U.S. Navy / Marine LCAC-854 "Crab":

The concept for the Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) Transport is an old one, beginning in the United States with the first prototypes in the 1970s. These vehicles ride on a cushion of air and can travel over water, ice, and on beaches. In many cases, one of these craft can ride over beach and underwater obstacles that would stop a traditional landing craft. An LCAC requires special skills to pilot and are piloted more like aircraft than a traditional ground vehicle. They are designed for high speed onto defended shoreline and are often launched around 50 miles (80 km) for the shore. Many different roles have been found for the LCAC. These vessels have been found to be useful for both patrolling in shallow water and for light minesweeping. The first American design of the LCAC served for the last couple of decades of the Twentieth Century and the first couple of decades of the Twenty-First Century. At that point in time, the general design was getting old and a new design was developed to replace the old design. The replacement design was faster than the original and served until 2060 when it was decided that a new design would be developed. This replacement was the LCAC-854 class which the crews affectionately called the "Crab" after is ability to sneak in and out of the water. The Crab and had many advantages over its predecessors. With upgrades, the design served until the coming of the Rifts and is still in use by the New Navy. Some Crabs were exported to allied nations either as evaluation units or for service in the militaries themselves.

A submersible landing craft, know as the Guppy by their crews, supplemented the Crab, but never replaced it. This is because the Guppy is both slower and cannot go over many terrain types that the LCAC-854 can go over. The Guppy was much better at covert assaults than the Crab and was more often used by seals and other special force units.

Unlike previous designs, the Crab was designed with nuclear turbines then being mounted in most aircraft. This gave the vessel a much longer range than the previous LCAC designs. The Crab can travel up to 120 mph when unloaded and up to 80 mph when fully loaded. While still noisy, the engines were developed with a sound dampening system so that the vessel is not quite as noisy as the previous air cushion designs were. The ship carries reasonable heavy armor and is designed to be able to withstand damage of the way to the beach. The vessel is designed with a covered payload area which opens like a large clam shell on the front and back. This cover is to help the vessel's aerodynamics and the vessel is also designed with a reduced radar cross signature.

The weapons carried are similar to that carried on the Iwo-Jima class troop transports and are quite well armed. The main weapon is a powerful Ion Pulse Cannon which is located on the port side. On most export models, this cannon was removed and replaced by a less powerful laser cannon. Over the cockpit, located on the starboard side, is a light weapon mount mostly used for close range combat. During the vehicles service, a variety of different weapons were carried including a rail gun, grenade launcher, or a light pulse cannon. The craft has heavy missile launchers on either side of the vessel. The missile launcher mounts can carry four long range missiles or eight medium range missiles each. The weapons are often used for bombardment of reinforced shore installations. As a final defensive weapon, the hovercraft mounts a short range missile launcher in front of the hovercraft's cockpit. The hovercraft's weapons outfit is to allow the craft to fight off attacking small craft and defend itself when attacking a heavily defended beach.

The basic size of the craft is virtually identical to that of the previous LCAC classes. This is because the craft needed to be able to be fitted into the same space as the previous landing craft were. This means that cargo capacity as far as volume is approximately the same as previous designs. The amount of weight than can be carried has been increased and the Crab can carry eighty tons normally and one hundred tons as an overload weight. The landing craft can carry one tank, two armored personnel carriers, or about ten to twelve light trucks like the HumVee. The craft can also carry about 200 infantry soldiers with standard equipment or 120 soldiers in light ground power armor. With Glitter Boy armor, the number of armors are limited to 50 normally and 60 in an overload condition.

Model Type: LCAC-854
Vehicle Type: Landing Craft, Air Cushion
Crew: 5 (Pilot, Communications, Engineer, Commander, and Gunner)

Troops / Vehicles: Up to 80 tons normal load / 100 ton overloaded can be carried in cargo or vehicles. The amount of cargo or vehicle that can be carried in one load is affected by available space as well as weight of the cargo. Below is a list of possible individual loads

200Infantry with standard equipment
120Soldiers in light ground power armor
50Heavy Power Armors (60 in overload)
1Main Battle Tanks
2Armored Personnel Carriers
10Light Trucks

M.D.C. by Location:

Heavy Cannon Mount (Left Side)100
Light Weapon Mount (Right Side over Cockpit):45
Heavy Missile Launchers (2, Sides):100 each
Light Missile Launcher (Right side forward of cockpit):70
[1] Side Thrusters (2)150 each
[1] Hover Thruster Units:200
Cargo Bay (2, Front and back):100 each
Pilots Compartment (Right side):200
Troop / Vehicle Compartment:200
[2] Main Body:450

[1] Destruction of one of the thruster units drops top speed by half and all piloting rolls are at -30%. Destruction of the hover unit will cause the vehicle to be no longer under the pilots control.
[2] Destruction of the main body will cause the vehicle to crash. All systems will not function. Damage to the main body will also reduce the hovercraft's stealth, for every 10% of damage to the main body, reduce the hovercraft's stealth by 10% of its total.

Hover Speed: Can hover at ground level at from a hover to up to 100 mph (160.9 kph) unloaded over both water and flat terrain. High terrain will block movement. When loaded normally, the craft can travel up to 80 mph (128.7 kph) and when overloaded (-20% to piloting), craft is limited to 60 mph (96.6 kph)
Maximum Range: Effectively unlimited.

Statistical Data:
Height: 22 feet (6.7 meters)
Width: 47 feet (14.3 meters)
Length: 88 feet (26.8 meters)
Weight: 120 tons (108.9 metric tons) empty, 200 tons (181.4 metric tons) normal load, and 220 tons (199.6 metric tons) overloaded
Power Source: Nuclear with 20 year fusion reactor.
Cargo Capacity: The cargo compartment can carry up to 80 tons (72.6 metric tons) as a normal load or up to 100 tons (90.7 metric tons) overloaded.
Market / Black Market Cost: 80 million for a new and undamaged version of the LCAC-854 Hovercraft

Weapon Systems:

  1. Heavy Weapons Mount (1): Weapon is mounted in a turret on the left side of the hover craft and is mounted on the opposite side of the hovercraft to the pilots cockpit. Turret is capable of 360 rotation and the barrel can be elevated up to 85 degrees. Mainly designed to be used against tanks and heavy vehicles but is also capable against aircraft and missiles. The Heavy cannon is controlled by the gunner.
    1. Ion Pulse Cannon: The Ion Pulse cannon is identical to the cannon carried on the Iwo Jima class troop transport. It is a powerful weapon and is mounted in versions operated by the US Navy and Marines.
      Maximum Effective Range: 6,000 feet (1,830 m)
      Mega Damage: 3D4x10 per blast
      Rate of Fire:Four times per melee round.
      Payload: Effectively Unlimited
      Bonuses: Has fire control system that gives +2 to strike with Ion cannon and cannon does not have minuses to fire when the hovercraft is moving.
    2. Laser Pulse Cannon: Less powerful cannon mounted on export models of the hovercraft.
      Maximum Effective Range: 6,000 feet (1,830 m)
      Mega Damage: 2D4x10 per blast
      Rate of Fire:Four times per melee round.
      Payload: Effectively Unlimited
  2. Light Weapons Mount (1): The hovercraft has a weapon mount located above the pilot’s cockpit and can be fired by either the driver or the commander of the vehicle. Initially in service, the rail gun was mounted but was replaced by the grenade launcher in many models due to the grenade launcher inflicting greater damage. The Ion cannon officially replaced the previous weapons but many of the crews of hovercrafts retained the grenade launcher due to its greater damage.
    1. USA-M31 Rail Gun (1): This rail gun is carried on C-40R and is from the original Pre-Rifts SAMAS design. It has fewer bursts and is heavier but the rail gun inflicts more damage than the C-40R.
      Weight: 110 lbs (50 kg) for the Rail gun and 190 lbs (86.2 kg) for the ammo drum.
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
      Mega-Damage: A burst of 40 rounds does 1D6x10, a single round does 1D4+1
      Rate of Fire: Equal to number of combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4-6).
      Payload: 2,000 round drum for 50 bursts.
    2. Automatic Grenade Launcher: The mount has 360 degree rotation and the arc of fire for the grenade launcher barrel is a 60 degree angle. Weapon is similar to have a post Rifts WI-GL21 Automatic Grenade Launcher mounted in a turret but fires a slightly smaller round.
      Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 ft (914 meters)
      Mega-Damage: 3D6 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 12 ft and 5D6 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 3 ft, burst of 10 rounds does 2D4x10 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 40 ft and 2D6x10 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 8 ft.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner
      Payload: 800 Rounds.
    3. Pulse Ion Cannon Mount (1): The weapons' primary purpose is use against infantry but is effective against missiles and to a lesser extent both aircraft and other armored vehicles.
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
      Mega-Damage: 1D6x10 per pulse.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of pilot or commander.
      Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  3. Heavy Missile Launchers: These launchers for long and medium range missiles are mounted on either side of the hovercraft with four tubes at a 6 degree angle forward. The missile is launched and then changes course to target. These missiles are used against fortified targets and armored vehicles. Each launch tube can fit one long range missile or two medium range missiles which use a special adapter to use the same launcher.
    Maximum Effective Range: As per long or medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: As per long or medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), six (6), or eight (8) missiles. Missile cells are automatically reloaded and are ready to fire next melee.
    Payload: 8 missile tubes between the two launchers. One long range missile or two medium range missiles may be carried per cell.
  4. Light Missile Launcher (1): This weapon is mounted forward of the cockpit in the hover craft. This weapon has a limited payload and is mainly used as a defensive weapon against incoming missiles. Short Range Missiles are usually a mixture of 50% Armor Piercing and 50% Plasma. Launchers can lock onto multiple targets at the same.
    Maximum Effective Range: As per short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: As per short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2) or four (4) missiles and can be used up to twice per melee.
    Payload: 12 missiles each.

Sensory Equipment:

The hover craft carries all standard equipment of a robot vehicle plus this special equipment:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2001, Kitsune. All rights reserved.