Landing Craft Air Cushion is Crucial to Amphibious Operations
Most discussions of future U.S. amphibious warfare capabilities focus on ships, planes, helicopters and vehicles. The Navy is building modern amphibious warships such as the LPD-17 class and planning for the future LX(R). A dramatic improvement in Marine Corps aviation is occurring with the deployment of the first squadrons of the short-takeoff, vertical landing variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The F-35B is being deamericaployed on the Navy’s LHA and LHD amphibious assault ships, which have flight decks. The Marine Corps is investing heavily in its rotary wing fleet with the MV-22 Osprey, AH-1Z Viper, UH-1Y Venom and new CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters. Finally, the Marine Corps’ amphibious combat vehicle program will provide new fighting platforms that will eventually be able to self-deploy from ships at sea to the beach.