LCS Cost Goes Up Following Shock Trials
On July 4, following last month’s shock trials for the Independence-class littoral combat ships, Austal announced that costs for modifying the vessels to meet Navy shock standards would average roughly $10 million per hull.
"Design modifications and significant re-work of construction already undertaken are being implemented across the nine LCS vessels currently under construction (LCS 10 - 26). A $115 million one off write back of work in progress is required to recognize an increase in the cost of construction," the firm said. "The military shock standard and US Naval Vessel Rules has driven a significantly higher level of modifications to the ship design and cost than previously estimated."
The original block buy for the class put the cost per ship at roughly $350 million before the modifications.
Austal did not specify the scope of work required for the change. As it has multiple vessels under construction at various phases of completion, costs will vary by hull, with retrofits to vessels in advanced construction phases "more expensive and difficult to implement."
A U.S. Navy NavSea Command spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the changes.
The trial vessel, the USS Jackson, has completed two of three shock blasts and Austal says that she is performing as expected. Austal has recently been awarded an additional $11 million contract modification to cover the cost of repairs following each shock trial.
The next and final blast in the series will be progressively closer to the vessel, increasing the severity of shock to the hull.
A separate set of shock trials for a ship representing the second LCS series, the Lockheed-built Freedom class, is scheduled for August and September.