Littoral Combat Ships (LCS)


Today at 7:28 AM
Austal wins new US Navy contract
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"Shipbuilder Austal has won a $779 million contract to build a 14th Littoral Combat Ship for the US Navy. ..." etc.

it's probably the copy from '634 [millions]' entry (under 'FY 2018') in this Table:
Apr 7, 2016
hold it NavalToday checking my memory now:

"The U.S. Navy has awarded Australian shipbuilder Austal a $584 million contract to build an Independence-variant littoral combat ship."

or what gives?!
US Navy contracts Austal for construction of 28th littoral combat ship
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The U.S. Navy has awarded Australian shipbuilder Austal a $584 million contract to build an Independence-variant littoral combat ship.

The 127 meter LCS28 will be the 14th LCS constructed at Austal’s US shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

“While I am obviously happy for Austal I am also delighted in the vote of confidence this delivers for Australian shipbuilding and design,” Austal CEO David Singleton said.

“Austal’s work on the LCS program at our advanced Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) has seen efficiency gains of 20 per cent with an ambitious target of 35 per cent set for the end of the build cycle.

“Should we win the $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessel contract for the Royal Australian Navy, we intend to introduce many of the advanced manufacturing techniques and efficiency gains perfected in the US into our local operations.

The US Navy is expected to order up to two more LCS vessels in the current US financial year.

The fifth Austal-built LCS entered the fleet last weekend with the commissioning of the USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) while an additional seven LCS vessels are under various phases of construction.
 
there's an interesting gossip
"The Navy’s current plan is to buy a lot fewer frigates than vanilla LCS — either 10 frigates and 30 LCS or 12 and 28 — ..."
inside
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it's tragicomic how they care about "reducing cost" in such an underperforming project but yeah, things could be worse:
Austal’s Alabama shipyard just got the first
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contract of 2017, an award of up to
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to build
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all-aluminum trimaran, the as-yet unnamed LCS-28. Lockheed Martin, which builds the steel-hulled
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with Wisconsin shipyard Marinette Marine, is still in negotiations with the government, a Lockheed spokesman told me. The burning question as yet unresolved: Which of the two yards will get the third LCS in the 2017 budget?

“There is a plan,” was all a Navy spokesman would tell me. “The Navy is unable to release detailed information at this time.”

Since the
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began in 2005, the Navy has scrupulously split ships 50-50, with the Lockheed/Marinette team building all odd-numbered ships and Austal building the even numbers. But you can’t evenly split an odd number of ships, so one yard or the other will come out ahead this year — even if the Navy awards the other yard an extra ship next year to compensate.

At this point, it’s not even clear how many Littoral Combat Ships will be in
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. The Trump administration’s
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asks for only one, but right after the official budget roll-out officials
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But they’ve not yet said how it would be funded. (Navy officials have denied a
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outlining cuts elsewhere). The House Armed Services Committee has
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in its draft National Defense Authorization Act, but funding for those ships and, for that matter, the whole NDAA is
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than I’ve ever seen it.

Why does divvying up the ships matter so much? Congress, of course,
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. For its part, the Navy argues that keeping both yards in business ensures competition and reduces costs much more effectively, over the long run, than having a once-and-for-all winner-take-all contest that would leave the Navy with a single supplier and no alternative.

That industrial base argument is even more fraught now that the Navy plans to end production of the original LCS and start buying an
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. Rather than buy two types of frigate, the Navy wants to purchase a single class of ships from a single supplier. (The Navy’s current plan is to buy a lot fewer frigates than vanilla LCS — either 10 frigates and 30 LCS or 12 and 28 — which means the frigate buy is too small to split economically between two yards). The frigate could go to Austal, to Marinette (with or without Lockheed), or to
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, probably one of foreign origin.

To ensure both competition on price and the widest variety of designs to choose from, the Navy wants both Austal and Marinette bidding on the frigate. That, in turn, means keeping both yards in business until the contract is awarded in 2020. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says both yards already have such a big backlog of LCS work that the contracts they already have will keep them in business until 2020, but the Navy and the shipyards aren’t so sanguine. That’s why they’ll be taking this year’s third ship very, very seriously.
source:
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"The contract announced on Friday ... ensures the cost of the ship stays below the congressionally mandated cost caps, though it does not specify an exact contract value."

what's the word here, is it 'pork'?

Navy Awards 1 Littoral Combat Ship to Austal; Still Negotiating With Lockheed Martin
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The Navy awarded Austal USA up to $584.2 million for one Littoral Combat Ship, while the service is still negotiating with Lockheed Martin for the second ship and weighs its options for the third ship, USNI News understands.

This contract award comes amid a confusing spring for the program. After learning in early May that Congress wanted the service to buy three ships in 2017, the Navy testified in later that week that it needed to
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, but then
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later in the month. Then, the next day, the Trump Administration
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instead of one.

At the height of LCS procurement, the Navy was awarding two ships a year to both LCS builders, Austal USA and Lockheed Martin, and contracts with both yards were announced at the same time. Friday’s contract award to Austal was not accompanied by one for Lockheed Martin. USNI News understands negotiations for this year’s ships has been tougher than in past years.

The Navy could not comment on the ongoing competition, and Lockheed Martin spokesman John Torrisi could only say that “we continue to work with the U.S. Navy to reach an agreement on a contract for Fiscal Year 2017 ships.”

U.S. Navy spokesman Alan Baribeau confirmed that Lockheed Martin would get at least one ship in 2017, in accordance with the approved LCS acquisition strategy and solicitation, and that that solicitation allows for awards to the shipyards to be made at different times.

The contract covers hull LCS-28, and the Lockheed Martin ship that must be awarded in 2017 would be LCS-27, putting the two builders even with each other in terms of workload in the ship class. The third ship in 2017 presents some options for the Navy in terms of how the service will decide who to award it to.

Current acquisition plans have the Navy buying just one ship in 2018 and one in 2018, though the Trump Administration voiced support for a second LCS in 2018. USNI News understands that, while the administration hasn’t released its plans for how to pay for that second ship, the Office of Management and Budget should have that decision signed off on by June 30. Baribeau told USNI News that the Navy is in the process of amending its plans to include buying two ships in 2018 and one in 2019. The House Appropriations Committee, though, is set to mark up a bill today that includes funding for three ships in 2018.

If lawmakers ultimately decide the Navy will buy either one or three LCSs in 2018, the third ship from 2017 could be lumped in with the 2018 ships to keep even procurement rates for both shipbuilders. If the service ends up with two ships in 2018, the third 2017 ship could be awarded based on a straight price competition or other factors. The third 2017 ship would be the last one covered by a previous block buy agreement, and the
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, but the Navy’s use of contract options – Austal’s contract award has an option for future ships, and Lockheed Martin’s eventual contract likely would too – creates some flexibility in determining who would build the last 2017 ship.

The contract announced on Friday covers the first of three ships appropriated in 2017 under a spending plan passed by Congress in May, and ensures the cost of the ship stays below the congressionally mandated cost caps, though it does not specify an exact contract value.

“The Navy expects to release a competitive solicitation(s) for additional LCS class ships in future years, and therefore the specific contract award amount for these ships is considered source selection sensitive information … and will not be made public at this time,” according to a Defense Department contracts announcement posted online Friday, explaining why the cost is described only as being under the congressional cost caps.

Austal USA released a statement Monday on the award of the first ship, calling it “a clear sign of confidence in Austal USA’s Littoral Combat Ship program” by the Navy.

“We’re very proud to be awarded this contract in such a highly competitive environment,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said in the statement.
“This demonstrates the Navy’s confidence in Austal being a key component in building their 355-ship fleet, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our incredible employees.”

USNI News understands there is no timeline yet for when the Navy would award a 2017 ship to Lockheed Martin or make a decision about how to award the third 2017 ship and to whom.
 

Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
The US is building these LCS vessels like hot potatoes.

And...now that they are going to arm them appropriately, and operate them appropriately, that is just fine.

We need decent FFGs and a lot of them.

I believe, despite the bearthing pains...and they have been painful to watch as particularly the Obama administration (but also some starry eyed idiots in the Bush admin) simply made a mess of what otherwise was something very much needed.

And that is simply a multi-role, decent frigate.

If they will add the eight ASMs and the sensors to support it, and make sure that they can conduct ASM missions along with ASW missions, and have the crew size and procedures to support is, along with the sensor suite...then I am good to go.

We need 40-50 such vessels...and I believe we will get them.
 
Apr 13, 2017
...
Navy Considering More Hulls for Frigate Competition, Expanding Anti-Air Capability
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...

I'm going to update this post with that RET's findings once they become available (presumably in the first half of this year) ...
... nothing to update yet:
Senators Limited Littoral Combat Ship Program to 1 Hull in 2018 After ‘Compelling’ Testimony by Acting SECNAV Stackley
June 29, 2017
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May 25, 2017
not sure what to say
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goes on in the subsequent post due to size limit; source:
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now it appear the White House, ehm, found the money (for the second FY18 LCS, for about half of a billion) by cutting
100m off F-18 IRST, and 325m "in funding for an aircraft carrier reactor core, which is not needed in FY 2018, and will not impact the overall schedule for making the carrier available for operations"
(plus items below 100m which I generally don't bother posting about):
Document: White House Revision to the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Submission
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Today at 8:33 PM
May 25, 2017

now it appear the White House, ehm, found the money (for the second FY18 LCS, for about half of a billion) by cutting
100m off F-18 IRST, and 325m "in funding for an aircraft carrier reactor core, which is not needed in FY 2018, and will not impact the overall schedule for making the carrier available for operations"
(plus items below 100m which I generally don't bother posting about):
Document: White House Revision to the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Submission
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and now noticed USNI News Trump Admin Pays for 2nd 2018 Littoral Combat Ship By Delaying Reactor Core for Carrier Overhaul, Other Cuts
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The Trump administration is pushing back the purchase of a reactor core for an overhaul carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74), savings on amphibious ship modernization and deferring a radar for a destroyer upgrade to pay about $500 million for second Littoral Combat Ship hull in the second budget.
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, sent to Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), on Thursday shuffled money from the $325 million Stennis reactor core, $40 million from the amphibious program and $10 million for a SPQ-9B X-band radar that had been earmarked for a Arleigh Burke along with other savings to put the money into the Navy’s shipbuilding accounts for the second hull.
The Office and Management Budget had a goal to keep the Navy’s FY 2018 budget to the same $180 billion topline submitted in late May.

A Navy official told USNI News the delay in purchasing the reactor would not affect the schedule of the Stennis refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH).

The move from the White House follows up statements made by Navy officials that the administration supported two LCS in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget a day after the budget roll-out that called for a single LCS in the budget.

“The administration is supportive of a second LCS. That was brought to us today, so that’s what I know,” Stiller told USNI News when asked about the second ship at the time.

Regardless of the official budget requests, Congress is split on the future of the LCS program ahead of the transition to the planned upgunned frigate that would have a more robust air defense capability than the Flight 0 LCS design.

Both the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and the House Appropriations Committee for Defense (HAC-D) included three LCS hulls in their versions of the FY 2018 defense bill.

However, the Senate Armed Services Committee bill holds the buy at one LCS.

“We authorized the LCS that was in the budget request. We support the president’s budget in that regard. The testimony from [acting Navy] Secretary Stackley before the SAC-D that one was the minimum in ’18 to sustain the industrial base was taken into account… We found that testimony compelling,” a staffer told reporters on Thursday.
“There’s one LCS in ’18, which the secretary said in SAC-D testimony was the minimum.”
 

Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Senators Limited Littoral Combat Ship Program to 1 Hull in 2018
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Good.

They will all get upgraded to a condition where they can operate as frigates...and it is time to get on with picking the actual frigate that the US Navy will go forward with.

Most likely it will be a revised, uparmed, and stronger one of the the two LCS designs.

but I could see them picking the frigate version of the legend class Coast Guard cutter...or even another design.

There are some very good designs out there for decent frigates.

The US needs to simply pick one and concentrate its efforts on it from the get go and concentrate on making it a multi-mission, warfighting frigate from the beginning and forget all the pie in the sky BS that hampered the LCS program from the start.
 

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