Landing Craft Utility

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Dutch and American LCUs in Curacao, June 2006.

A 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.

Colombia[edit]

Class overview
NameGolfo de Tribugá class
BuildersCOTECMAR
Operators Colombian National Navy
 Guatemalan Navy
 Honduran Navy
Preceded byLCU-1466-class landing ship utility
In service2014–present
In commission2014–present
Completed8
Active8
General characteristics
TypeLanding Craft Utility
Displacement574.6 t (565.5 long tons)
Length49.0 m (160.8 ft)
Beam11.0 m (36.1 ft)
Draught1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)
Propulsion2 × Caterpillar C18 diesel motors, 412 kW (553 shp)
Speed8.5 knots (15.7 km/h; 9.8 mph)
Range
  • 1,500 nmi (2,800 km) at 8.5 kn (15.7 km/h)
  • 2,500 nmi (4,600 km) at 6 kn (11 km/h)
Endurance
  • 20 days with 51 crew.
  • 40 days with 15 crew.
Capacity120 t (130 short tons)
Troops36
Complement15 (3 officers)

The Golfo de Tribugá-class landing craft is an LCU developed by COTECMAR for the Colombian National Navy. The vessel class is also known as BDA (Spanish: Buque de Desembarco Anfibio) and an unarmored version for logistical and humanitarian services has also been developed, known as BALC (Spanish: Buque de Apoyo Logístico y Cabotaje).[1]

Operators[edit]

France[edit]

One EDA-R, Bold Alligator 2012.

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).

Germany[edit]

MZL auf Abwegen.jpg
Stör
Class overview
Operators
In service1965–
Completed22
Active2
Laid up3
General characteristics
TypeLanding craft
Displacement430 tonnes (420 long tons) (full load)
Length40 m (131 ft 3 in)
Beam8.8 m (28 ft 10 in)
Draft2.1 m (6 ft 11 in)
Propulsion750 kW (1,010 hp)
Speed11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)
CapacityUp to 150 tonnes (150 long tons)
Complement17
Armament

Germany has two Barbe-class utility landing craft (Type 520), dating from the mid-1960s, which remain in service under the SEK-M Naval Special Forces' command. Five Barbe landing crafts were transferred to Greece at the end of the Cold War.

India[edit]

Mk. IV LCU L51 at sea (cropped).jpg
MK.IV LCU (L51) at sea.
Class overview
NameLCU MK IV class
BuildersGRSE
Operators Indian Navy
Preceded byMk. III LCU
Cost2,100 crore (equivalent to 37 billion or US$480 million in 2020)
Built2011-20
Planned8
Completed8
Active8
General characteristics
TypeLanding craft utility
Displacement
  • 830 t (910 tons) standard[5]
  • 1,001 t (1,103 tons) full load[4]
Length62.8 m (206 ft)[4]
Beam11 m (36 ft)
Draught2.2 m (7 ft 3 in)
Installed power1,840 kW (2,470 hp) each[6]
Propulsion
  • 2 × MTU 16V 4000 M53 diesel engines[4]
  • Fixed-pitch propellers
Speed15 kn (28 km/h)[4]
Range1,500 nmi (2,800 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h)[4]
Troops160[5]
Complement56[6]
Sensors and
processing systems
  • SATCOM - LINK II Mod 1 tactical datalink
  • Sanket S passive electronic warfare system
  • ELK 7036 communications intelligence (COMINT) system
  • MiniPOP surveillance system[4]
Armament

India currently has 3 Kumbhir class LCU and 8 Mk IV class LCU. Last MK IV class of LCU was delivered by GRSE on Dec 31,2020.

Netherlands[edit]

NL LCU MK2
Class overview
NameLCU Mk.II (NL) class
Operators Royal Netherlands Navy, Netherlands Marine Corps
Active5
General characteristics
TypeRo-Ro landing craft
Displacement255 tonnes (251 long tons)
Length36.3 m (119 ft 1 in)
Beam6.85 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
Capacity65 tonnes (64 long tons)
Complement7
Armament2 × 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 2 A6 main battle tank. Because of the lengthening of the Mark II, the Rotterdam can take two LCUs (plus three LCVPs) in its dock. The dock of Rotterdam's sister ship, HNLMS Johan de Witt, has the capacity to transport two LCUs, but carries four LCVPs in davits.

Russia[edit]

Dyugon[edit]

Dyugon-class landing craft
Class overview
NameDyugon-class landing craft
Operators Russian Navy
Completed5
Active5
General characteristics [8]
Displacement280 tonnes (276 long tons)
Length45 m (148 ft)
Beam8.6 m (28 ft)
Height5.1 m (17 ft)
Draft1.9 m (6.2 ft)
PropulsionTwo M507A-2D diesel engines with 9000 hp each
Speed35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph)
Range500 nmi (930 km)
Capacity
Complement7
Armament2 KPV 14.5 mm machine guns

The Dyugon-class landing craft are operated by the Russian Navy

Sweden[edit]

NL LCU MK2
Class overview
NameSwedish: Lätt trossbåt
BuildersDjupviks varv
Operators Swedish Navy  United Arab Emirates Navy
Built1995-
Active16
General characteristics
TypeFast landing craft
Displacement65 tonnes (64 long tons)
Length24.6 m (80 ft 9 in)
Beam5.4 m (17 ft 9 in)
Draft1.1 m (3 ft 7 in)
Propulsion3 x Scania V8 Water jet (3 x 675 hp)
Speed25 knots
Troops18
Armament1 × 12.7 mm machine gun Mines and depth charges

Sweden operates 16 small and fast (25 kt) water jet landing craft (Swedish: Lätt trossbåt) with a displacement of 65 tonnes. They are armed with one 12.7 mm machine gun but can also lay out mines and is equipped with armour for anti submarine warfare. The vessel type has been exported to the United Arab Emirates.

In addition, HSwMS Loke (A344) is a larger vessel with a displacement of 305 tonnes, capable of carrying 150 tonnes. The ship has a crew of 7 and is armed with two 7.62 mm machine guns.

Spain[edit]

LCM-1E L602.jpg
L-602
Class overview
NameLCM-1E
BuildersNavantia
Operators
Preceded byLCM-8
Planned30
Completed26
Active24
Retired2
General characteristics
TypeRoll-on/roll-off landing craft mechanised
Displacement
  • 56.6 tonnes (55.7 long tons) light
  • 110 tonnes (110 long tons; 120 short tons) loaded
Length23.3 metres (76 ft)
Beam6.4 metres (21 ft)
Draught1 metre (3 ft 3 in) loaded
RampsBow ramp and stern gate
Propulsion
  • 2 × MAN D-2842 LE 402X diesel engines (809 kW each)
  • 2 × waterjets
Speed
  • 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph) light
  • 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h; 15.5 mph) loaded
Range190 nautical miles (350 km; 220 mi) at economic speed
Capacity
  • 1 × main battle tank, or
  • 1 × self-propelled howitzer plus resupply vehicle, or
  • 2 × MOWAG Piranha, or
  • 6 × light tactical vehicles, or
  • 170 personnel with equipment
Complement4

The Armada has 26 LCM-1E in service since 2001 and has been exported to Australia and Turkey.

United Kingdom[edit]

LCU Mk.10
LCU Mk.9 (now retired)
Class overview
NameLanding Craft Utility
Operators Royal Navy, Royal Marines
SubclassesLCU Mk.9 and LCU Mk.10
Active10 LCU Mk.10s
RetiredLCU Mk.9s
General characteristics LCU Mk.10[9]
Displacement240 t (240 long tons)
Length97 ft 10 in (29.82 m)
Beam25 ft 3 in (7.70 m)
Draught4 ft 11 in (1.50 m)
Propulsion2 × MAN D2840 LE diesel engines (400 kW / 2150 r.p.m. each)
Speed10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Range600 nautical miles (1,100 km)
Capacity1 main battle tank, 4 large vehicles, or 120 troops

LCU Mk.9[edit]

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.[10] 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.[citation needed] In the Falklands War during the Bluff Cove Air Attacks LCU F4 from Fearless was bombed and sunk in Choiseul Sound by an Argentine Air Force A-4B Skyhawk of Grupo 5.[11] The Mk.9, like the LPDs, served longer than ever anticipated, providing the backbone of Britain's amphibious assault capabilities.

Three Mk.9s, pennant numbers 701, 705, and 709, remained in service by 2012.[10][12] However, by 2014, they had all been withdrawn from service.[13]

LCU Mk.10[edit]

The LCU Mk.10 class vessels are operated by the Royal Marines. They are intended for use on board the assault ships Albion and Bulwark and can also be used by 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 four LCUs each. These vessels are capable of operating independently for up to 14 days with a range of 600 nautical miles. They are capable of operating worldwide, 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.

All ten Mk.10s, pennant numbers 1001 to 1010, remain in service as of 2012.[12]

United States[edit]

LCU 1466, 1610 and 1627 classes[edit]

LCU-1627 class
LCU-1627
Class overview
NameLCU 1466, 1610 and 1627 classes
Operators United States Navy
Active32[14]
General characteristics
Displacementsee table
Lengthsee table
Beamsee table
Draftsee table
Propulsionsee table
Speedsee table
Rangesee table
Endurance10 days[14]
Capacitysee table
Troopssee table
Sensors and
processing systems
LN 66 or SPS-53 I band navigation radar
Armament2 × Browning .50 caliber machine guns

The LCU 1466, 1610 and 1627 class vessels are operated by the United States Navy at support commands.[15][16] They are a self-sustaining craft complete with living accommodations and mess facilities for a crew of thirteen.[14] 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 3,900 kg/m2 (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 LSDs, LHDs and LHAs. The 40-year-old craft will be replaced under LCU 1700[17] (ex-Surface Connector (X) Recapitalization, or SC(X)R), project starting in FY2017.[14]

[15][16][18] LCU 1466 LCU 1610 LCU 1627
Displacement – light 180 long tons (183 t) 172 long tons (175 t) 200 long tons (203 t)
Displacement – full n/a 353 long tons (359 t) 386 long tons (392 t)
Length overall 115 ft 1 in (35.08 m) 134 ft 9 in (41.07 m) 134 ft 9 in (41.07 m)
Beam 34 ft 0 in (10.36 m) 29 ft 10 in (9.09 m) 29 ft 10 in (9.09 m)
Draft – full load, forward 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 4 ft 10 in (1.47 m) 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Draft – full load, aft 2 ft 9 in (0.84 m) 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m) 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m)
Power – sustained 675 hp (503 kW) 1,000 hp (746 kW) 680 hp (507 kW)
Propulsion 3 x Gray Marine diesel engines 2 x Detroit 12V-71 diesel engines 4 x Detroit diesel engines
Shafts 3 2 2
Speed 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph) 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph)
Range 1,200 nmi (2,200 km) at 6 kn (11 km/h) 1,200 nmi (2,200 km) at 8 kn (15 km/h) 1,200 nmi (2,200 km) at 6 kn (11 km/h)
Complement 14 14 12–14
Capacity – troops 300 400 350
Capacity – cargo 167 long tons (170 t) 180 long tons (183 t) 125 long tons (127 t)

LCU 2000[edit]

LCU-2000 class
Class overview
NameRunnymede-class large landing craft
Operators United States Army
General characteristics
Displacement
  • 575 long tons (584 t) light
  • 1,087 long tons (1,104 t) full load
Length174 ft (53 m)
Beam42 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
Speed11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph)
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
Complement13

The Runnymede-class large landing craft or LCU 2000 class vessels are operated by the United States Army.[19][20] 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.

LCU 2008 being loaded as deck cargo on a chartered vessel.

LCU Class 1700[edit]

The LCU 1700-class boats are destined to replace the existing LCU 1610-class of amphibious landing craft on a one-to-one basis. The LCU-1700 is 139 feet long, can reach speeds of 11 knots, has a range of 1,200 nautical miles at 8 knots, and has accommodations for a mixed gender crew of 14. It can carry two M1A1 tanks, or 350 combat troops, or 170 short tons of cargo.[21] The contract announcement noted that the LCU 1700s will recapitalize the LCU fleet as a similarly rugged steel craft (to the LCU 1610) with a design life of 30 years.[22] The similarities of these two classes of ships will help the US Navy to improve efficiency and reduce cost of the training programs, operations and overall ownership cost. The craft will enter, exit and be transported in well decks of current and programmed U.S. Navy amphibious warfare ships, for design purposes defined by the dimensions of LHD, LPD, LSD and LHA classes without ship alterations, while transporting loads up to 11 feet high above the craft’s vehicle deck.[23] The contract was awarded to Swiftships in 2018, to design and build the prototype and up to 32 vessels. Work is being performed in Morgan City, Louisiana, and is expected to be completed by November 2023.[24][25]

In literature[edit]

Cap'n Fatso is the second book in a series of three by Daniel V. Gallery that feature Boatswain's 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.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Productos Cotecmar | COTECMAR".
  2. ^ "Presidente recibe buque BL-1601 Quetzal" (Press release) (in Spanish). Diario de Centro América. 13 November 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Colombia entrega a Honduras buque elaborado por Cotecmar" (Press release) (in Spanish). COTECMAR. 7 November 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Mazumdar, Mrityunjoy (5 October 2016). "Indian Navy receives first of new class of Mk IV LCUs". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Jane's Information Group. Archived from the original on 7 October 2016.
  5. ^ a b Dominguez, Gabriel (31 May 2018). "Indian Navy commissions fourth Mk IV landing craft". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Jane's Information Group. Archived from the original on 31 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b Rahmat, Ridzwan (13 March 2016). "GRSE launches Indian Navy's sixth Mk IV LCU". IHS Jane's Navy International. Jane's Information Group. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Commissioning of INLCU L51 by Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, AVSM Commander-in-Chief Andaman And Nicobar Command" (Press release). Press Information Bureau. 28 March 2017.
  8. ^ Десантный катер проекта 21820 «Дюгонь» «Армейский вестник». Retrieved 23 November 2021
  9. ^ "Landing Craft LCU MK 10" (PDF). Schottel.de. Retrieved 2015-07-18.
  10. ^ a b The Royal Navy Handbook, page 106
  11. ^ "British Ships sunk and damaged - Falklands War 1982". www.naval-history.net.
  12. ^ a b "The Military Balance 2012", International Institute for Strategic Studies, pp. 170–171
  13. ^ Bush, Steve (2014). British Warships and Auxiliaries. Maritime Books. pp. 35–39. ISBN 978-1904459552.
  14. ^ a b c d Scott, Richard (28 January 2013). "US scopes objectives for new surface connector workhorse". Jane's Navy International.
  15. ^ a b Friedman, Norman (2002). U.S. Amphibious Ships and Craft: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press. p. 390. ISBN 1557502501.
  16. ^ a b "Landing Craft Utility (LCU)". NavSource Photo Archives. NavSource Naval History. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Navy Orders Four New LCU 1700 Utility Landing Craft from Swiftships". 3 April 2020.
  18. ^ Petty, Dan. "The US Navy -- Fact File: Landing Craft, Mechanized and Utility - LCM/LCU". www.navy.mil.
  19. ^ Marge Holtz, Lisa Gates (October 29, 1998). "Creative thinking offers stowage solution". Military Sealift Command. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  20. ^ Spc. Morrene E. Randell (5 September 2007). "Army Boat Supports Dive Teams Trying to Raise Russian Sub". army.mil.
  21. ^ "LCU".
  22. ^ "Navy awards". Defensedaily. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  23. ^ "US Navy awards Swiftships". Militaryleak. 9 May 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  24. ^ "US Navy orders". debrief. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  25. ^ "Swiftships to deliver". Naval News. NavalNews. 6 February 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  26. ^ Cap'n Fatso (Norton, 1969)

External links[edit]