Navy to delay contract for construction of frigates

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(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Navy will delay by at least a year its plans to award a multibillion-dollar contract to build frigates meant to succeed the littoral combat ship, Bloomberg News reported.

The Navy has decided to postpone until fiscal year 2020 its award of a contract for the frigate. Lockheed Martin and Austal, builders of the Freedom and Independence variants of the LCS, respectively, are offering competing proposals. Both variants have been criticized for cost increases, schedule delays and vulnerability in combat. The Government Accountability Office last month said Congress should consider delaying the Navy’s expected request for as much as $9 billion to start work on the 12 frigates.

“The Navy’s revised acquisition strategy is under development and will ensure designs are mature prior to entering into a detailed design and construction contract,” Rear Adm. Ron Boxall and Rear Adm. John Neagley said Wednesday in a joint statement delivered to the House Armed Services seapower panel. “The Navy will engage with industry” to “support an aggressive conceptual design effort, leading to a request for proposals to award” the design and construction contract in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, 2019, according to the statement.

The statement was unclear as to whether the Navy is delaying its choice between Lockheed and Austal as well as the award of the initial contract.

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By Professional Mariner Staff