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01 Aug 2023

US Navy Gets 10 New Ships In Senate's FY24 NDAA

US Navy Gets 10 New Ships In Senate's FY24 NDAA
Originally posted on Naval News

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Last week, the Senate passed its version of the FY24 NDAA. The Senate’s version of the bill authorizes $844.3 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD), a $8 billion increase over the President’s request and $10 billion over the enacted amount for FY23. 

The bill allows the US Navy to procure 10 battle force ships:

  • one Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN),
  • two Virginia-class attack submarines (SSN),
  • two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDG),
  • two Constellation-class frigates (FFG),
  • one John Lewis-class fleet oiler (T-AO),
  • one submarine tender (AS),
  • one San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock (LPD). 
The future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28) moored in Port Everglades, in its name-sake city Fort Lauderdale, Fla., gets ready for its commissioning ceremony. (U.S. Navy Photo by Sgt. Gavin Shelton, USMC)

The funding for the extra San Antonio-class amphibious ship (LPD 33), has been a highly contested issue between the Navy, Marine Corps, Industry, and Congress. The original plan called for buying 13 Flight II ships, but the US Navy requested the eighth and last ship (LPD 32) in FY22. It did not request follow-on ships in its FY23 and FY24 budgets due to a pause in amphibious ship buys to carry out a study to reassess force-level requirements. 

US Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, has stated that the study was directed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and added that the Navy plans to resume buys in FY25.

According to the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Mike Gilday, the study was spurred by recent cost increases associated with the Flight II ships. Speaking at the McAleese Defense Programs Conference on March 28th, Gilday stated “The cost of that ship has gone from $1.47 billion (LPD 30) to the second ship (LPD 31) at $1.5 [billion]. The third one (LPD 32) that we’re contracting for right now is probably going to be between $1.9 and $2 billion — so that increase will be somewhere between [21%] and 25%” 

However, in a comment to Defense News, Huntington Ingalls officials stated that the LPD 32 contract was awarded within 5% of the LPD 28’s cost “In 2016, LPD 28 was awarded for $1.47B (shipbuilder cost), and 7 years later LPD 32 was negotiated with additional scope for $1.54B (shipbuilder cost), or within 5% of the LPD 28 award.”

PASCAGOULA, Miss. – The future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28) departed Huntington Ingalls Shipyard to conduct Acceptance Trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Acceptance Trials are the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship to the Navy later this year. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dustin Knight/Released)

The former Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger has repeatedly emphasized the importance of continuing the buys. “…the 31 combined amphibious warfare ships are vital components of our Nation’s seven ARG/MEUs. This number of ships allows the Nation to maintain at least two ARG/MEUs at sea, with the option to surge to five. Assuming our present trajectory, we will fall below the congressionally mandated floor of 31 amphibious warfare ships. From my perspective, this is a result of divesting these platforms faster than we are procuring their replacements. The result of not meeting this requirement became most acutely visible when we were unable to provide traditional disaster-relief response following the earthquake in Turkey earlier this year.” said Berger in a statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee in April this year.

When combined with the $32.4 billion for national security programs within the Department of Energy (DOE) and $9.5 for Defense-related Activities outside NDAA jurisdiction, the total funding for the fiscal year comes out to $886.3 billion. 

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