The Navy is exploring whether it can achieve significant savings in parts and labor by buying the two aircraft carriers together instead of individually, the service’s main buyer of weapons said.
The Navy intends to deploy 12 aircraft carriers, instead of the current 11, as a key part of its planned expansion to 355 ships. In a request for proposals made on Monday, the Navy asked Newport News Huntington Ingalls shipbuilder to “further define the cost savings that can be achieved” if it makes a block purchase of the third and fourth carriers in the new Ford class.
A commitment of two vessels would provide a great boost in revenue for Huntington Ingalls and its subcontractors, including General Atomics, which makes the launch and recovery system of the aircraft.
The proposal is a vote of confidence in the hauliers program despite its record to date of large cost increases and delays. The first aircraft carrier of the class, the USS Gerald R. Ford, has become the most expensive warship in history, with a budget now limited by Congress of $ 12.9 billion, and delivered at least 32 months after of what was originally scheduled.
In order for the Navy to engage with two carriers at the same time, contractors working there must demonstrate significant savings, such as hours of work or reductions in supplier costs, James Geurts, the country’s main buyer of arms, told reporters. the army.
The decision is in the hands of Congress
Members of Congress supported the administration’s decision to maintain a fleet of 12 operators, as new vessels are added and older ones removed, but the details of the timing of financing, construction and delivery have not yet been resolved.
More than 100 lawmakers, led by the Virginia delegation, where the carriers are built, wrote to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in December urging a double purchase acquisition.
The Navy’s fiscal year 2019 budget includes a request to finance the third Ford class carrier, the USS Eisenhower, and plans fiscal year 2023 as the first year of total funding for what would be the fourth, a ship that will still be named and that he will replace the USS Carl Vinson when he is retired. Congress must approve the request.
Source: Mercado Militar