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  • Change the way you think for better solutions

    Posted Jul 26th, 2012 in General News With | 12 Comments omaha-landing

    The original concept for a ‘landing craft’ revolved around the basic requirement to unload vehicles and men onto a beach. The vessel must remain in the edge of the breaker line because it’s a floating vessel which by definition requires water. The front part of the craft is a door which also acts as a bridge to make the process of unloading from a floating object onto solid ground easier. All good so far but there are some fundamental problems with this ‘old’ design philosophy.

    During a typical opposed landing, the enemy is expecting you so the beach is mined, and all of his defensive positions are focused on that narrow strip where the land meets the sea. As soon as the door drops on your landing craft, the enemy targets the hinge area with the result that the first vehicle becomes immobilized and acts as a very effective ‘bung’ to prevent the rest of the craft from unloading. Not good so far.

    In order for your assault troops to disembark, they too have to pass through this wall of fire which is focused on the doorway. If mines are present they then have another problem to contend with and they haven’t even got off the beach yet.

    The ideal scenario is, the landing craft approaches the beach at high speed, it doesn’t stop at the breaker line but passes right through it and carries on up the beach, as soon as the craft stops, vehicles and men pour off the sides so that they all are fully deployed in seconds, the craft then reverses off the beach as fast as it came.

    If I were a military commander and I was presented with a choice of landing craft, I would go for the high speed, rapid unloading and fully maneuverable option in preference to the one that dumps its cargo in a queue in the surf through a small opening with a ‘shoot here’ label.

    The modern hovercraft has undergone various design updates since its original conception by Sir Christopher Cockrell back in 1956. I have recently re-visited the hovercraft design with some dramatic results. In its present form the hovercraft can solve the problem of delivering men and machines beyond the breaker line, but there are other problems when operating a hovercraft, such as speed, noise, sea-state, damage susceptibility, maneuverability and stealth. This is not a complete list by any means but it is a list of problems that have already been addressed by Maricuda Ltd.

    If you base a new design on what has gone before you will simply end up with an improved version of an existing design. If you re-visit the requirement upon which the original design was based, there’s a very good chance that you will end up with a more efficient solution.

    Article submitted to the Royal Institution of Naval Architects on 24th July 2012 for inclusion in ‘Warship Technology’  journal.

    by D. Aitken

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