Pentagon Halts Navy Winner-Take-All Destroyer Plan

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
(Reuters) - The Pentagon on Wednesday rejected for now a Navy plan under which Northrop Grumman Corp. and General Dynamics Corp. would compete for, rather than split, a potential $20 billion contract to build a new class of guided missile destroyer.

The action dovetails with moves in Congress aimed at blocking a winner-take-all approach, which the Navy has said could trim $300 million from the cost of each DD(X) destroyer. Any change to the existing production-sharing strategy "is premature at this time," Michael Wynne, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer, said in a Defense Department statement.

Wynne authorized the Navy to seek additional input from Los Angeles-based Northrop and Falls Church, Virginia-based General Dynamics on any future change in acquisition strategy.

Wynne also gave the Navy a green light to separate the development of DD(X)-related systems and software from the overall ship design effort, a move designed to give the program new momentum. Such systems include the ship's dual-band radar, integrated power and computing environment.

Opposed to an early winner-take-all stance were all four senators from Mississippi and Maine - respectively home to Northrop Grumman's Ingalls shipbuilding unit in Pascagoula and General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works in Bath - the two yards scheduled to split at least the first six ships' production.

In a March 1 letter to President Bush, these four - joined by another 16 senators, Republicans and Democrats - had argued that picking a single winner would drive the loser out of the business. That would limit forever U.S. ability to build destroyers and cruisers "at any significant rate."

The Defense Department in effect has put off a decision "to see whether Congress will in the end make the question moot through legislation," said Ronald O'Rourke, a naval analyst at the Congressional Research Service. A provision in the Senate version of a war-related emergency spending bill moving through Congress would bar the Navy from holding a competition.

Northrop agrees that a change in the current strategy would be premature but does not shrink from competition, said Randy Belote, a company spokesman. "If there is to be competition, the design should be completed before that happens," he said.

General Dynamics considers Wynne's decision "positive news" and "a very thoughtful response to a complex issue," said Rob Doolittle, a company spokesman.

Bush's spending plan for fiscal 2006, starting Oct. 1, calls for cutting $3 billion and two ships from a year-old plan to buy up to seven DD(X) destroyers through 2011.

The Navy said it would use the contractors' further input to make sure Wynne's office "has appropriate information for a final decision on the DD(X) acquisition strategy."

"The Navy continues to seek a DD(X) acquisition strategy to best serve the interests of the Navy, the industrial base, and the American taxpayer," said Lt. Jon Spiers, a Navy spokesman.

Maritime Reporter March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Russia Ships First Oil From Offshore Arctic Platform

President Vladimir Putin hailed Russia's first shipment of Arctic offshore oil on Friday, saying the platform decried by environmentalists will help Moscow expand its global energy markets share.

Shipping Turns From Banks to Equity Markets for Cash

Shipping companies are turning to equity markets to fill a growing funding gap, betting that investors hungry for decent returns will provide capital to a sector

Keel-Laid for Navy's 10th LCS at Austal Yard

The Navy and Austal USA held a keel-laying ceremony for the future 'USS Gabrielle Giffords', the Navy's 10th littoral combat ship (LCS), in Mobile, Ala., informs

Navy

Keel-Laid for Navy's 10th LCS at Austal Yard

The Navy and Austal USA held a keel-laying ceremony for the future 'USS Gabrielle Giffords', the Navy's 10th littoral combat ship (LCS), in Mobile, Ala., informs

NATO to bolster defence of E.European Allies

NATO is sending part of its naval rapid reaction force to the Baltic Sea as part of a drive to step up the defence of eastern European allies in response to the crisis inĀ Ukraine,

UN Seeks Sanctions Waiver to Ship Arms to Mali

The United Nations is seeking an exemption from a U.N. Security Council arms embargo on Ivory Coast so it can ship weapons and military equipment across the East

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1878 sec (5 req/sec)