Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Another LCS Test, Another LCS Money Run

Good news; LCS didn't sink. Bad news, it is going to cost you hundreds of millions of dollars to get that warm glow of "success."
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..."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." (Austal)
I'm not sure what the number is this week, but let's run with a low even number; 40. Throw another $400 million minimum on the transformation pile.
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.
It's OK to laugh, as you may have a few more chances to get paid ... wait ... feel smug ... wait ... find out more about our exquisite little Tiffany jewel;
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.
Remember, LCS-1 was commissioned eight years ago. Over two WorldWars ago. Shouldn't we expect better?

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