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Landing Craft Utility

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Title: Landing Craft Utility  
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Subject: Type 271 landing craft, List of ships of the Philippine Navy, Marine expeditionary unit, Runnymede-class large landing craft, Engin de débarquement d'infanterie et de chars
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Landing Craft Utility

Dutch and American LCUs.

The Landing Craft Utility (LCU) is a type of boat used by amphibious forces to transport equipment and troops to the shore. They are capable of transporting tracked or wheeled vehicles and troops from amphibious assault ships to beachheads or piers.


  • France 1
  • Germany 2
  • Netherlands 3
  • United Kingdom 4
    • LCU Mk.9 4.1
    • LCU Mk.10 4.2
  • United States 5
    • LCU 1466, 1610 and 1627 classes 5.1
    • LCU 2000 5.2
  • In literature 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The Engin de débarquement amphibie rapide (EDA-R) landing catamaran or L-CAT, entered service in January 2011. They can carry a main battle tank like other European LCUs, but are capable of much higher speeds, up to 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph).


Only two Barbe-class utility landing craft (Type 520), dating from the mid-1960s, remain in service with SEK-M Naval Special Forces command, but Germany is looking to buy more. Five Barbe were transferred to Greece at the end of the Cold War.


Class overview
Name: LCU Mk.II (NL) class
Operators:  Royal Netherlands Navy, Netherlands Marine Corps
General characteristics
Type: Ro-Ro landing craft
Displacement: 255 tonnes (251 long tons)
Length: 36.3 m (119 ft 1 in)
Beam: 6.85 m (22 ft 6 in)
  • .85 m (2 ft 9 in) forward, full load
  • 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in) aft, full load
Capacity: 65 tonnes (64 long tons)
Complement: 7
Armament: 2 × Browning .50 calibre (12.7 mm) machine guns

With the launch of the amphibious transport ship HNLMS Rotterdam in 1998 there was a need for LCUs. The Dutch LCUs are similar to the British LCU Mk.10 with the bridge being set to one side allowing for a roll-on roll-off design. Until 2005 the Netherlands Marine Corps used the LCU Mark I (NL).

In 2005 and 2006 the five vessels were modernized to the type Mark II. The vessels have been stretched by 9 meters to decrease their draft, which increased their load carrying capacity by 20 tons and allows them to come closer to shore. In addition they were fitted with a strengthened bow ramp, and they can now accommodate the Royal Netherlands Army Leopard 2A6 main battle tank. Because of the lengthening of the Mark II, the Rotterdam can only take two LCU (plus three LCVPs) in its dock. The dock of Rotterdam‍ '​s sister ship, Johan de Witt, has only enough capacity to transport two LCU, but carries four LCVPs in davits.

United Kingdom

LCU Mk.10
LCU Mk.9 (now retired)
Class overview
Name: Landing Craft Utility
Operators:  Royal Navy, Royal Marines
Subclasses: LCU Mk.9 and LCU Mk.10
Active: 10 LCU Mk.10s
Retired: LCU Mk.9s
General characteristics LCU Mk.10[1]
Displacement: 240 t (240 long tons; 260 short tons)
Length: 97 ft 10 in (29.82 m)
Beam: 25 ft 3 in (7.70 m)
Draught: 4 ft 11 in (1.50 m)
Propulsion: 2 × MAN D2840 LE diesel engines (400 kW / 2150 r.p.m. each)
Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Range: 600 nautical miles (1,100 km)
Capacity: 1 main battle tank, 4 large vehicles, or 120 troops

LCU Mk.9

The LCU Mk.9 was built for use on the LPDs Fearless and Intrepid where they were operated from the dock in the rear of the ships.[2] Each ship carried four LCUs and four davit mounted LCVPs. The Mk.9 was to see many changes and upgrades during its service including a move from propeller to jet in many cases. The Mk.9 was capable of traveling as an ocean-going vessel and a number would be converted into a version, affectionately known as the "Black Pig", for use in Norway. The crew had full living quarters aboard with galley and heads. The opinion that the successful British amphibious operations during the Falklands War were only possible because of the two LPDs and their landing craft is well documented. The Mk.9, like the LPDs, served longer than ever anticipated, providing the backbone of Britain's amphibious assault capabilities.

Three Mk.9s, pennant numbers 701, 705, and 709, remained in service by 2012.[2][3] However by 2014, they had all been withdrawn from service.[4]

LCU Mk.10

The LCU Mk.10 class vessels are operated by the Royal Marines. They are intended for use on board the new assault ships Albion and Bulwark and can use the Bay class landing ships. Deliveries of the class started from 1998 and the fleet currently consists of ten vessels, bearing pennant numbers 1001 to 1010. Both Albion and Bulwark are capable of carrying 4 LCU's. These vessels are capable of operating independently for up to 14 days with a range of 600 nautical miles. They are capable of operating world-wide, from Arctic operating areas to tropical operating areas. The Mk.10 differs greatly from the Mk.9 with the bridge being set to the side allowing for a roll-on roll-off design. This greatly increases efficiency over the old Mk.9 as loading of the rear LCUs can take place without the LCUs being launched, the LPD having to dock down to do so, to change over and load up, which was a problem prior to the Falklands landings. The LCU Mk.10 has a 7 man crew and can carry up to 120 Marines or alternatively 1 battle tank or 4 lorries. British assault ships also carry smaller LCVPs on davits to transport troops and light vehicles.

All ten Mk.10s, pennant numbers 1001 to 1010, remain in service as of 2012.[3]

United States

LCU 1466, 1610 and 1627 classes

LCU-1627 class
Class overview
Name: LCU 1466, 1610 and 1627 classes
Operators:  United States Navy
Active: 32[5]
General characteristics
Displacement: see table
Length: see table
Beam: see table
Draft: see table
Propulsion: see table
Speed: see table
Range: see table
Endurance: 10 days[5]
Capacity: see table
Troops: see table
Sensors and
processing systems:
LN 66 or SPS-53 I band navigation radar
Armament: 2 × 12.7 mm machine guns

The LCU 1466, 1610 and 1627 class vessels are operated by the United States Navy at support commands.[6][7] They are a self-sustaining craft complete with living accommodations and messing facilities for a crew of thirteen.[5] They have been adapted for many uses including salvage operations, ferry boats for vehicles and passengers, and underwater test platforms. Each LCU is assigned a non-commissioned-officer-in-charge (NCOIC) (Craft Master) who is either a Chief Petty Officer or Petty Officer First Class in the Boatswain’s Mate, Quartermaster or Operations Specialist rating. These vessels have bow ramps for onload/offload, and can be linked bow to stern gate to create a temporary pier-like structure. Its welded steel hull provides high durability with deck loads of 800 pounds per square foot. Arrangement of machinery and equipment has taken into account built-in redundancy in the event of battle damage. The craft features two engine rooms separated by a watertight bulkhead to permit limited operation in the event that one engine room is disabled. An anchor system is installed on the starboard side aft to assist in retracting from the beach. These vessels are normally transported to their areas of operation onboard larger amphibious vessels such as LHDs and LHAs. The 40-year-old craft will be replaced under the Surface Connector (X) Recapitalization, or SC(X)R, project starting in FY2017.[5]

[6][7] LCU 1466 LCU 1610 LCU 1627
Displacement - light 180 long tons (183 t) 172 long tons (175 t) 190 long tons (193 t)
Displacment - full n/a 353 long tons (359 t) 405 long tons (411 t)
Length overall 115 ft 1 in (35.08 m) 135 ft 3 in (41.22 m) 116 ft 6 in (35.51 m)
Beam 34 ft 0 in (10.36 m) 29 ft 0 in (8.84 m) 34 ft 0 in (10.36 m)
Draft - full load, forward 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 4 ft 10 in (1.47 m) 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Draft - full load, aft 2 ft 9 in (0.84 m) 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m) 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m)
Power - sustained 675 hp (503 kW) 1,000 hp (746 kW) 680 hp (507 kW)
Propulsion 3 x Gray Marine diesel engines 2 x Detroit 12V-71 diesel engines 4 x Detroit diesel engines
Shafts 3 2 2
Speed 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph) 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph)
Range 1,200 nmi (2,200 km) at 6 kn (11 km/h) 1,200 nmi (2,200 km) at 8 kn (15 km/h) 1,200 nmi (2,200 km) at 6 kn (11 km/h)
Complement 14 14 12-14
Capacity - troops 300 400 350
Capacity - cargo 167 long tons (170 t) 180 long tons (183 t) 170 long tons (173 t)

LCU 2000

LCU-2000 class
Class overview
Name: LCU 2000 class
Operators:  United States Army
General characteristics
  • 575 long tons (584 t) light
  • 1,087 long tons (1,104 t) full load
Length: 174 ft (53 m)
Beam: 42 ft (13 m)
  • 9 ft (2.7 m) light
  • 8 ft (2.4 m) loaded
  • 4 ft (1.2 m) beaching draft at the bow
Speed: 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph)
  • 10,000 nmi (19,000 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h) light
  • 6,500 nmi (12,000 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h) loaded
Complement: 13

The Runnymede class large landing craft or LCU 2000 class vessels are operated by the United States Army.[8][9] They transport rolling and tracked vehicles, containers, and outsized and general cargo from ships offshore to shore, as well as to areas that cannot be reached by oceangoing vessels (coastal, harbor, and intercoastal waterways). It can be self-deployed or transported aboard a float-on/float-off vessel. It is classed for full ocean service and one-man engine room operations and is built to U.S. Coast Guard standards. The vessel can sustain a crew of 2 warrant officers and 11 enlisted personnel for up to 18 days, and 10,000 miles. This class is also equipped with an aft anchor to assist in retracting from the beach.

LCU 2008 being loaded as deck cargo on a chartered vessel.

In literature

Cap'n Fatso is the second book in a series of three by Daniel V. Gallery that feature Boatswains Mate First Class John "Fatso" Gioninni. Fatso is the commander of an LCU that, while on a special supply errand for his LSD's captain, is left behind in the Mediterranean Sea when the whole Sixth Fleet unexpectedly leaves for Vietnam. Through a series of accidents and misunderstandings Fatso and his crew are left without orders or attachment to any fleet and decide to "search the Mediterranean Sea for the Sixth Fleet". Hilarity ensues when they play practical jokes on the Russian fleet and make an "official" visit to Israel during the Six-Day War.[10]


  1. ^ "Landing Craft LCU MK 10" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-18. 
  2. ^ a b The Royal Navy Handbook, page 106
  3. ^ a b "The Military Balance 2012", International Institute for Strategic Studies, pp. 170-171
  4. ^ Bush, Steve (2014). British Warships and Auxiliaries. Maritime Books. pp. 35–39.  
  5. ^ a b c d Scott, Richard (28 January 2013). "US scopes objectives for new surface connector workhorse". Jane's Navy International. 
  6. ^ a b Friedman, Norman (2002). U.S. Amphibious Ships and Craft: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press. p. 390.  
  7. ^ a b "Landing Craft Utility (LCU)". NavSource Photo Archives. NavSource Naval History. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Marge Holtz, Lisa Gates (October 29, 1998). "Creative thinking offers stowage solution".  
  9. ^ Spc. Morrene E. Randell (5 September 2007). "Army Boat Supports Dive Teams Trying to Raise Russian Sub". 
  10. ^ Cap'n Fatso (Norton, 1969)

External links

  • Royal Marines - Landing Craft (
  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
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