The Pentagon yesterday awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries a $165 million contract for procuring long-lead-time materials and non-recurring engineering activities for the first San Antonio-class Flight II ship (LPD-30), according to a Defense Department statement.
"This is a significant milestone as we embark toward a new flight of LPDs," Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said in a company statement issued this morning. "The Flight II LPDs will be highly capable ships meeting the requirements and needs of our Navy-Marine Corps team. We look forward to delivering this series of affordable LPDs to our nation's fleet of amphibious ships."
Construction of LPD-30 is scheduled for 2020, according to the HII statement.
In April, the Navy announced it had selected HII to build the service's newest amphibious transport docks, previously known as LX(R). Flight II will replace the Navy's aging Whidbey Island-class and Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ships. (LSD-41/49).
The main change between San Antonio-class Flight I and Flight II is the "boat valley" will be closed for "stealth-type reasons" and it will become a storage area. The new design will be outfitted with the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar, can accommodate the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter and will have lithium-ion battery charging and storage, Steve Sloan, LPD/LX(R) program manager at Ingalls told Inside the Navy in April.
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, lawmakers and the Pentagon will have to consider what acquisition strategy the Navy should take for procuring the rest of Flight II. While there is some consensus that the Navy should use a block-buy strategy or a multiyear procurement, the final details are still being discussed, Maj. Gen. David Coffman, the Navy's expeditionary warfare director (N95), told reporters last month.
The Navy selected Ingalls over General Dynamics NASSCO to build the LPD-30.
"As the designer, builder, and life-cycle engineering and support provider of the entire San Antonio Class Flight I, HII is the only source with requisite knowledge and experience required to construct the lead ship of the San Antonio Class Flight II and provide the required [life cycle engineering and support]," according to an April 6 presolicitation notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website.