06 April 2015

News Story: Flurry of Contracts Spark US Navy Shipbuilding

Austal USA: Independence class LCS (File Photo)

By Christopher P. Cavas

WASHINGTON — The past few days have been good for a number of the US Navy's shipbuilders. The service issued building contracts for two new destroyers, three littoral combat ships (LCS) and two new landing craft. Long-lead funding was issued for another LCS, and even the Coast Guard got in on the action, ordering another large National Security Cutter. A destroyer was launched, a new amphibious ship christened, and a high-speed catamaran vessel successfully completed sea trials.

Down at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, the DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer John Finn (DDG 113) was launched on March 28. The ship is the first of the DDG 51 restarts, the result of a 2008 Navy decision to cap production of DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers at three ships and return to building Burkes. Two yards build DDG 51s – Ingalls, and the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works yard in Bath, Maine. Before 2008, the Navy's plan was to stop buying Burkes after the Michael Murphy (DDG 112), delivered in 2012. The John Finn will be christened May 2, and is expected to be delivered in 2016.

Ingalls also is building the Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) and Delbert D. Black (DDG 119), and the current block buy includes DDGs 121, 123 and 125. Bath is at work on the Ralph Peralta (DDG 115), Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), Daniel Inouye (DDG 118) and the yet-to-be-named DDG 120. The DDG block buy for Bath also includes DDGs 122, 124 and 126.

On March 27, both destroyer-building shipyards received construction contracts for their next destroyers. Ingalls was awarded a $604.3 million contract modification to build the yet-to-be-named DDG 121, while Bath received a $610.4 million contract modification to build DDG 122. Both ships were funded in the 2015 defense appropriations act.

Construction of the remainder of the block buy ships are to be funded in 2016 and 2017 under the Navy's existing two-destroyers-per-year acquisition construct.

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