National Steel and Shipbuilding Company has been awarded a seven-year contract for the continuous maintenance and repair of four LSD-41/49 class ships and four LPD-4 class ships for the U.S. Navy. The contract includes one drydocking and 12 non- docking availabilities and has an estimated total value of $200 million over the seven-year period. All eight ships are scheduled to be home-ported in San Diego during the contract period. They are the USS GERMANTOWN (LSD 42), USS COMSTOCK (LSD 45), USS RUSHMORE (LSD 47) and USS PEARL HARBOR (LSD 52); and the USS OGDEN (LPD 5), USS CLEVELAND (LPD 7), USS DUBUQUE (LPD 8) and USS DENVER (LPD 9). The LSD and LPD amphibious ships transport Marines and their combat equipment to areas throughout the world, and launch and support landing craft and helicopters during amphibious assault and other military operations. Richard H. Vortmann, NASSCO's president, said, "With the award of this contract, the Navy has selected NASSCO to be the single prime contractor for continuous maintenance of all amphibious classes of ships home-ported on the West Coast." Vortmann noted that since 1997 NASSCO has been providing maintenance and repair services on five LHA-class and LHD-class ships for the U.S. Navy under a nine-year contract. Vortmann said the advantages of long-term maintenance contracts include more efficient production and lower costs for the Navy, facilitated by staffing continuity at the shipyards, improved planning and purchasing and the transfer of experience between ship availabilities.