Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Ships Leaking $37 Billion Reflect Eisenhower’s Warning

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus confronted a tough choice in the competition to develop a small, speedy and adaptable ship to patrol close to shore in politically turbulent waters from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea.

When opposing bids from teams led by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Austal Ltd. came in for less than the Pentagon projected, Mabus made a costly and unusual decision: Build both versions of the Littoral Combat Ship -- a conventional steel-hulled vessel and a sharp-angled aluminum alternative that has been compared to a “Star Trek” spaceship.