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Saturday, February 19, 2011

U.S. Navy Focuses On Surface Ship Funding

The U.S. Navy’s focus on funding surface fleet ships in the fiscal 2012 budget request is proving to be a bonanza for aircraft carriers, Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA-7) amphibious assault replacement ships and San Antonio LPD-17-class vessels.
The Navy plans to spend a combined amount of about $6 billion for construction and research and development work on those vessels during the upcoming fiscal year.
The budget request includes $555 million in construction funding and another $137 million for research and development for the CVN-21 and $530 million for the refueling and complex overhaul of the USS Abraham Lincoln CVN-72.
The budget also requests $2 billion for the LHA-7s, compared to $950 million in fiscal 2011, as part of the second increment for the program.
The largest of all amphibious warfare ships, the LHA-7 represents a step up from the Tarawa-class LHAs, which are reaching the end of their extended service life in 2015.
The budget requests $1.9 billion for the LPD-17s, compared to $1.4 million in fiscal 2011 for the 11th and final ship of the class. The funding includes line shutdown costs for the San Antonio-class ships, which are replacing 41 vessels across four different ship classes.
Over the next five years, the Navy plans to buy five more ships across all classes than the service had initially planned to acquire (Aerospace DAILY, Feb. 15). By comparison, the Navy is cutting its intended aircraft purchase numbers by 31 to 973.
For the previous decade, though, the Navy was much more focused on its aircraft. The service spent more than $50 billion for fixed-wing aircraft and aircraft-related work between 1999 and 2009, according to an Aerospace DAILY analysis of contracting data provided by the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting.
By comparison, the Navy spent a bit more than $15 billion for carriers — excluding nuclear components — and amphibious assault ships combined, the analysis shows.

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