The Navy late last week awarded Ingalls Shipbuilding a $1.4 billion contract modification to begin the detail design and construction of LPD-29.
The service is using fiscal year 2017 shipbuilding and conversion funding for the effort and anticipates the work will be completed by July 2023, according to a Feb. 16 Pentagon announcement.
LPD-29, unlike the other amphibious ships in the San Antonio class, will have lithium-ion battery capacity. The other ships in the class will be backfitted with this new technology.
In May 2017, the Navy issued a presolicitation notice announcing it would initiate a contract action for LPD to Ingalls.
"As the designer and builder of every previous San Antonio (LPD-17) Class vessel, Ingalls is the only source with the requisite knowledge and experience to construct the 13th ship of the LPD-17 Class," the document said.
Industry and lawmakers in recent months have argued funding LPD-29 will keep the production line hot at Ingalls Shipbuilding as it competes for the Navy's dock landing ship replacement program. Ingalls submitted a design based on the San Antonio-class ship hull form. General Dynamics NASSCO is also competing for LX(R).
Ronald O'Rourke, the naval forces analyst at the Congressional Research Service, writes in a March 14, 2017 report that the Navy has not yet selected a vendor for LX(R), potentially making the Ingalls production line issue irrelevant.