In the Kabuki Theatre that was the follow-on LCS 3 and 4 contracts, we finally have a reveal–of sorts. From al.com:
A second littoral combat ship to be built at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile will cost at least $547.7 million, according to figures released this morning.
The actual price of the contract awarded in May is $433.7 million, according to the Navy’s Sea Systems Command, but that number doesn’t include $114 million worth of work and material left over from a previous ship order that was canceled. The contract price also doesn’t cover the cost of government-furnished equipment, change orders and program management support, the command said in a news release.
Ok. So the Austal boat chalked up a hefty price cut. Now…with the prices of the NSC Cutters (according a Feb. Defense Daily report) converging in the $550 million dollar range, hopefully we’ll be able to put a damper on some of the “NSC Cutter as LCSette” debate.
I have yet to discover the LCS-1 pricepoint–which, if substantially less than the LCS-2, would make for a fascinating development. UPDATE: Defensenews has the skinny–LCS-3 and LCS-4 cost about the same…not good for the LCS-1 class:
The contract for LCS 3, awarded March 23 to Lockheed Martin, is for $470,854,144, according to a Naval Sea Systems press release issued Dec. 3. The ship reuses certain materials from an earlier LCS 3 canceled in April 2007. Those materials, valued at $78 million, bring the contract value to $548,854,144.
Certainly a far cry from the original $220 million proposal (which…isn’t that what the JHSVs cost?). Now, that said, I seem to recall that when the Virginia Class boats made substantial cuts to the bottom line (from $2.4 billion to $2 billion apiece), there was general celebration in Washington (For a sample, read this standard bit of Lexington Institute cheerleading). But for the LCS-2? The future amphib of the fleet? A big chop in the price?
Yeah. Listen to them crickets.