Meet the Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector, or UHAC, currently being developed by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab as a potential replacement for the Navy’s current ship-to-shore hovercraft. The photo above is just a half-scale model: a full-scale version will sit some 34 feet high and 84 feet long.
The secret behind this machine is foam tracks with captive air cells, which allow it to propel itself through the water at up to 20 knots, and then move onto land. Because it has a very low ground pressure footprint–about one pound per square inch–it can cross marsh land and mud flats easily. The tracks can also crawl up a sea wall up to ten feet high.
And the payload of the UHAC is huge: about three times that of the Marines’ current ship-to-shore craft, the Landing Craft Air Cushion.
We’ll have the whole story behind this high-tech watercraft in our next issue of Marine Corps Times on Monday. Stay tuned.