The following is the Oct. 20, 2022, Congressional Research Service report, Navy LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Amphibious Ship Programs: Background and Issues for Congress.
From the report
The Navy is currently procuring two type of amphibious ships: LPD-17 Flight II class amphibious ships, and LHA-type amphibious assault ships. Both types are built by Huntington Ingalls Industries/Ingalls Shipbuilding (HII/Ingalls) of Pascagoula, MS.
The Navy’s proposed FY2023 budget requests the procurement of LPD-32, which would be the third LPD-17 Flight II class ship. The Navy estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $1,924.0 million (i.e., about $1.9 billion). The ship has received $251.0 million in prior-year advance procurement (AP) funding. The Navy’s proposed FY2023 budget requests the remaining $1,673.0 million needed to complete the ship’s estimated procurement cost.
Under the Navy’s 355-ship force-level goal, which dates to 2016, a total of 13 LPD-17 Flight II class ships are to be procured. The Navy and DOD since 2019 have been working to develop a new force-level goal to replace the 355-ship goal. In addition to that effort, the Navy is finalizing a study on required numbers of amphibious ships. The Navy’s FY2023 budget submission proposes truncating the LPD-17 Flight II program to three ships by making LPD-32 the final ship in the program. The Marine Corps’ FY2023 unfunded priorities list (UPL), however, includes, as its top unfunded item, $250.0 million in AP funding for a fourth LPD-17 Flight II class ship (LPD-33) to be procured in a future fiscal year.
The Navy’s proposed FY2023 budget also requests continued procurement funding for LHA-9, an LHA-type amphibious assault ship. The Navy’s FY2023 budget submission estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $3,539.2 million (i.e., about $3.5 billion). The ship has received $350.0 million in prior-year advance procurement (AP) funding and $568.6 million in prior-year procurement funding. The Navy’s proposed FY2023 budget requests a further $1,085.5 million in procurement funding for the ship. Under the Navy’s FY2023 budget submission, the final $1,535.1 million needed to complete the ship’s estimated procurement cost was to have been requested for FY2024. Following the submission of its proposed FY2023 budget, however, the Navy identified a shortfall of about $293 million in required funding for LHA-9. The Navy states that it will program this additional $293 million for FY2024 during the next budget cycle, increasing the amount to be requested for FY2024 to about $1,828 million and the ship’s total estimated procurement cost to about $3,832 million.
The Navy’s FY2023 budget submission presents LHA-9 as a ship being requested for procurement in FY2023. Consistent with both prior-year congressional authorization and appropriation action and Section 126 of the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 6395/P.L. 116-283 of January 1, 2021), CRS reports on Navy shipbuilding programs, including this report, treat LHA-9 as a ship that Congress procured (i.e., authorized and provided procurement—not advance procurement [AP]—funding for) in FY2021. Navy officials have described the listing of LHA-9 in the Navy’s FY2023 budget submission as a ship being requested for procurement in FY2023 as an oversight.
Section 124 of the FY2021 NDAA, as amended by Section 121 of the FY2022 NDAA (S. 1605/P.L. 117-821 of December 27, 2021), provides authority for the Navy to use a block buy contract for the procurement of three LPD-17 class ships and one LHA-type amphibious assault ship.
The Navy’s LPD-17 Flight II and LHA shipbuilding programs pose multiple oversight issues for Congress. Congress’s decisions on the LPD-17 Flight II and LHA programs could affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements and the shipbuilding industrial base.
Download the document here.