Navy Budget Adds Five Ships to Plan for Spending $74.7 Billion by 2016

The U.S. Navy has added five ships to its six-year shipbuilding plan, proposing to spend $74.7 billion for 55 ships through fiscal 2016, according to the fiscal 2012 budget.

The plan, aimed at sustaining a 313-ship fleet, would add a DDG-51 destroyer, built by Northrop Grumman Corp., in fiscal 2014, according to the budget documents released today.

It adds a Littoral Combat Ship -- used for surveillance and mine-hunting in shallow water -- in 2012. It also adds three T- AO(X) supply ships, from budget year 2014 through 2016, and one T-AGOS ocean surveillance ship in 2013.

Northrop Grumman builds the T-AO(X) fleet oiler ships and T-AGOS surveillance ships have been built by McDermott Shipyards of Morgan City, Louisiana, now owned by Bollinger Shipyard in Lockport, Louisiana.

The plan would buy one fewer Joint High Speed Vessel, built by Mobile, Alabama-based Austal USA, in 2016.

The Navy’s shipbuilding budget would grow steadily to $15.1 billion in 2016 from $13.9 billion in the current fiscal year. Construction orders would reach a peak of 13 ships in 2013, up from nine ships this year and 10 in fiscal 2012.

The proposed boost comes at a time when Northrop Grumman is trying to spin off its shipbuilding unit. The company has three shipyards, in Pascagoula, Mississippi; Avondale, Louisiana; and Newport News, Virginia.

Virginia-class attack submarines, built jointly by Northrop and General Dynamics Corp., would be maintained at a procurement rate of two per year, according to the documents.

There is no proposed change to aircraft carriers. The next Gerald Ford-class carrier would be purchased in 2013.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Lerman in Washington at Dlerman1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net.

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