Home » Budget Industry » Navy Signs $1.4B Contract with Ingalls Shipbuilding for 13th San Antonio

Navy Signs $1.4B Contract with Ingalls Shipbuilding for 13th San Antonio

An artist’s concept of the 12th San Antonio-class (LPD-17) amphibious warship Fort Lauderdale. HII Image

The Navy signed a $1.4 billion contract with Ingalls Shipbuilding for the LPD-29 San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock.

The ship will be the 13th in a class that has varied in planned size over the years but as of just a few years ago was meant to stop at 11.

With a hot production line often delivering ships on time or early, the Navy and lawmakers added the future Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) and then LPD-29 to the plans to help bridge the production line between the San Antonio-class LPDs and the LPD-based LX(R)s that will replace the aging dock landing ships (LSD-41/49).

Program manager Capt. Brian Metcalf said last month at the Surface Navy Association annual symposium that his office had reached a handshake agreement with Ingalls over the holidays and hoped to sign the paperwork by the first week in February. Metcalf called this a “sporty” pace for getting a new ship contract, after the funding in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget for the ship was only made available to him in March 2017 – about nine months before the agreement was reached and less than a year ahead of finalizing and announcing the contract.

Lawmakers sought to provide some funding for either an LPD-30 or the first LX(R) in FY 2018, this current fiscal year, though the spending plan has still not been approved by Congress. House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee chairman Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) this week called finalizing the funding for that ship a top priority for Congress.

Maj. Gen. David Coffman, the director of expeditionary warfare on the chief of naval operations’ staff (OPNAV N95), said at the SNA conference that he intended for the FY 2018 funding to buy the first LX(R), even though many in the Navy and in Congress have referred to it as LPD-30 funding as a sort of short-hand.

Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., and General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego will compete for the LX(R) construction contract, though it is generally assumed that Ingalls will build those ships to leverage the hot LPD production line.

  • DaSaint

    “…generally assumed that Ingalls will build those ships to leverage the hot LPD production line.”

    Everyone knows that ALL Amphibs will be built at Ingalls. I’m always amazed at the half-hearted attempts at depicting competition. NASSCO builds auxiliaries, Ingalls builds Amphibs and DDGs and NSCs.

    May as well build the 13th as a San Antonio class, then transition to the LX(R).

    There’s no way Ingalls also adds the FFG(X) to their portfolio. Maybe more NSCs for the USCG, but not the FFG(X).

    • airider

      Transitioning the hot NSC line to the FFG(X) line make a ton of sense. Coast Guard is already getting more NSC’s than planned.

      • Sons of Liberty

        Too much modification needed to support the Spy radar. It will be the F100 or FREMM design.

        • airider

          Fair, but above the waterline mods aren’t the driving factor in ship change costs or risks. We got Kidd’s and Tico’s leveraging the Spruance hull and that worked out pretty well.

          If EASR is the radar of choice, the size of the arrays will be much smaller than you think for the same performance of current radars.

          • Nick

            Understand though smaller the new EASR is a solid an AESA radar with three fixed panel planar arrays for the FFG(X), top heavy compared to the the older generation radars. The power transmitter now built into the individual T/R modules on panel where as previously power for transmitter generated below decks as with PESA SPY-1 radar.

    • USNVO

      Actually, having a “competition” for the amphibs is a way to justify giving the auxillaries to NASSCO. If you had a separate competition for both, NASSCO would lose both. This way, you can maintain the fiction that you are keeping NASSCO in business for something other than industrial base reasons. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

      • dsharil

        Very good points.

    • Sons of Liberty

      Bath will wnd up with the FFG given the completion of the last Zumwalt.

      • ShermansWar

        i hope so

  • Ed L

    Arsenal ships!! Build 10 more LPD hulls. Shorten the flight deck, stick 2 each 127mm. 76mm’ 57mm, seaRams, VLS 60 cell with SAMs SSMs ASROCs, run ASW helicopters. Have the Marine Helicopters carry preprogram ASW Torpedoes that can be shoved out the backdoor or depth bombs that can drop on que from the ship.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      I believe we may have discussed this before — but I agree completely. The LPD-17 hull could be easily, and absolutely fantastically, re-purposed to make an outstanding BMD/Multirole Cruiser that could become our most valuable AND most versatile large surface combatant.

      • William Sager

        They could also alter the hulls of our Destroyers to make stealth arsenal ships. But Navy ship Captains don’t wish to get stuck on a ship which basically spends it’s entire career matching course with some Aircraft Carrier.

    • Niki Ptt

      Having been on both sides of the warships’ business (builder-end and user-end), trust me, you don’t want to design a ship that way.
      To begin with, the LPD platform is grossly oversized (and overpriced) for a weapon system that is roughly that of a CG-47 (except for the helo capacities). Then, all the cost-saving considerations you might imagine from the cost of the LPD-17s are irrelevant, as it is widely known in the ship-building community that for any warship starting at corvette size, the weapon system is around half the cost of the ship, getting up to two-thirds of the cost for DDGs. Then, the propulsion system of the LPD platform is totally out of adequation for what you intend to do with it. CODAD and 22 knots are a no-go for a front-line warship, especially for an ASW one. Too big of a target too, even for the RCS-reduction features common to most warships.
      And my favorite part:
      “Have the Marine Helicopters carry preprogram ASW Torpedoes that can be
      shoved out the backdoor or depth bombs that can drop on que from the
      So basically, you want to use the ship’s own sensors to guide helos (Marines helos at that!) to a subamrine, totally negating the main advantage of ASW helos, which is the capacity to carry their own set of ASW sensors and extend the reach of the platform’s weapons system and sensors… ^^

  • Rob C.

    I wonder if the Navy will have to shorten the number of LX if they keep building San Antonia Class ships. I know San Antonia is the parent design of the L-X, but the Navy does have a budget maintain all these additional ships and crew them..

    They should just bite the bullet and kick out the LX get going. That’s US Navy needs.

  • Lazarus

    This very high price is what happens when the Navy adds on ships at the end of a production run. It says something as well when a fairly unarmed amphib’s cost starts to approach that of a DDG ($8.1m.)