Technology for Ship to Shore Connector Concepts with Combined High Speed and Payload Fraction
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-075
ONR - Ms. Lore-Anne Ponirakis -
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-075 TITLE: Technology for Ship to Shore Connector Concepts with Combined High Speed and Payload Fraction

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Ground/Sea Vehicles

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PEO Land Systems, Amphibious Combat Vehicle Program

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Determine technologies applicable for ship to shore surface connectors including hydrodynamic, propulsive, or structural concepts that result in vehicles with high speed (>20 knots), cargo capacity (75 tons or greater), while compatible with the constraints of operating from the well deck of an amphibious ship.

DESCRIPTION: Develop concepts based on innovative technology for a surface connector craft to transport equipment, material and personnel from a host vessel constituting a Sea Base which may be from 65 nautical miles (nm) to 200 nm offshore from the beach. The connector will need to operate and transit in sea conditions up through the top end of NATO Sea State 3 (Objective SS4). The Sea Base may be an amphibious ship equipped with a well deck capable of dry or flooded operation. The connector must be compatible with operating from a well deck, including refueling, allowing for scenarios when no fueling ashore or en route is anticipated. The objective is to carry a full payload on each leg of the round trip to address the need for retrograde transport from the beach to the Sea Base. The connector will require some amphibious capability ranging from the ability to cross sandbars, shoals, and mud flats to the ability to deliver its cargo ashore above the high water level. The payload for delivery by the connector to the beach should be at minimum 75 long tons (LT) with an objective of 210 LT. Since the distances are much greater than typical for current well deck connector transits, increased speed in excess of 20 nautical miles per hour (knots) is of great interest. Concepts for, or technologies that would enable, well deck transported connectors to achieve, or approach, this speed, while carrying the full payload, are of interest and higher speeds are desired if possible to reduce the transit/sortie times. The connector should be capable of embarking and launching amphibious vehicles such as the Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV-7) in stream (at-sea) so they can swim ashore or to a well deck ship if operations dictate.

The movement of amphibious combat vehicles, tanks, and other equipment, material, and personnel ashore from greater standoff distance from the shore requires surface connectors with a combination of range, speed, and payload that is not available in the fleet today. Current well deck surface connectors include the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) which is fully-amphibious, can operate at high speeds and carry the threshold payload, but has limited range when carrying a full payload in the higher range of allowable sea states; and the Landing Craft Utility (LCU 1600) cannot cross very shallow waters (over sand bars, shoals, mud flats, etc.) but has greater payload capacity and range, albeit at speeds below the desired capability. Another developmental well deck capable surface connector is the Ultra-Heavylift Amphibious Connector (UHAC), which has been demonstrated at roughly ˝ scale. At full-scale, it has the potential to achieve the 20 knot target speed with the objective payload over a distance of about 100 nm. Other landing craft concepts that have been attempted and may provide a source of ideas are the Power Augmented Ram Landing Craft (PARLC) and the Russian Navy’s Dyugon-class. Each of these well deck transported surface connectors meets some aspects of the desired capability, but no one connector meets all of the desired capabilities of speed, payload, and range. This topic is seeking technologies that may enable any of these connectors to meet all three objectives as well as entirely new connector concepts that offer breakthrough performance.

PHASE I: Develop a conceptual design for a surface connector that is compatible with amphibious ship well deck constraints, or identify and assess the feasibility for new enabling technology of existing surface connector platforms. The deliverable for Phase I should clearly describe the concept or technology, address the impact of the concept or enabling technology on mission capability and affordability, and include by analysis, and/or existing test results, support for claims of performance improvements and capabilities. Life cycle cost is critical to the fielding of any concepts/technologies and should be considered.

PHASE II: Through modeling and simulation, physical scale-modeling, or a combination of both, the small business will validate the performance claims made in Phase I for any design concept or technology. As appropriate, the small business will develop an analytical model of the full-scale concept, a sub-scale physical model, or a component-level demonstration of the enabling technology to assess feasibility. Design drawings or a technical data package will be produced to facilitate commercialization.

PHASE III: Existing platforms will be utilized as a test bed to demonstrate the capability for achieving the speed/payload/range objectives and the well deck and amphibious capabilities, at an appropriate scale and level of fidelity.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Access to austere coastlines while carrying large payloads would be attractive to commercial ventures involved in exploration for, or production, of oil, gas, or mineral resources. Another application may be in humanitarian assistance/disaster relief missions into areas where the normal port access may have been degraded or destroyed.

1. Bridging Our Surface-Connector Gap, General James F. Amos, USMC, Proceedings Magazine, Vol. 140/6/1,336, U.S. Naval Institute, June 2014,

2. Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC), FAS Military Analysis Network, Updated Monday, February 14, 2000,

3. Landing Craft, Mechanized and Utility - LCM/LCU, Navy Fact File, 15 November 2013,

4. Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC): Marines test new beach assault vehicle, The CNN Wire, July 16, 2014,

5. Power Augmented Ram Landing Craft (PARLC), Stargazer,

6. Russian Navy Landing Craft Under Construction with Air Cavity Hull Design, George Backwell, Marine Propulsion, January 21, 2012,

KEYWORDS: Surface connector; well deck; amphibious; high speed; range; payload; landing craft

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