The Navy has issued a request for proposal (RFP) directly to General Dynamics NASSCO and Huntington Ingalls Industries for the third America-class big deck amphibious warship and six next-generation oilers (TAO(X)), the service told USNI News.
The RFPs to the two shipbuilders — deemed by the service to be the only two in the country capable of building the next generation oiler and the LHA-8 — was issued on June 25 without public notification on the U.S. FedBizOpps solicitations website.
“It is not uncommon to distribute a limited competition solicitation and/or sole source solicitation to the limited source offeror(s) and not to post the solicitation to FedBizOpps (FBO),” read a statement from the service provided to USNI News.
“The Navy expects responses for T-AO(X) and LHA 8 this fall. The responses will not be publically releasable.”
One yard will receive contracts for the detail design and construction contract for the first six TAO(X) or LHA-8.
LHA-8 will follow the first two America-class big deck amphibs — USS America (LHA-6) and Tripoli (LHA-7) — that were built without a welldeck to launch amphibious landing craft.
LHA-8 — and the rest of the ships in the class — will include the welldeck capability.
“In order to preserve the industrial base, leverage competition, bring affordability and stability to that industrial base, we’ve elected to limit the competition, go out with a single solicitation that contains both the LHA-8 and the TAO(X),” Navy acquisition chief Sean Stackley told Congress in March.
“Size them what we believe to be about the same in terms of man hours of work and also about the same in terms of horizon of time, so that the industry has some surety that, ‘OK, we understand how much work is coming our way’.”
The Navy will also likely look to the two shipbuilders to compete for the next generation LX(R) amphibious warship, slated to start construction in 2020.