Thursday, April 05, 2007

Navy Official warns on cost overruns: 'We can't let costs continue to grow, or quite frankly, we won't have a Navy'

Above: An LCS near completion. The littoral combat ship is the first of the U.S. Navy's next-generation small surface combatant for operations close to shore. It combines the capabilities of a small assault transport with a flight deck and hangar for two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, the ability to recover and launch small boats from a stern ramp, and enough cargo volume and payload to deliver a small assault force with armored vehicles to a roll-on/roll-off port facility.

WASHINGTON -- A senior Navy official is warning that rising costs in key programs such as Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics' next-generation surface combat ships could derail efforts by the department to modernize its fleet and aircraft.

"We can't let costs continue to grow, or quite frankly, we won't have a Navy and the Navy won't have work to do," said Adm. Michael Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations, during a panel discussion this week at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition.

The Navy has awarded contracts for four ships that initially were estimated to cost $270 million each under the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, two to Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp. and two to Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp. But the cost of Lockheed's first ship -- which is roughly 73 percent completed -- has already soared to roughly $350 million, according to the Navy.

Read the rest at the LA Times

Related Link:
Lawmakers push for more ships than Navy can take