The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is using the CAAT’s air-filled track system in its Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC) concept. The objective is to develop a new amphibious connector to transport U.S. Marine Corps vehicles from ship to shore in heavier loads and over shore obstacles. A half-scale demonstrator was used during RIMPAC 2014, where it was loaded with an Internally Transportable Vehicle, launched from the USS Rushmore (LSD-47), then paddled to shore.
The demonstrator was 42 ft (13 m) long, 26 ft (8 m) wide, 17 ft (5 m) high, weighed 38 tons, and traveled at 4-5 knots on water; the hull was made of aluminum, with a small pilothouse mounted on the bow. Using track feet fitted with dense air-impregnated foam blocks make it buoyant in the water and propel it on land, allowing it to traverse through mud, sand, and marshland when ashore.
This made the demonstrator’s ground pressure about 1 PSI, compared to 9.7 PSI for the Amphibious Assault Vehicle. The full-size UHAC is planned to be 84 ft (26 m) long and up to 34 ft (10 m) high. The UHAC is primarily aimed at potentially replacing the Landing Craft Air Cushion hovercraft, but it could also supplement it and replace the Landing Craft Utility.