Long-Lead Materials Bill for 2 San Antonio Class Ships Rises to $536.6M
Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (Avondale Operations), New Orleans, La., is being awarded a $50.7 million modification to previously awarded contract N00024-01-C-2224, for additional long lead-time materials in support of two Amphibious Transport Dock Ships, LPD 22 (USS San Diego) and LPD 23 (USS Anchorage). This brings the total value of long lead time contracts awarded to date for these two ships to $536.6 million.
Both ships are LPD-17 San Antonio Class amphibious assault support vessels, a new class of ship which is just entering service. The ships’ mission is to embark, transport, land, and support elements of a US Marine Corps Landing Force. This class of ship has had its share of teething problems, however, and so has the New Orleans shipyard to which most of this contract has been assigned.
Under this contract, Northrop Grumman will procure long lead material necessary to prepare for construction of LPD 22 and LPD 23. The effort will include not only procurement but also inspection, testing, storing and maintaining long-lead material, material sourcing, material ordering, vendor interface and material quality assurance. Limited advance construction activities for LPD 22 are also included.
LPD 22 San Diego’s keel laying will occur in 2005, its christening ceremony is tentatively scheduled for 2007, and the ship is scheduled for commissioning as USS San Diego in 2009. LPD 23 Anchorage’s keel laying will occur in 2006, its christening ceremony is tentatively scheduled for 2008, and the ship is scheduled for commissioning as USS Anchorage in 2009.
The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC issued this contract. Work will be performed in New Orleans, LA (88%) and Pascagoula, MS (12%), and is expected to be complete by January 2010. Note that the Northrop-Grumman’s Avondale Operations in general and its New Orleans shipyard in particular have been focus of past problems with LPD-17 vessels. As the San Antonio Express-News has noted, these problems have even prompted relocation of some construction work to Pascagoula, where guided missile destroyers and amphibious vessels even more complex than the LPD-17 San Antonio Class are built.
USS San Antonio, whose capabilities fit humanitarian relief missions so excellently, was not operational in time to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.