Navy Wastes No Time and Gives New LCS Contracts to Lockheed, Austal

With the split buy acquisition strategy approved by Congress the U.S. Navy wasted no time and ordered up to twenty more of the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) from its two suppliers.

This week both the teams led by Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Austal America (ASB:AUS) received contracts for one ship plus up to nine more options. As Congress allowed the Navy went out and bought up to twenty ships. Each contract is worth between $460 and $500 million for the first ships. If all twenty are built the two teams will received close to $5 billion each.

While each team is building a dissimilar hull shape the two designs carry similar weapon loads. Lockheed is partnered with Marinette Marine’s yard in Wisconsin. Austal America is building their ships at their facility in Mobile, AL. The ships are designed to be built at smaller yards allowing more rapid construction.

So far the Navy has received three LCS ships. USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) were built by Lockheed Martin and USS Independence (LCS 2) by Austal America. The USS Coronado (LCS 4) is under construction in Mobile and is expected to be commissioned in 2012.

If all twenty ships are ordered and delivered under these contracts the LCS class will quickly become one of the largest in the current Navy. Ultimately up to fifty or more of the LCS could be acquired.

The decision to allow the split contracts in line with the original acquisition strategy for the ship rather then just using one source as the Navy had proposed when it restructured the program in 2009 is a boon to Austal and Marinette. Both companies had been planning layoffs and restructuring if they had not one the contract. Now they both will have to ramp up their capabilities to support the Navy’s program.

Photo from avhell’s flickr photostream.

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Nation’s First Littoral Combat Ship Departs For Maiden Deployment

February 16, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Lockheed Martin, Syndicated Industry News 
Nation's First Littoral Combat Ship Departs For Maiden Deployment
February 16, 2010 3:30:00 PM

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MAYPORT, Fla., -- The nation's first Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom (LCS 1), departed from Naval Station Mayport, FL, today for its maiden deployment, approximately two years ahead of schedule. The agile 378-foot USS Freedom, designed and built by a Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)-led industry team, will deploy to the Southern Command area of responsibility.

"We congratulate the USS Freedom and her crew on their maiden deployment as this new class of Littoral Combat Ships begins to fulfill important global security missions," said Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO Bob Stevens. "Her quality and proven performance enabled Freedom's deployment two years ahead of schedule, a significant accomplishment in naval shipbuilding. As we compete to build additional ships for the U.S. Navy, the Lockheed Martin team remains focused on delivering an affordable surface combatant with the flexibility to provide security close to shore and on the open seas."

USS Freedom (LCS 1) is the first of 55 the Navy plans for a new class of ships designed to operate in coastal waters. The ship's capabilities have been demonstrated since delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2008. Freedom has sailed more than 10,000 nm, successfully completed sea trials and demonstrated performance of combat, communications and other critical systems.

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First Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Commissioned

02/08/10 — The post was updated to make clear that LCS-1 is under construction by Lockheed Martin and not Northrop Grumman as previously stated.  Your humble editor got confused.

In the last week the U.S. Navy commissioned the General Dynamics built U.S.S. Independence (LCS-2). LCS-1 is under construction by Lockheed Martin. The original plan for the class was to have each company build about half. The two designs are completely different to say the least with GD building a tri-marine hull and Northrop a more traditional one. Both ships are outfitted the same with weapons and sensors. The U.S.S. Freedom (LCS-1) and the Independence are ships around 400 feet long and displacing about 3,000 tons.

If all goes well the Navy will build up to 55 of the ships. The most recent plan discussed was after completion of these two and one more to each design that a new contract will be competed and only one design will be built. Both ships have suffered from cost and schedule overruns and the optimistic initial cost assumptions were not met leading to the program restructure. If the plan is executed these ships and the new destroyer will be the main force of the U.S. Navy after 2020.

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Landing of Gas Turbine Engines Is Latest Milestone For Nation’s Third Littoral Combat Ship

September 17, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Lockheed Martin, Syndicated Industry News 
Landing of Gas Turbine Engines Is Latest Milestone For Nation's Third Littoral Combat Ship
September 17, 2009

MARINETTE, Wis. -- The Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)-led industry team completed another key milestone in constructing the nation's third Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) with the landing of the vessel's two main propulsion gas turbines. More than 50 percent of the ship's modules are under construction at the Marinette Marine shipyard. LCS 3, named Fort Worth, is scheduled for delivery to the U.S. Navy in 2012.

Designed to operate in coastal waters, the LCS provides the Navy with a fast, agile shallow-draft warship that maximizes mission flexibility. The vessel is a highly automated and networked surface combatant which can accommodate mission packages that provide the ship with the ability to execute focused missions such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, as well as other potential missions.

Fort Worth's gas turbine engines, part of an innovative combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion plant with steerable water jets, are a critical part of the Lockheed Martin team's proven LCS propulsion system. The same system has successfully powered USS Freedom (LCS 1) since that ship's November 2008 commissioning. Two Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines - the largest gas turbines installed on any Navy ship class - will allow Fort Worth to sustain sprint speeds of well over 40 knots, as demonstrated with USS Freedom. The propulsion system also has two fixed and two steerable Rolls-Royce water jets which enable superior maneuverability for mission execution.

"The success that Freedom achieved in its acceptance trials proves the soundness of the logistical, technological and manufacturing approach that the team is using to build LCS," said Dan Schultz, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin's Integrated Defense Technologies business. "We're using the lessons learned from LCS 1 to build LCS 3 even more efficiently and cost effectively."

In March 2009, the Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a fixed price incentive fee contract to construct Fort Worth. In July, the ship's sponsor, Rep. Kay Granger (R-12-Texas) joined the Lockheed Martin team members and U.S. Navy representatives for its keel laying ceremony.

Lockheed Martin's LCS team delivered the first-of-class USS Freedom to the fleet in only six years from its initial concept, half the time of traditional shipbuilding programs. Team members include naval architect Gibbs & Cox, ship builders Marinette Marine Corporation, a Fincantieri company, and Bollinger Shipyards, as well as domestic and international teammates.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.

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