Subcommittee Calls Public Hearing on LCS

Friday, February 09, 2007
The Navy’s ship for future sea warfare has become so problematic a congressional subcommittee has called a public hearing to get immediate answers. The Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee will hear from those responsible for the Littoral Combat Ship program.

In recent weeks, the program to build a fast, flexible and lightly manned warship has been beset with issues. Its advertised price of $220 million per hull rose dramatically to estimates toward $400 million a piece.

The Navy wants 55 of the frigate-sized, shallow draft ships, making it a cornerstone of the future fleet. It’s designed to operate close to shore with a ship’s crew of just 40 sailors and a mission crew and air detachment of 35. But due to concerns about the program, Navy Secretary Donald Winter issued a stop-work order Jan. 12 on the third ship now in production, the single-hull Lockheed-Martin version.

A competing design, a tri-hull ship from General Dynamics, is not affected by the stop-work order. Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., chairs the subcommittee that will be making inquiries today. Called to appear before the lawmakers are those responsible: Dolores Etter, assistant Navy secretary for research, development and acquisition; Vice Adm. Paul Sullivan, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command; Rear Adm. Charles Hamilton, Program Executive Officer for Ships; and Rear Adm. Barry McCullough, the director of Surface Warfare. Also appearing today will be the Fred Moosally, president of Lockheed Martin Marine Systems, and executives from Gibbs & Cox Naval Architects, Marinette Martin Shipyard and Bollinger Shipyards. Source: Navy Times

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