Military News

Navy to delay $4 billion Contract for Next Carrier

Navy to delay $4 billion Contract for Next Carrier
By Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg News© September 14, 2013

WASHINGTON

The Navy will delay by as much as a year awarding Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. a contract for at least $4 billion to start construction on the second vessel in a new class of aircraft carriers, according to U.S. officials.

Award of the “detail design and construction” contract for the John F. Kennedy, designated CVN-79, was planned for this month until recently, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the postponement hasn’t been announced.

The ship would be built at Huntington Ingalls’ Newport News Shipbuilding facility, the only place in the country that builds nuclear-powered carriers.

The Navy is grappling in a time of budget cuts with how to pay for a shipbuilding plan that anticipates spending$43 billion for three carriers in the new class, as well as $34 billion for 52 littoral combat ships and the costs, not yet estimated, for a 12-vessel nuclear submarine fleet to replace the Ohio-class subs.

Huntington Ingalls is operating under a $4.9 billion construction contract awarded in 2008 for the Gerald R. Ford, or CVN-78, the first vessel in the three-ship class. The Ford, already the costliest warship ever built, is projected to cost $12.8 billion when completed and fully equipped, 22 percent more than estimated five years ago.

Sean Stackley, the Navy’s assistant secretary for acquisition, made the decision to delay the Kennedy contract, the officials said. Also, the Pentagon’s independent Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office hasn’t completed an analysis of total costs for the Kennedy, which is required before a contract award.

Cmdr. Thurraya Kent, a Navy spokeswoman, said in an email that the service continues to negotiate with Huntington Ingalls on the contract and, “until these negotiations conclude,” the Navy intends to extend funding on a current, smaller, construction-preparation contract to “avoid a costly production break.” The Navy awarded that $296 million contract to the shipbuilder last year. Read More

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Photo Credit :The aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is the second ship in the Gerald R. Ford class, the Navy’s newest class of nuclear aircraft carriers. The ship’s first steel was cut in Dec. 2010, and delivery to the Navy is scheduled no later than 2022.
This Image was released by the United States Navy with the ID 110623-N-ZZ999-203