The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to cancel the second of two advanced Navy combat ships – Litorral Combat Ships (LCS) – to be built by General Dynamics (GD)
, the Washington Post reported.
Since its inception, the LCS program has been hailed as a major plank in the program to grow the U.S. Navy fleet
from 275 to more than 300 ships, but the program has been beset in recent months as lawmakers and the military questioned rapidly escalating production costs.
General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin (LMT)
had each won contracts to build two prototype LCS, but the Navy in April canceled one prototype from Lockheed. Under the legislation, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin would still complete one prototype ship each, at a combined cost of more than $600 million.
The LCS program should ultimately yield 55 small, fast-moving craft that would operate close to shore, hunting submarines and destroying underwater mines.
The recent legislation, which passed 29 to 0, still must pass the Senate and the full Congress and be signed by the president. The cancellation of the ship was part of a $459b defense appropriations measure that funds the Pentagon through 2008. (Source: Washington Post & Staff Reporting)