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Artist's conception of a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) operation from the dock landing ship (LSD-41) still under construction

An artist's concept, by J. J. Carr, of a landing craft air cushion (LCAC) landing on a beach. Riding on a cushion of air held beneath its hull by flexible skirts, the LCAC can deliver a 60 to 75-ton payload to a dry landing over most tides, water depths, underwater obstacles and beach gradients. The craft has a range of about 200 miles, and is 88 feet long, 47 feet wide and 23 feet high

A landing craft air cushion (LCAC 001) enters the well deck of the dock landing ship USS PENSACOLA (LSD 38) during the first underway mating of an LCAC and LSD. The LCAC is carrying an M-151 light utility vehicle, an LAV 25 light armored vehicle and an M-60 tank

A stern view of a landing craft air cushion (LCAC 001) in the well deck of the dock landing ship USS PENSACOLA (LSD 38) after completing the first underway mating of an LCAC and an LSD. An M-60 tank is secured in the cargo area of the LCAC

An elevated starboard quarter view of a landing craft air cushion (LCAC 001) in the well deck of the dock landing ship USS PENSACOLA (LSD 38) after completing the first underway mating of an LCAC and an LSD

An elevated starboard quarter view of a landing craft air cushion (LCAC 001) approaching the well deck of the dock landing ship USS PENSACOLA (LSD 38) during the first underway mating of an LCAC and an LSD. The LCAC is carrying an LVTP7 tracked landing vehicle. (Substandard image)

A starboard quarter view of a landing craft air cushion (LCAC 001) entering the well deck of the dock landing ship USS PENSACOLA (LSD 38) during the first underway mating of an LCAC and an LSD. The LCAC is carrying an LVTP 7 tracked personnel landing vehicle

Cranes aboard the vehicle cargo ship USNS ALTAIR (T-AKR 291) lower equipment to an LACV 30 landing craft air cushion during Exercise GALLANT EAGLE 86

An LACV 30 landing craft air cushion transports ground support equipment to shore during Exercise GALLANT EAGLE 86

A starboard quarter view of the vehicle cargo ship USNS ALTAIR (T-AKR 291) during Exercise GALLANT EAGLE 86. An LACV 30 landing craft air cushion vehicle is in the foreground

A crane lifts ground support equipment from an LACV 30 landing craft air cushion onto a beach during Exercise GALLANT EAGLE 86

An LACV 30 landing craft air cushion transports a piece of ground support equipment ashore during Exercise GALLANT EAGLE 86

A starboard view of landing craft, air cushion 12 (LCAC 12) underway. The landing craft is assigned to Assault Craft Unit Four (ACU-4)

Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class (HT3) Dale R. Garren directs a mobile lift as it transports Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC-10) into a hangar. LCAC-10 is assigned to Assault Craft Unit 4 (ACU-4). The location is Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia

Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class (HT3) Dale R. Garren directs a mobile lift into positon to pick up Landing Craft Air-Cushion LCAC-10 craft of Assault Craft Unit 4 (ACU-4) at Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia

Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class (HT3) Dale R. Garren observes as a mobile lift picks up a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC-10) of Assault Craft Unit 4 (ACU 4). The location is Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia

A mobile lift is guided into position to pick up Landing Craft Air-Cushion LCAC-10 craft of Assault Craft Unit 4 (ACU-4) at Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia

Members of Assault Craft Unit 4 (ACU 4) observe as a mobile lift raises Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC-10) off the ground before transporting it to a hangar at Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia

Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class (HT3) Dale R. Garren inspects the propeller of Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC-10) as a mobile lift is moved into position to pick the craft up. LCAC-10 is assigned to Assault Craft Unit 4 (ACU 4). The location is Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia

A mobile lift is guided into position to pick up Landing Craft Air-Cushion LCAC-10 craft of Assault Craft Unit 4 (ACU-4) at Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia

A mobile lift is guided into position to pick up Landing Craft Air-Cushion LCAC-10 craft of Assault Craft Unit 4 (ACU-4) at Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia

A mobile lift is used to transport Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC-10) into a hangar. LCAC is assigned to Assault Craft Unit 4 (ACU-4). The location is Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia

Crewmen wait aboard the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC-13) for Marines and their equipment to return to Breakers Beach following an amphibious warfare demonstration

Marines aboard an M60 main battle tank relax after their vehicle has been secured to the deck of an Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) following an amphibious warfare demonstration at Breakers Beach. The tank has plates of reactive armor bolted to its turret and hull

The Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC-11) speeds toward the beach with a load of Marrine Corps trucks and equipment during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

A member of a beach support team guides the Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-10 inland as it leaves the surf with its load of Marine Corps trucks and equipment during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

A Marine beach support team member stands near the open bow ramp of a Landing Craft Air Cushion during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area. At left is an M998 multipurpose wheeled vehicle

Four Sailors walk across the deck of the Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-11 in the well deck of a 6th Fleet amphibious ship during operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

A crewman performs some maintenance on the starboard propeller shroud vanes of an Landing Craft Air Cushion in the well deck of a 6th Fleet amphibious ship during operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

Carrying a load of Marine Corps trucks and equipment, the Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-11 comes out of the surf and onto the beach during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-11, much of it covered with dust, leaves the beach to return to the amphibious ships offshore during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

Its deck packed with Marine Corps trucks and equipment, a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) moves across a field in a cloud of dust during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

A port view of the Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-11 as it skims along the water during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-11 moves inland at the direction of a flag-waving member of a beach support team during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

Loaded with Marine Corps trucks and equipment, the Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-10 heads for the beach as LCAC-11 speeds back to the amphibious ships offshore. The landing craft are operating with 6th Fleet amphibious forces in the Mediterranean Sea area

Dirt and grass fly as the dust-covered Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-10 starts up its engines in a staging area during 6th Fleet amphibious operations

The Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-11 comes ashore with its load of Marine Corps trucks and equipment during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

A member of a beach support team signals to the crewmen aboard the Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-11 as they prepare to move the craft during the 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC-11) approaches the beach with a load of Marine Corps trucks and equipment during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

Two Marines move quickly past the Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-11 as an M54 five-ton truck approaches during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC-10) heads for the beach with a load of Marine Corps trucks and equipment as LCAC-11 speeds back to the amphibious ships offshore for another load. The landing craft are operating with 6th Fleet amphibious forces in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-10 kicks up a cloud of sand and dust as it comes ashore with a load of Marine Corps equipment and trucks. The landing craft is operating with 6th Fleet amphibious forces in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-10 moves toward the beach through shallow water during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-11 kicks up dust and chunks of dirt as it heads for the water during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

Through a haze of dust, the Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-10 enters the water to return to the amphibious ships offshore during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

A rear view of a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) as it moves across a field during the 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-10 comes through the surf onto the beach during the 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-9 leaves a cloud of spray as it comes ashore through the surf during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-11 whips up a storm of dust as it moves inland during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-9 moves from the beach into the surf to return to the amphibious ships offshore during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

With a load of Marine Corps trucks and equipment aboard, the Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-11 nears the beach during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC-9) moves toward the beach through a staging area during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-10 heads for the beach with a load of Marine Corps trucks and equipment during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area. (SUBSTANDARD)

Its deck empty, the Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-10 approaches the well deck of an amphibious ship for another load of equipment during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

The Landing Craft Air Cushion LCAC-10 moves through the water past a camouflaged row of small boats pulled up on the beach during 6th Fleet amphibious operations in the Mediterranean Sea area

An M998 High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), right, and an M998 HMMWV drive onto a road after coming down the stern ramp of an Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) craft. The 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade's (4th MEB's) ground units are coming ashore at Onslow Beach after disembarking from the amphibious ships on which they were deployed in the Persian Gulf region for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm

An M998 High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), turns onto a road after coming down the stern ramp of an Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) craft. The 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade's (4th MEB's) ground units are coming ashore at Onslow Beach after disembarking from the amphibious ships on which they were deployed in the Persian Gulf region for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm

Straight on shot of a US Marine M54 Series 5-ton Cargo Truck backing up the ramp of a US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion, LCAC, that is sitting along the runway at Mogadishu Airport. Marines stand on the ground outside the LCAC and on the ramp of the vessel as well. Navy personnel stand in the cargo bay of the LCAC guiding the 5-ton truck up the ramp. The LCAC, from the Assault Craft Unit Five (ACU-5) "Swift Intruders" of Camp Pendleton, California, deployed onboard the Whidbey Island and Harper's Ferry Class, Dock Landing Ship, USS RUSHMORE (LSD 47) (not shown) is supporting the mission of Operation Restore Hope

A landing craft air cushion (LCAC) vehicle backs clear of the well deck of the dock landing ship USS ASHLAND (LSD-48) during fleet operations

A Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) vehicle, #38, moves across the beach preparing to launch into calm water

A Marine M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank is stopped at the loading ramp of a beached Navy landing craft air cushion vehicle (LCAC)

A member of the BMU1/Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) Team stands back to camera and holds two marshaling placards high over his head. In the distance a LCAC approaches Blue Beach. The LCAC, which is capable of speeds of over 40 knots and loads of 60 tons, came on shore with supplies used to support Operation Show Care. This operation is in direct support of Operation Restore Hope

Shot over the left shoulder of US Navy RM1 Michael McCallum, from BMU1/Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) Team, as he talks to LCAC 47 which is in the background approaching Blue Beach. The LCAC, which is capable of speeds of over 40 knots and loads of 60 tons, came on shore with supplies used to support Operation Show Care. This operation is in direct support of Operation Restore Hope

A Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) vehicle from the landing ship dock USS PORTLAND (LSD-37) arrives at Black Beach to take part in a Noncombatant evacuation Operation (NEO) rehearsal

An underway port side view of landing craft air cushion vehicle LCAC-46 during practice beach landings at Naval Station Rota during practice beach landings at Naval Station Rota during a one week turn over by units from Marine Expeditionary Unit 24 (MEU-24) on board the amphibious assault ship USS INCHON (LPH-12) to the Amphibious Ready Force on board the USS GUAM (LPH-9)

The landing craft air cushion vehicle LCAC-46, assigned to Marine Expeditionary Unit 24 (MEU-24), is shown underway off Naval Station Rota practicing beach landings. MEU-24 has been assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS INCHON (LPH-12), (background), for a six month deployment in the Mediterranean Sea. Units from the USS GUAM's (LPH-9) Amphibious Ready Force are replacing them so they can return state side

Landing Craft Air Cushion vehicle #46 (LCAC-46) speeds toward the beach off the coast of Vieques during a two day training and drill period to maintain operational readiness. A Newport County class tank landing ship (LST) can be seen in the background

Landing Craft Air Cushion vehicle #46 (LCAC-46) speeds along the beach of Vieques island during a two day training and drill period to maintain operational readiness in preparation for the invasion of Haiti

A US Navy LCAC (landing craft air cushion) in the Indian Ocean returns to the USS Portland with Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Marines were taking part in an exercise on Black Beach, Somalia, in support of UNOSOM II

Sailors stationed onboard the USS Portland watch fellow crewmemebers from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit refuel Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) craft in the well deck. The LCAC is carrying light armored vehicles (LAVs) and High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) used by the Marines in an exercise on Black Beach in support of UNOSOM II

A U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) returns to the USS Portland with Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, light armored vehicles (LAV) and trucks. The Marines were taking part in an exercise on Black Beach, Somalia in support of UNOSOM II

A U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) enters the USS Portland with Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Marines were taking part in an exercise on Black Beach, Somalia in support of UNOSOM II

A US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) returns to the USS Portland with Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, light armored vehicles (LAV) and trucks. The Marines were taking part in an exercise on Black Beach, Somalia in support of UNOSOM II

Aerial port bow view of the Navy landing craft, air cushion vehicles LCAC-2 (foreground) and LCAC-1 (background) underway

A US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) is directed ashore by a US Marine during the NATO exercise. The exercise is designed to employ the rapid deployment and use of multinational maritime, air and land forces in a military response. Over 22,000 personnel from NATO nations, France and Spain are taking part in the exercise

A US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) is directed ashore by a US Marine during the NATO exercise. The exercise is designed to employ the rapid deployment and use of multinational maritime, air and land forces in a military response. Over 22,000 personnel from NATO nations, France and Spain are taking part in the exercise

A US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) streaks across the inlet during the exercise. The exercise is designed to employ the rapid deployment and use of multinational maritime, air and land forces in a military response. Over 22,000 personnel from NATO nations, France and Spain are taking part in the exercise

A Royal Thai Navy Military Policeman watches as a US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) craft departs Songkhla Naval Air Station, Thailand during the deployment phase of Exercise Cobra Gold '96

LCAC Hits the Beach

A Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) approaches the beach for an amphibious assault at Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, during RIMPAC '96

US Navy PETTY Officer 1ST Class Snyder and US Navy PETTY Officer 1ST Class Clemens pilot a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC 33 ) during RIMPAC '96 at Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii

An all-enlisted crew pilots a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) to the shore of the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, during an amphibious assault by Marines from 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Pendleton, California, as part of RIMPAC 96. The amphibious landing was conducted by 11th MEU at the facility in Kauai, Hawaii, and involved Navy and Marine air, ground and sea forces for training as a combined amphibious assault force

A Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) approaches the beach for an amphibious assault at Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, during RIMPAC '96

After securing a beachhead, two US Marines, armed with M16A2 rifles, walk a defensive perimeter as a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) approaches. The amphibious assault highlighted RIMPAC '96 when about 1,000 Marines simulated an assault on a beach held by "rebel" forces at Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii

An all-enlisted crew pilots a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) to the shore of Pacific Missle Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, during an amphibious assault with Marines from 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Pendleton, California, as part of RIMPAC 96. The amphibious landing was conducted by 11th MEU and involved Navy and Marine air, ground and sea forces for training as a combined amphibious assault force

A "rebel" soldier, US Marine Lance Corporal Jami A. Bradshaw prepares for the arrival of a US forces Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) during a simulated amphibious assault during RIMPAC '96 taking place at Pacific Missle Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii

An all-enlisted crew pilots a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) to the shore of the Pacific Missle Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, during an amphibious assault by Marines from 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Pendleton, California, as part of RIMPAC 96. The amphibious landing was conducted by 11th MEU at the facility in Kauai, Hawaii, and involved Navy and Marine air, ground and sea forces for training as a combined amphibious assault force

LCAC on Approach

US Marine Corps Lance Corporal Andrew Ludlow awaits the departure of a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) which will carry him to Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, where he will participate in an amphibious assault during RIMPAC '96

US Marines on the ground and in a light armored vehicle prepare to off load equipment from a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) during a beach assault at Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, during RIMPAC '96

US Marines prepare to off load equipment from a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) during a beach assault at Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, during RIMPAC '96

US Marine Corps Light Armored Vehicles (LAV-25) roll off the deck of a US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) craft during amphibious landing at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, "Barking Sands" Kauai, HI. Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Camp Pendleton, CA and involved Navy and Marine Air, Ground and Sea Forces trained as a combined amphibious assault force during Operation RIMPAC 96

US Marine Lance Corporal (LCPL) Walter Embser armed with 5.56mm M16a2 assault rifle covers his face from a barrage of dust and debris stirred up by The US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC 73) departing from Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Station, HI. Marine and Naval Personnel from conducted simulated Noncombatant Evacuation Exercises as part of Operation RIMPAC 96

A starboard side medium shot, as seen from atop a hill, of the US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC 79) parked on the beach at Pacific Missile Range Facility, "Barking Sands," Kauai, HI. Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Camp Pendleton, CA and involved Navy and Marine Air, Ground and Sea Forces trained as a combined amphibious assault force during Operation RIMPAC 96

A long shot starboard side view of a US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC 33) departing the beach at Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Station, HI during simulated Noncombatant Evacuation Operations, part of Operation RIMPAC 96. A US Marine atop a Light Assault Vehicle (LAV-25) is observing the departure, from a wooded area along the beach

A US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC 33) departs the beach at Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Station, HI during a simulated Noncombatant Evacuation Exercise, part of Operation RIMPAC 96

Aerial view of a section of the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek showing the parking area and service tarmac for the Navy's Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) vehicles. There are 28 of them seen here parked on the tarmac during a rain storm

A bow on view of Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC 54) from Assault Craft Unit 4 being marshaled ashore at Naval Station Rota, Spain. US Marine Amphibious Readiness Group (COMPHIBRON 6) is in Naval Station Rota, Spain, to do the necessary wash down and inspection of equipment

A crewmember from Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), Assault Unit 4, stands atop his craft and directs the off loading of a US Marine M-1 Abrams tank. The US Marine Amphibious Readiness Group (COMPHIBRON 6) is in Naval Station Rota, Spain, to do the necessary wash down and inspection of equipment

A landing craft air cushion (LCAC) vehicle circles the port quarter of the dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD-48) during fleet operations off the coast of southern California