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Rolls-Royce to power SSC hovercraft

Written by Nick Blenkey

SSC-L340x255OCTOBER 22, 2012 — Rolls-Royce has won a contract to power the U.S. Navy’s future fleet of Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC) hovercraft.

Rolls-Royce will work with Textron Marine & Land Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. company, which has been selected to build the initial development craft, in a program that could extend to 73 craft (see earlier story).

The SSC will replace the Navy’s current fleet of Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) hovercraft over the next 20 years. The new hovercraft will be used to rapidly deploy personnel and vehicles between U.S. Navy ships and the shore.

Each SSC will use multiple Rolls-Royce MT7 gas turbines, derived from the AE1107 engine, which powers the U.S. Marine Corps’ V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

Andrew Marsh, Rolls-Royce, President – Naval said: “This is an exciting and significant project for Rolls-Royce to be involved with. Our gas turbine technology will increase the power of the hovercraft by 25 per cent, compared to the previous generation, enabling each craft to transport up to 74 tons of cargo at speeds over 35 knots. At the same time our engines will improve fuel efficiency by 11 per cent. We look forward to working with Textron and the Navy during the development and entry into service of these highly versatile craft.”

On each hovercraft, the MT7 gas turbines will be connected to a sophisticated gearbox system providing both propulsion and lift. Rolls-Royce will also design and manufacture the air intake and exhaust systems.

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