mand’s AORs simultaneously [see story on page 12].
Such operations emphasize the need for all three ships to
have adequate command and control capabilities.
Although the LX(R) is still just a concept, one thing
has been defined.
“After thorough analysis, the Department of the
Navy determined that using a derivative of the LPD 17
hull form is the preferred alternative to meet LX(R)
operational requirements,” Myers said. “This determi-
nation sustains the program’s focus on requirements,
affordability and total ownership cost. The process of
choosing the LPD 17 hull form balanced cost with risk.
The LPD 17 derivative took a completely descoped
hull, then restored capabilities based on mission
requirements and cost caps. This allowed us to avoid
the risks associated with a complete redesign.”
The LX(R) program, however, will not be reserved for
the LPD 17 builder, Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls
Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. General Dynamics
NASSCO, which is competing with Ingalls to build the
third America-class LHA and the first T-AO(X) fleet
replenishment oilers, also will vie for the LX(R) program.
“Planning for LX(R) acknowledges the importance of
working with our partners in industry,” Myers said.
“Maintaining a stable amphibious and auxiliary ship
industrial base is important and right now the Navy is pursuing a limited competition procurement approach to
obtain the lowest price for the detail design and construction of the next amphibious assault ship [LHA 8] and
ships one to six of the Fleet Oiler Replacement [T-AO(X)].
“This competition is limited to NASSCO and Ingalls,
since they are the only two sources with the capability to
build both [ships]. However, the offeror with the lowest
combined LHA 8 and T-AO(X) total evaluated price will
be awarded the majority of LX(R) CD [contract design]
engineering man-hours through a Cost-Plus-Fixed-Fee
Level of Effort contract line item,” he said.
“Ingalls applauds the Navy’s decision to select the
LPD hull form as the basis of LX(R),” said company
spokesman Bill Glenn, who declined to further answer
questions from Seapower. “This supports commonali-
ty and reduces cost, technical and schedule risk for the
Navy and the shipbuilder.”
NASSCO also declined to respond to questions from
Seapower about the LX(R) competition, citing the
related T-AO(X) and LHA 8 proposal that includes
potential LX(R) design work, with spokesman Dennis
DuBard saying only that “NASSCO is committed to
continuous improvement and looks forward to work-
ing with the Navy to reduce the costs of shipbuilding.”
The LX(R) program runs a risk in timing. The program
will run coincident with the Navy’s No. 1 procurement
priority, the Ohio Replacement program to succeed the
Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines, with procure-
ment of 12 submarines to begin in 2021 and deploy the
first hull in 2031. Unless Congress appropriates a signifi-
cant plus-up in the Navy’s shipbuilding account, or funds
the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund, programs such
as the LX(R) face tough competition.
Asked about the risk to LX(R) because of the Ohio
Replacement program, Myers said, “Shipbuilding is a top
priority for the Navy, and budgetary, operational and
industrial base requirements are carefully weighed during
planning for LX(R) and Ohio submarine replacement.”
“At a time when the U.S. Marine Corps is being
forced to potentially deploy aboard foreign allied ships
due to a shortage of U.S. Navy amphibious warships,
the acceleration of the next generation of amphibious
warships, LX(R), is vital for U.S. Marines to have an
adequate number of ships to respond to emerging
threats and project force around the world.” ;
An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter deposits pallets of
ammunition on the flight deck of the amphibious transport
dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) during a certification
exercise in the East China Sea March 23. A derivative of
the LPD 17-class hull form will serve as the basis for a
new class of LX(R) amphibious ships.