The U.S. Navy awarded a $175 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract to Northrop Grumman for advance procurement of long-lead materials and performance of engineering/planning efforts for LHA 7, the second in the Navy's newest class of large-deck amphibious assault ships. The first ship, America (LHA 6) is currently 25 percent complete. The funds will be used to purchase long-lead time materials and major equipment, such as the main reduction gears, in support of the new ship and to perform initial design and planning. The work will be performed at the company's Gulf Coast facilities. With all contract options exercised, the contract value could reach $193 million.
"This contract marks the first milestone for the Navy's newest large-deck amphibious ship," said Kevin Jarvis, vice president of large deck programs. "Procuring long-lead material in advance of starting construction helps the shipbuilder manage cost and schedule, and managing our supply chain is one of our top priorities in shipbuilding. This contract is a first step to transition to the ship construction contract. There is a great team in place ready to perform and build another quality amphibious ship."
LHA 7 will be 844 feet long and 106 feet wide and weigh 44,854 tons. Its hybrid propulsion system will drive it to speeds in excess of 22 knots on its gas turbines, but also will run cost efficiently on its auxiliary electric propulsion motors. It will accommodate 1,204 crew and 1,871 troops.
LHA 7 will have an extended hangar deck with two higher hangar bay areas, each fitted with an overhead crane for aircraft maintenance. The ship will also provide increased aviation fuel capacity, stowage for aviation parts and support equipment. In addition, LHA 7will be able to embark and launch the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, cargo and attack helicopters, and the short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) variant F-35B Lightning II Strike Fighter.