Helicopters Magazine

Donaldson to protect power plants on U.S. Navy aircraft

January 13, 2016  By Donaldson

Textron Systems Marine & Land Systems has selected Donaldson Aerospace & Defense, a division of Donaldson Company, Inc. to provide advanced filtration systems that will help protect power plants on the U.S. Navy’s next generation air-cushioned landing craft.

Under its contract with Textron Systems, Donaldson Aerospace & Defense will develop and produce two advanced filtration systems to keep moisture, dust and sand from degrading the performance of main engines and auxiliary power units (APUs) on the Navy’s new Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) craft.  Textron Systems Marine & Land Systems is the Navy’s prime contractor for the SSC.

“Greater reliability and maintainability for its air-cushioned landing craft are key goals of the Navy’s SSC program,” said General Manager Matt Fortuna of Donaldson Aerospace & Defense.  “Donaldson is proud that Textron Systems has chosen to draw on our century of filtration expertise to help it meet those goals for these critical craft.”

The SSC is the evolutionary replacement for the Navy’s existing fleet of Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) vehicles. It will be used primarily to transport weapon systems, equipment, cargo, and up to 145 combat-equipped U.S. Marine Corps assault troops from well deck-equipped amphibious ships to beach landing areas. The SSC is designed to have the same length and beam as the LCAC but it will transport a total of 148,000 pounds compared to 120,000 pounds for the LCAC. It can travel at speeds of more than 35 knots and ranges of 25 nautical miles or more, independent of tides, water depth, underwater obstacles, ice, mud or beach gradient.

The Navy plans to procure 73 SSC craft, with production starting in 2018-2019. Textron Systems has begun fabrication of the first two SSCs. The first craft will be used for testing and training. Delivery of the test and training SSC is projected for May 2017.


Donaldson will develop and produce the Combustion Air Filtration Assembly (CAFA). Each SSC will have four CAFAs to help protect its four main, 5,300-shaft horsepower Rolls-Royce MT7 gas turbine engines. Two engines will drive the SSC’s two, six-bladed propellers. The other two engines will drive its two, 69-inch-diameter lift fans.  

The CAFA consists of a pre-cleaner stage using Donaldson’s patented Strata Tube, a moisture-elimination pad (MEP) filter stage and a barrier-filter stage. It will remove more than 99 per cent of water, dust and sand from the MT7’s combustion air inlet at airflows up to 26,000 cubic feet per minute.

Donaldson also will develop and provide the Auxiliary Filtration Assembly (AFA). Each SSC will have two AFAs to help protect its two auxiliary power units that generate the craft’s electrical power. The AFA, consisting of a moisture-eliminating stage and a barrier-filter stage, will remove more than 99 percent of water, dust and sand from the inlet to the auxiliary power unit at airflows up to 35,000 cubic feet per minute.


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