Lockheed Martin Corporation - Maritime Systems & Sensors, Moorestown, N.J. ($46,501,821) and General Dynamics - Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine ($78,798,188) are each being awarded contract options for final system design with options for detail design and construction of up to two Flight 0 Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).
"Today's Littoral Combat Ship decision represents an important milestone for the warfighter and the acquisition team," said John Young, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition. "The acquisition team is successfully changing how we buy ships - completing the source selection on schedule and developing affordable designs that can adapt to changing technology."
Operational experience and analyses indicate that potential adversaries will employ asymmetric capabilities to deny U.S. and allied forces access in critical coastal regions to include strategic chokepoints and vital economic sea lanes. Asymmetric threats will include small, fast surface craft , ultra-quiet diesel submarines and various types of mines.
"The future for the Navy-Marine Corps team requires our naval forces to dominate the near land battlespace and provide access for our nation's joint warfighting team," said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark. "LCS will deliver capabilities to enable our Navy to dominate in this critical littoral region. These ships will be a vital component of tomorrow's carrier strike groups (CSGs) and expeditionary strike groups (ESGs). We need this ship today."
Bollinger Shipyards, Inc, is also a member of the Lockheed Martin led team.
"From the outset of this competition, we have been focused on delivering a truly transformational, high speed solution with minimum risk and cost to the Navy. This clear win for our team not only demonstrates the Navy's confidence in our platform but also our team's ability to execute beyond expectations," said Mike Ellis, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Bollinger Shipyards.
Bollinger is a member of the Lockheed Martin led team which also includes naval architect Gibbs & Cox and Marinette Marine. Once options are exercised, construction of the first LCS will begin in January, 2005 at Marinette Marine with the launch scheduled in late 2006. Construction of the second ship will begin at Bollinger in 2006. The Navy is expected to announce a selection for additional LCS "Flight One" production in 2007 which could provide for the construction for up to 56 additional ships.
The Lockheed Martin-led team designed an innovative hull, or seaframe, that exceeds all Navy operational requirements for LCS, while also offering advantages as a low-cost, low-risk design.
With a length of 378 ft. and a beam of 57 ft., LCS will operate in less than 13 ft. of water - giving the ship access to thousands of more ports and littoral waters worldwide than today's Navy combatants
The design combines high-speed maneuverability with a comfortable seakeeping motion that supports launch and recovery operations, combat missions and optimal human performance from the crew. For example, the ship can turn 360 degrees in less than eight lengths at its rated sprint speed; it also can accelerate to full speed in less than two minutes.
Four large, acoustically optimized waterjets provide flexible, high performance propulsion from two diesel powerplants and two Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines.
A simple but innovative feature of the design is the ship's ability to simultaneously launch, handle, and recover manned and unmanned systems, such as small boats and robotic watercraft, quickly and safely. The design uses an overhead tracked crane system for loading and handling mission packages, significantly accelerating ship reconfiguration both pierside and at sea with a small crew and higher levels of safety. The ship's low profile enhances its stealth qualities, and supports excellent water access through stern and side doors, making it a superior platform for special operations forces.