Lockheed Martin Corp. says a double-digit jump in the cost of steel and rising oil prices have influenced the rise in the final price tag of its latest warship for the Navy to more than double the initial estimates. Navy officials last month told lawmakers the service's initial estimate of $220m per ship had ballooned to as much as $550 million, which they blamed on design changes that occurred during construction.
While the cost of the first two Littoral combat ships--one each being built by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics Corp.-- is not allowed to breach a congressional cost cap of $460 million per vessel, the ceiling does not apply to run-ups in inflation. Lockheed Martin is expected to deliver its first ship to the Navy in a few weeks, after the service completes its own set of trials and the company makes any necessary changes. The Navy has yet to set a date on when the ship will be commissioned.