The Navy says a contract for a new amphibious ship will be awarded early in response to the coronavirus pandemic but refuses to disclose the program office's current schedule.
Navy acquisition executive Hondo Geurts yesterday told reporters by phone during a roundtable the service is accelerating the contract for the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock LPD-31 as a way to mitigate damaging effects the coronavirus may have on the defense industrial base.
The service's previous and current budget justification documents indicate the Navy had already accelerated the contract award date to March 2020 from December 2020. That change followed Congress authorizing and appropriating funds for the ship in the fiscal year 2020 defense spending bill despite the Navy not seeking funds for the vessel in the budget request.
When asked to clarify how the Navy would further accelerate the award, Capt. Danny Hernandez told Inside Defense the acquisition executive's comments were referring to the program office's internal schedule.
"The original program plan was to award the ship in December 2020; that timeline was accelerated and was reflected in the [president's 2021 budget] submission," he said.
"However, due to internal negotiations the plan moved to the right beyond March and was recently accelerated back to the left as Mr. Geurts highlighted," Hernandez continued.
Hernandez declined to disclose the program office's updated schedule.