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Marines test new beach assault vehicle

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Marine Corps is testing a new ship-to-shore landing vehicle.

The military tested a prototype of the ultra-heavy-lift amphibious connector (UHAC) last week during Rim of the Pacific exercises in Hawaii. The UHAC uses foam blocks to propel the craft through the water.

When it hits the beach, the foam flattens to become like the tracks on a tank or a bulldozer. The UHAC will be able to get over sea walls as high as 10, 12 or 16 feet, according to the Corps.

The prototype is not armored or armed, but production models will have armor plating and .50-caliber machine guns for protection. And they will be much faster. The prototype can only go 5 mph on the water, but a full-size UHAC should go about 25 mph.