Ingalls Shipbuilding was awarded a $1.46 billion contract modification for the construction of the last San Antonio-class (LPD-17) amphibious warship on Monday, according to a Pentagon contract announcement.
The planned USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) will be the 12th ship and final ship in the San Antonio-class before the Navy moves to build the next generation replacement for the service’s aging fleet of LSDs – the LX(R) program.
Now with the award, the shipyard will start construction this week with an anticipated 2021 delivery, Ingalls’ LPD/LX(R) program director Steve Sloan told USNI News on Monday in a phone interview.
“We’re going to get on with construction this week,” Sloan said.
“The design is done, we’re ready to go, ready to push her through the shops and start building units.”
The ship class was initially set to end at 11 ships, but Congress funded the 12th ship for the Navy with the enthusiastic support from the U.S. Marine Corps.
Additionally, the extra ship in the class will go a long way to keeping the production line at the Pascagoula, Miss. shipyard for amphibious warships hot for the anticipated LX(R) production. The service is set to issue the request for proposal next year to Ingalls and competitor General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, Calif.
“If Ingalls were to win the competition – an outcome that is not guaranteed,” Navy acquisition chief Sean Stackley said earlier this year.
“But many expect that Ingalls Shipbuilding will ultimately win the LX(R) contract and continue its hot LPD production line – “and we were not able to further accelerate the LX(R), there would not be the overlap that you want in a shipbuilding program to retain efficiencies, to retain the skilled workforce.”
Monday’s contract modification follows a $117 million advanced procurement earlier this year and an additional $200 million award in December.
Fort Lauderdale is serving as a transition platform between the San Antonio design and LX(R) that will be based on the LPD-17 hull form and cost savings elements of Fort Lauderdale may end up in the LX(R) design.
For example, Fort Lauderdale’s forward mast will not be made of composites like the previous 11 hulls and will be more in common with the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyer design.
“For the aft mast we leveraged the platform design for an air search radar that is on the big-deck amphibs,” Sloan said.
“We were finding ways to take the cost down without taking a lot of capability off the ship.”
The following is the Dec. 19, 2016 contract announcement.
Huntington Ingalls Industries, Pascagoula, Mississippi, is being awarded a $1,463,276,000 fixed-price-incentive modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-16-C-2431) for the procurement of the detail design and construction of USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28). Work to be performed is the detail design and construction of LPD 28, the 12th ship in the LPD 17 amphibious transport dock ship class. The previously awarded LPD 28 advance procurement and long lead time material efforts, funded in the amount of $269,736,574, have been subsumed into the total price of the LPD 28. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, Mississippi (72 percent); Crozet, Virginia (3 percent); Beloit, Wisconsin (2 percent); Brunswick, Georgia (1 percent); and Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1 percent), with other efforts performed at various sites throughout the U.S. (21 percent). Work is expected to be completed by October 2021. Fiscal 2015 and 2016 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $1,173,539,426 will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.