Navy awards Littoral Combat Ship contracts to Austal, Lockheed Martin

By Justin Katz  
September 18, 2018 at 5:22 PM

The Navy today awarded Austal USA and Lockheed Martin contract modifications to build three Littoral Combat Ships, according to a Defense Department statement.

Austal received a contract modification to build two LCSs, while Lockheed will build one ship.

The dollar amount of the contracts was not disclosed. In fiscal year 2018, Congress appropriated $1.5 billion for LCS procurement.

"The Navy may release a competitive solicitation(s) for additional LCS class ships in fiscal [year] 2019, and therefore the specific contract award amount for this ship is considered source selection sensitive information and will not be made public at this time," according to the statement.

However, Austal said in a statement regarding its vessels: "The specific value of each contract is under the congressional cost cap of $584 million per ship."

The three FY-18 LCS awards represent the Navy's 30th, 31st and 32nd procurement, fulfilling the service's requirement. However, congressional appropriators agreed to fund three LCSs in FY-19, despite the White House's objections. The Navy only requested one.

The number of LCSs appropriated in FY-19 became a contentious issue on Capitol Hill earlier this year because the Navy is scheduled to begin procuring a new frigate in FY-20.

Elected officials -- particularly those representing the states in which Austal and Lockheed's shipyards are based -- argued the extra ships were necessary to retain skilled workers, smoothing the transition to building the future frigate.