December 22nd, 2010: Congress approved a short-term spending bill Tuesday night, clearing a contract for Marinette Marine and Austal to each build ten littoral combat ships for the US Navy. President Obama is expected to sign the bill by midnight Tuesday.
The passed bill went through some wording changes allowing the US Navy to purchase ten ships each from Lockheed Martin and Austal USA. As stressed in the last few days of debate over this issue, the Navy once again reminded Congress that the plan to use two builders allows them to purchase 20 ships for the price of 19.
The Lockheed Martin ships will be built at the Marinette Marine yard in Marinette, Wisconsin and the Austal ships will be built at Austal’s US yard in Mobile, Alabama.
Each contract is worth nearly $5 billion and is expected to double employment at Marinette Marine by 2013. Austal ‘s Mobile facility will double in size and is expected to add 1,800 jobs over the next two years.
The ships are capped at $480 million each, with expected price per ship to range between $440 million and $460 million, according to the Navy. [Source: The Maritime Executive]
Picture: USS Independence (LCS 2) via Austal