US Navy: Fewer Ships and No funds for DD-X?

Tuesday, August 17, 2004
The U.S. Navy proposes to build four new ships in 2006, with no funding earmarked for the new DD-X destroyer being designed by Northrop Grumman Corp., Reuters reported. It appears that rising fuel costs, health care costs and Iraq war costs have effectively conspired to sap the navy budget.

According to Reuters, it calls for the Navy to spend $6 billion in 2006 to build one of the two Northrop LPD-17 amphibious assault ships initially planned; one Littoral Combat Ship; one T-AKE logistic ship and one nuclear-powered Virginia-class attack submarine, both built by General Dynamics Corp. The Navy proposal, being evaluated by officials drafting the overall Pentagon budget, would cut the size of the aircraft carrier fleet from 12 to 11, and delay the CVN-21 aircraft carrier, another Northrop program, by one year.

Navy officials have cited mounting pressure on their budget, but the decision to omit funding for DD-X, the lead ship in a new class of warships, came as a surprise to industry watchers. The Navy had planned to begin construction of the first DD-X in 2005, with a completion date in 2007. "I would look with great concern on any delay in funding for this (CVN-21) critical program," Republican Sen. John Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said in a statement.

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