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US Navy Sets LCS Unit Cost Objective: $160 Million

23 February 2003

The US Navy has set a threshold unit cost of $220 million and an objective of $160 million for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) acquisition, in FY '05 dollars, according to program manager James Heller.

Heller manages PMS-501, the LCS office established under the deputy program executive officer for ships, Rear Adm. Charles Hamilton, who yesterday led a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)-sponsored industry day forum in Arlington, Va.

The Navy plans on Feb. 28 to issue a formal request for proposals (RFP) for the LCS program. Heller plans to acquire two hulls during the so-called ""Flight 0"" phase of LCS; Heller added that these two vessels could be built to separate designs. A subsequent Flight 1 phase is to be handled as a ""separate contracting activity,"" he said.

The Navy has outlined the development and procurement plan for LCS as a ""sea frame"" with focused mission modules that could be added for missions in mine warfare, undersea warfare and anti-surface warfare.

The LCS acquisition--particularly the development of focused mission modules and new hull forms--presents opportunities for cooperation among domestic and international industry. ""My expectation...is that the mission modules [for LCS] will provide the broadest opportunity across U.S. and international industry to put sensors and weapons together in ways we have not been able to do before in a shipbuilding program,"" Hamilton said. ""There are some really good technologies [in aluminum and composite hull technology] and some really good price tags associated with that, across the Atlantic and Pacific.""