Navy awards $1.3 billion contract for LPD-32

By Nick Wilson / April 3, 2023 at 11:05 AM

The Navy has awarded HII a $1.3 billion contract for the procurement of its third flight II San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, according to a Friday service announcement.

The award paves the way for construction to begin on LPD-32 after Congress approved the ship’s purchase in the fiscal year 2023 budget cycle. Work is expected to be completed by September 2029, the announcement states.

Ingalls Shipbuilding, the sole contractor for the LPD class, received $240 million in advance procurement funding in 2022 for the ship, according to a separate company announcement.

After the Navy omitted amphibious warships from its FY-24 budget request, the Marine Corps listed $1.7 billion for a fourth LPD as its top unfunded priority.

A Pentagon-directed pause in LPD procurement has put Navy and Marine Corps leadership at odds. While Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday argued that cost-reduction measures are necessary before procurement continues, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger has urged continued fielding of LPDs to maintain a fleet of 31 amphibious warships.

During a March appearance, Gilday suggested LPD-32 could cost as much as $2 billion by the end of the buy -- 21% to 25% cost growth over the first hull. Berger presented a more moderate cost increase picture, which he attributed largely to inflation.

During last week’s congressional budget hearings, lawmakers indicated support for continued LPD buys and skepticism toward the pause and cost-reduction study, while Marine Corps leadership said the LPD cannot afford to have its capabilities scaled down to reduce costs.

Gilday and Berger steered clear of the LPD debate today when they appeared on stage together at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference.

Gilday said the Navy and Marine Corps are in “good shape” in terms of shipbuilding with ample support from Congress. He said LPD-32 was put on contract at a “good price,” adding he hopes to leverage the Navy’s multiyear procurement authority to keep the LPD line active.