Navy has 'handshake agreement' with HII for four amphibious ships but wants force structure assessment before executing

By Aidan Quigley / June 9, 2021 at 1:39 PM

The Navy has a contract structure in place with Huntington Ingalls Industries for three LPD-class amphibious transport docks and one LHA-class landing helicopter assault vessel, but is unlikely to execute the contract, according to acting Navy chief acquisition executive Frederick Stefany.

Stefany, testifying Tuesday at a Senate Armed Services Committee seapower subcommittee hearing, said the Navy reached the "handshake agreement" with HII about a week ago for the four-ship procurement.

However, Stefany said department leadership wants to conduct a force structure assessment during its fiscal year 2023 budget review this summer and fall before executing the contract.

"The commitment of four ships at once, they would like to defer that commitment until they are able to do that force structure assessment," Stefany said. "Right now, indicators are we will not be able to execute that, but it's not a done deal, it's going through the process within the department for a final decision."

Congress is also awaiting a 30-year shipbuilding plan from the Navy, which Stefany told lawmakers the Navy will release in coming days.

"It is in the final, final, final chop cycle within the department," he said. "Any day now, sir, I apologize for all of us that we were not able to provide it before this hearing."