The following is the May 22, 2023, 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 building two types 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. Required numbers and types of amphibious ships are reportedly ongoing matters of discussion and debate between the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). Projected numbers of amphibious ships, procurement of LPD-17 Flight II class ships, and proposed retirements of older amphibious ships have emerged as prominent items in Congress’ review of the Navy’s proposed FY2024 budget.
The Navy’s 355-ship force-level goal, released in December 2016, calls for achieving and maintaining a 355-ship fleet with 38 larger amphibious ships, including 13 LPD-17 Flight II class ships. The Navy and OSD have been working since 2019 to develop a new force-level goal to replace the 355-ship force-level goal, but have not been able to come to closure on a successor goal. Required numbers of amphibious ships are reportedly a major issue in the ongoing discussion. The Marine Corps supports a revised Navy ship force-level goal with 31 larger amphibious ships, including 10 LHA/LHD-type ships and 21 LPD-17s. Section 1023 of the FY2023 NDAA amends 10 U.S.C. 8062 to require the Navy to include not less than 31 operational larger amphibious ships, including 10 LHA/LHD-type ships and 21 LPD- or LSD-type amphibious ships.
The Navy’s FY2024 30-year (FY2024-FY2053) shipbuilding plan shows the projected number of amphibious ships remaining below 31 ships throughout the 30-year period, with the figure decreasing to 26 ships in FY2035 and to 19 to 23 ships in FY2053. Marine Corps officials have stated that a force with fewer than 31 larger amphibious ships would increase operational risks in meeting demands from U.S. regional combatant commanders for forward-deployed amphibious ships and for responding to contingencies
The Navy’s FY2023 budget submission proposed truncating the LPD-17 Flight II program to three ships by making the third LPD-17 Flight II class ship—LPD-32—the final ship in the program. The Navy’s proposed FY2023 budget submission requested funding for the procurement of LPD-32 in FY2023, but programmed no additional LPD-17 Flight II class ships or LPD-type ships of a follow-on design through FY2027. Congress, in acting on the Navy’s proposed FY2023 budget, funded the procurement of LPD-32 in FY2023 and provided $250.0 million in advance procurement (AP) funding for the procurement in a future fiscal year of LPD-33, which would be a fourth LPD-17 Flight II class ship.
The Navy’s FY2024 budget submission, like its 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 Navy’s FY2024 budget submission does not request any funding for the procurement of LPD-33 and programs no additional LPD-17 Flight II class ships or LPD-type ships of a follow-on design through FY2028. The Marine Corps’ FY2024 unfunded priorities list (UPL) includes, as its top unfunded priority, $1,712.5 million in procurement funding for procuring LPD-33 in FY2024.
The most recently procured LHA-type ship is LHA-9. The Navy’s FY2024 budget submission estimates its procurement cost at $3,834.3 million (i.e., about $3.8 billion). The ship has received a total of $2,004.1 million in prior year advance procurement (AP) and procurement funding. The Navy’s proposed FY2024 budget requests the remaining $1,830.1 million needed to complete the ship’s procurement cost.
Section 129 of the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 7776/P.L. 117-263 of December 23, 2022) permits the Navy to enter into a block buy contract for procuring up to five LPD-17 and LHA-type amphibious ships.
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