Austal USA starts construction on LCU 1710

Written by Marine Log Staff
LCU 1710 event speaker

U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General Karsten S. Heckl, Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration (DC, CD&I), was the key speaker at the start pf construction ceremony.

Austal USA yesterday marked the start of construction on LCU 1710, the first of three U.S. Navy Landing Craft Utility (LCU) vessels in a ceremony held at its Mobile, Ala. shipyard. The LCU is one of three to be built under a $91.5 million contract awarded Austal USA in September 2023.

“The LCU provides strategic value and versatility to the Navy-Marine Corps team,”said U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General Karsten S. Heckl, Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration (DC, CD&I), the key speaker at the ceremony, “These landing craft will significantly enhance our sea-based Marine Air-Ground Task Forces and Marine Expeditionary Units, providing them with unparalleled flexibility, and the capability to maneuver Marines, sailors and equipment in environments unreachable by other means.”

“Austal USA is eager to begin construction on the first of these important connectors for the U.S. Navy,” commented Dave Growden, vice president of new construction programs. “Having General Heckl join the Austal USA team today in honor of this milestone sends a strong message on the critical role this platform plays in supporting expeditionary operations for the Navy and Marine Corps. We are excited to roll these vessels down the assembly line and into the fleet.”

LCUs are carried aboard amphibious assault ships to the objective area and used across a range of military operations to deliver vehicles, personnel and cargo from sea-to-shore and back. These connectors provide a heavy-lift capability and can carry about the same payload capacity as seven C-17 aircraft.

According to NAVSEA, general characteristics of the LCU 1700 class include:

  • Diesel propulsion with Kort nozzles, twin shafts 2×500 hp sustained;
  • Approximately 139 ft. long, beam is approximately 31 ft. wide,
  • Displaces approximately 428 long tons at full load,
  • Speed is 11 knots (12.7 mph/20.3 kph),
  • The range is 1,200 nautical miles at 8 knots,
  • Accommodations for mixed gender crew of 14,
  • Military lift load: M1A1 tanks (2), or 350 combat troops, or 400 persons, or 170 short tons of cargo,
  • Armament mounts for four crew operated weapons.
  • Includes a commercial navigation radar, military communications suite and Amphibious Assault Direction System.

Austal USA’s steel vessel production line has been active since beginning operation two years ago. Steel shipbuilding production is ongoing for two Navy Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ships (T-ATS) and the Navy’s 90,800 square-foot Auxiliary Floating Dry Dock Medium (AFDM). Austal USA also holds multi-ship contracts for the Navy’s TAGOS-25 ocean surveillance ship and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program which is scheduled to start construction this summer.

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