tons and allows them to come closer to shore. In addition they were fitted with a strengthened bow ramp, and they can now accommodate the Royal Netherlands Army Leopard 2A6 main battle tank. Because of the lengthening of the Mark II, the Rotterdam can only take two LCU (plus three LCVPs) in its dock. The dock of Rotterdam's sister ship, Johan de Witt, has only enough capacity to transport two LCU, but carries four LCVPs in davits.
The first landing crafts used in the Polish Navy were two ex-German landing barges, salvaged in the port of Gdynia. In 1947 they were joined by six LCPL landing craft bought from US Navy's surplus. All were classed as "kuter desantowy" - "landing cutter".
In 1951 Poland, by then firmly under Soviet control, became an integral part of the Eastern Bloc and created its' own marine infantry units, in anticipation of a possible conflict with the West. To that purpose the Flotilla of Landing Units (Polish: Flotylla Środków Desantowych) was created as a marine support for the 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment. The core of its' equipment was composed of 6 ex-German Marinefährprahm "landing ferry" barges, as well as a single ex-Italian Motozattera barge, of identical design. All received designations of BDD-1 through 7, standing for "Landing Barge, Large" (Polish: Barka Desantowa Duża. The navy also took over 11 formerly privately owned ex-American LCT Mark 5 and three LCM Mark 3 landing craft.
By the end of the decade it became apparent that a class of larger vessels was needed. In 1962 the first Polnocny-class landing ship entered service and by the 1970s the new ships replaced all landing barges of World War II vintage origin. Altogether 23 "Type 770", "Type 771", "Type 773" and "Type 776" ships served in the Polish Navy, while remaining 89 vessels were built for other navies of the Warsaw Pact.
In late 1970s works on a new class of landing craft started. The result was the Lublin-class minelayer-landing ship ("Projekt 767"), comprising five vessels: ORP Lublin, ORP Gniezno, ORP Kraków, ORP Poznań and ORP Toruń, the last of which entered service in 1991.
However, after the fall of communism, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the threat of a new European conflict diminished and the Polish Army decided the 7th Lusatian Marine Division was too costly to maintain. It was disbanded in 1991, along with all the Type 770 and Type 771 landing vessels, except for two used for transport duties and the Type 776 ORP Grunwald Command Vessel. Despite the dissolution of marine infantry units, the Polish Navy retains the Lublin-class minelayer-landing ships, as well as the ORP Kontradmirał Xawery Czernicki logistical support ship acquired in 2000.
|Operators:||Royal Navy, Royal Marines|
|Preceded by:||LCU Mk.9|
|Type:||Ro-Ro landing craft|
|Displacement:||236 long tons (240 t)|
|Length:||97 ft 7 in (29.74 m)|
|Beam:||24 ft 3 in (7.39 m)|
|Draught:||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 × diesel engines|
|Speed:||8.5 knots (15.7 km/h; 9.8 mph)|
|Capacity:||1 main battle tank, 4 large vehicles, or 120 troops|
The LCU Mk.9 was built for use on the LPDs Fearless and Intrepid where they were operated from the dock in the rear of the ships. Each ship carried four LCUs and four davit mounted LCVPs. The Mk.9 was to see many changes and upgrades during its service including a move from propeller to jet in many cases. The Mk.9 was capable of traveling as an ocean-going vessel and a number would be converted into a version, affectionately known as the "Black Pig", for use in Norway. The crew had full living quarters aboard with galley and heads. The opinion that the successful British amphibious operations during the Falklands War were only possible because of the two LPDs and their landing craft is well documented. The Mk.9, like the LPDs, served longer than ever anticipated, providing the backbone of Britain's amphibious assault capabilities.
The LCU Mk.10 class vessels are operated by the Royal Marines. They are intended for use on board the new assault ships Albion and Bulwark and can use the Bay class landing ships. Deliveries of the class started from 1998 and the fleet currently consists of ten vessels, bearing pennant numbers 1001 to 1010. Both Albion and Bulwark are capable of carrying 4 LCU's. These vessels are capable of operating independently for up to 14 days with a range of 600 nautical miles. They are capable of operating world-wide, from Arctic operating areas to tropical operating areas. The Mk.10 differs greatly from the Mk.9 with the bridge being set to the side allowing for a roll-on roll-off design. This greatly increases efficiency over the old Mk.9 as loading of the rear LCUs can take place without the LCUs being launched, the LPD having to dock down to do so, to change over and load up, which was a problem prior to the Falklands landings. The LCU Mk.10 has a 7 man crew and can carry up to 120 Marines or alternatively 1 battle tank or 4 lorries. British assault ships also carry smaller LCVPs on davits to transport troops and light vehicles.
LCU 1610, 1627 and 1646
|Name:||LCU 1610, 1627 and 1646 classes|
|Operators:||United States Navy|
|Displacement:||200 long tons (203 t) light
375 long tons (381 t) full load
|Length:||134 ft 11 in (41.12 m)|
|Beam:||29 ft (8.8 m)|
|Draft:||3 ft 6 in (1.07 m) forward, full load
6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) aft, full load
|Propulsion:||2 × Detroit 12V-71 diesel engines
2 × shafts
680 hp (507 kW) sustained
|Speed:||12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
|Range:||1,200 nmi (2,200 km) at 8 kn (15 km/h)|
|Capacity:||125 tons of cargo, trucks, tanks, 350 troops or 400 passengers|
|LN 66 or SPS-53 I band navigation radar|
|Armament:||2 × 12.7 mm machine guns|
The LCU 1610, 1627 and 1646 class vessels are operated by the United States Navy. They are a self-sustaining craft complete with living accommodations and messing facilities for a crew of thirteen. They have been adapted for many uses including salvage operations, ferry boats for vehicles and passengers, and underwater test platforms. Each LCU is assigned a non-commissioned-officer-in-charge (NCOIC) (Craft Master) who is either a Chief Petty Officer or Petty Officer First Class in the Boatswain’s Mate, Quartermaster or Operations Specialist rating. These vessels have bow ramps for onload/offload, and can be linked bow to stern gate to create a temporary pier-like structure. Its welded steel hull provides high durability with deck loads of 800 pounds per square foot. Arrangement of machinery and equipment has taken into account built-in redundancy in the event of battle damage. The craft features two engine rooms separated by a watertight bulkhead to permit limited operation in the event that one engine room is disabled. An anchor system is installed on the starboard side aft to assist in retracting from the beach. These vessels are normally transported to their areas of operation onboard larger amphibious vessels such as LHDs and LHAs. The 40-year-old craft will be replaced under the Surface Connector (X) Recapitalization, or SC(X)R, project starting in FY2017.
|Name:||LCU 2000 class|
|Operators:||United States Army|
|Displacement:||575 long tons (584 t) light
1,087 long tons (1,104 t) full load
|Length:||174 ft (53 m)|
|Beam:||42 ft (13 m)|
|Draft:||9 ft (2.7 m) light
8 ft (2.4 m) loaded
4 ft (1.2 m) beaching draft at the bow
|Range:||10,000 nmi (19,000 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h) light
6,500 nmi (12,000 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h) loaded
|Capacity:||350 short tons (318 t) (15 C-141 loads)
3 × M1 main battle tanks or 12 × (24 double-stacked) 20-foot (6 m) ISO containers
The Runnymede class large landing craft or LCU 2000 class vessels are operated by the United States Army. They transport rolling and tracked vehicles, containers, and outsized and general cargo from ships offshore to shore, as well as to areas that cannot be reached by oceangoing vessels (coastal, harbor, and intercoastal waterways). It can be self-deployed or transported aboard a float-on/float-off vessel. It is classed for full ocean service and one-man engine room operations and is built to U.S. Coast Guard standards. The vessel can sustain a crew of 2 warrant officers and 11 enlisted personnel for up to 18 days, and 10,000 miles. This class is also equipped with an aft anchor to assist in retracting from the beach.
Cap'n Fatso is the second book in a series of three by Daniel V. Gallery that feature Boatswains Mate First Class John "Fatso" Gioninni. Fatso is the commander of an LCU that, while on a special supply errand for his LSD's captain, is left behind in the Mediterranean Sea when the whole Sixth Fleet unexpectedly leaves for Vietnam. Through a series of accidents and misunderstandings Fatso and his crew are left without orders or attachment to any fleet and decide to "search the Mediterranean Sea for the Sixth Fleet". Hilarity ensues when they play practical jokes on the Russian fleet and make an "official" visit to Israel during the Six-Day War.
- The Royal Navy Handbook, page 106
- Scott, Richard (28 January 2013). "US scopes objectives for new surface connector workhorse". Jane's Navy International.
- Marge Holtz, Lisa Gates (October 29, 1998). "Creative thinking offers stowage solution". Military Sealift Command. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
- Cap'n Fatso (Norton, 1969)
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