Friday April 10, 2009
What is it?
The Lightweight Modular Causeway System (LMCS) introduces the ability to bridge the gap between seafaring vessels and shore when access to a port is unavailable or denied.
The inflatable bridge is created from flotation bladders with an overlain walking path and can be transported by ship or by air. It can be put together with as little as seven people and is designed to withstand waves up to 20 feet in a survival mode and to support single lane traffic from heavy vehicles.
Why is this important to the Army?
The main focus is on using the LMCS system to enhance the capabilities of a new class of military vessel known as Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). The JHSV represents a big step forward in the military's ability to access small ports around the world, primarily because of its significantly reduced draft and its ability to operate and maneuver at higher speeds. The LMCS was designed to be transported and deployed from the JHSV in situations where pier-side depth at an existing port is insufficient. The LMCS can also be used for humanitarian and disaster relief efforts when transportation is cut off or unavailable.
What has the Army done?
The LMCS is part of an advanced concepts technology demonstration developed by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Miss. System development began in 2006 and concluded in 2008 with two full-scale tests, one at Fort Eustis, Va., and one in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A team of military and civilian engineers, watercraft experts, causeway operators and program managers tested the system at full-scale to evaluate its operability under real world conditions, and trained an initial group of Soldiers in its use.
What does the Army plan for the future?
The LMCS is currently in a two-year evaluation period, during which more demonstrations will be held to test the system's effectiveness before being transitioned for use by the Army and other services.
Related in-depth article on the LMCS: JETA-SPOD develops LMCS to improve troops’ sea-based access to theater
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