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Lockheed's Littoral Ships Running 11 Months Late, U.S. Navy Says

  • Rival shipbuilder Austal averages less than half that delay
  • It could give Australian company advantage in new competition
120502-N-ZZ999-006 SAN DIEGO (May 2, 2012) A Sailor secures the welcome lei on the bow of the littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) as she arrives in her homeport of San Diego. After two years of training off the coast of Florida, the ship's 23-day transit from Mayport, Fla., to San Diego, marks the successful completion of testing of the mine countermeasures mission package to detect, localize, and destroy mines in a tactical environment. Independence also transited the Panama Canal and conducted a port visit and operations with the Mexican navy. The littoral combat ship is a fast, agile, networked surface combatant designed to operate in near-shore environment, while capable of open-ocean tasking, and win against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines, and swarming small craft. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Jan Shultis/Released)
Source: U.S. Navy

Lockheed Martin Corp. will deliver its eight remaining Littoral Combat Ships an average of 11 months late, more than twice the five-month delay for rival shipbuilder Austal Ltd., the U.S. Navy estimates.

The contractors build different versions of the ship that’s been criticized for rising costs, equipment breakdowns and potential vulnerability in combat. Now, Austal’s timelier performance may give the Australian company an advantage in the winner-take-all competition for a guided-missile frigate intended as a more robust successor.