Landing Craft Utility (LCU)
The LCU 2000 moves containers/general/ vehicular cargo. This includes missions in LOTS operations in remote areas with austere shore facilities or unimproved beaches. The LCU 2000 is also suitable for the intratheater movement of cargo and unit equipment along coastlines or inland waterways. It is used for unit deployment and relocation.
It has a bow ramp for Roll-on/Roll-off cargo, and a bow thruster to assist in beaching and beach extraction. Because of its shallow draft, the LCU 2000 can carry cargo from deep draft ships to shore ports or areas too shallow for larger ships. The LCU-2000 provides worldwide transport of combat vehicles and sustainment cargo, as well as intratheater movement and can execute cargo operations along coastal MSRs. It is capable of receiving cargo from a ship anchored in the stream and transporting that cargo to shore for discharge over the bow ramp. Because of its shallow draft, the LCU can carry cargo from deep drafted ships to shore ports or areas too shallow for larger ships.
The LCU 2000 transports rolling and tracked vehicles, containers, and outsized and general cargo from ships offshore to shore (LOTS), as well as to areas that cannot be reached by oceangoing vessels (coastal, harbor, and IWWs). It can be self-deployed or transported aboard a FLOFLO vessel. It is classed by the ABS for full ocean service and one-man engine room operations and is built to USCG standards. The LCU 2000 succeeds the 1646 Class LCU and replaces the 1466 Class in both the Army's Active and Reserve inventories. The Army had 35 LCU 2000s.
The Product Manager, Army Watercraft Systems (PM AWS) intends to pursue modification programs to upgrade the C4ISR/CEN systems on fielded watercraft systems. The current US Army Watercraft C4ISR/CEN equipment is outdated, unsupportable, and not designed for easy integration of new capability/technology. It is the Army s intention to transform the current outdated capability by taking advantage of the advancements in technology in communications and navigation equipment. Further, the Army will no longer depend on paper charts or be satisfied with limited range of communication.
The Army must be able to communicate between U.S. joint services, Coalition forces, and civilian and host nation ships; as well as from ship to shore, vehicle to vessel and from one continent to another worldwide. By taking advantage of current navigation technologies the vessel operators will gain the use of more advanced equipment allowing for improved satellite coverage, identification of friend or foe (IFF) systems, and digital charting which enhances the operator's navigation capabilities.
The current priority within the Army's fleet of watercraft is the Landing Craft, Utility boat, LCU-2000. This vessel was fielded 12 to 15 years ago [ie, 1990-1993]. Thirty-one (31) vessels require upgrading. The communication suites are not equipped to operate in a joint military environment. The majority of the present LCU-2000 equipment is Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS). Due to age of these systems and advances in technology they are logistically unsupportable. Additionally, the majority of fleet does not comply with many of the current United States Coast Guard (USCG) regulations, International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations, and Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations and/or the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
In June 2005 the Army completed development of a prototype Navigation and Communication (C4I/CEN) suite for the LCU 2000 class of vessels. This effort is being documented in the form of a Modification Work Order (MWO), which was expected to be complete in August 2005. The prototype suite will establish the configuration and identify the types of equipment to be incorporated by name, model number, and quantity. Drawings, Technical Manuals, and Training Material being developed along with the MWO to support the vessels and the C4I/CEN operations will be validated and verified against upon completion of the fleet installation/upgrade process. When finalized, the MWO will be used to develop a Scope of Work to support awarding a contracting effort to upgrade C4ISR/CEN equipment on the LCU fleet. The contract is anticipated to include procurement and installation of the suite on the LCU fleet.
PM AWS is actively seeking program funds to modify all 31 vessels. Funding will likely be spread over more than one fiscal year, and may never be adequate to modify the entire fleet. PM AWS hoped to secure a portion of the necessary funding as early as FY06, however, no funding presently exists in the budget for this effort.
The U.S. Army's LCU-2000s are positioned in at least four (4) different locations worldwide. The locations are Kuwait; Japan; Ft. Eustis, VA; and Mare Island, CA. Kuwait is considered a war zone. Depending on the amount and timing/availability of funding allocated for this effort work could be required to be simultaneously executed at multiple locations, on multiple vessels. The present location of LCU-2000 vessels is subject to change and therefore exact quantities of vessels at each location will not be provided with this request for information.