The U.S. Navy awarded a $208 million contract option
to a Bath Iron Works-led team for
construction of a second Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) featuring an
innovative, high-speed trimaran hull. The 127-meter surface combatant ship,
equipped with open architecture-based combat systems and computing
environment, is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in July 2009. The
original contract was awarded in July 2003. Bath Iron Works is a subsidiary
of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD).
The Littoral Combat Ship is a key element of the Navy's plan to address
asymmetric threats of the twenty-first century. Intended to operate in
coastal areas of the globe, the ship will be fast, highly maneuverable and
geared to supporting mine detection/elimination, anti-submarine warfare and
anti-surface warfare, particularly against small surface craft.
The General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship will have one of the largest
usable payload volumes per ton of ship displacement of any U.S. Navy
surface combatant afloat today -- providing the flexibility to carry out
one mission while a separate mission module is in reserve. The General
Dynamics LCS's large flight deck sits higher above the water than any U.S.
Navy surface combatant and will support near-simultaneous operation of two
SH-60 helicopters or multiple unmanned vehicles. The ultra-stable trimaran
hull allows for flight operations in high sea conditions. In addition, the
deck is suitable for landing the much-larger H-53 helicopters, should that
become a future requirement.
The General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship design is based on a proven
Austal (Henderson, Australia) high-speed trimaran hull that is currently
operating at sea. The first trimaran LCS, Independence (LCS 2), is under
construction at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama.
The General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship's open architecture computing
environment -- another key factor in meeting the U.S. Navy's requirements
for a flexible, multimission ship -- enables industry's most capable,
affordable, non-proprietary solutions to be incorporated into the ship's
core mission system. This computing environment, developed by the General
Dynamics Advanced Information Systems team, provides a highly flexible
information technology backbone that allows "plug and play" integration of
both the core systems and the LCS mission modules. It meets Navy open
architecture requirements, strictly adheres to published industry standards
and facilitates the integration of commercially available products. It
allows for future growth and seamlessly integrates domestic and foreign
combat components to create a core mission system solution that
dramatically lowers acquisition and lifecycle costs.