Lockheed, General Dynamics to build high-tech ships

Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Dynamics Corp. are in, but Raytheon Co. is out as the Navy moves ahead with plans to build its next-generation Littoral Combat Ship.

The Navy yesterday down-selected from three companies that had received research and development contracts last July.

Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics won options to complete their designs of the high-tech, networked ships, which are intended to operate in coastal areas worldwide and reach into areas where current Navy ships cannot reach.

According to the Navy, Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin's contract option is worth $46.5 million; Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics' deal is worth $78.8 million.

Both deals include options to build as many as two Flight 0 Littoral Combat Ships. Actual construction could begin in January 2005, with the first ships to launch in 2006. Flight 1 construction contracts are expected in 2007.

"The Littoral Combat Ship decision represents an important milestone for the warfighter and the acquisition team," said John Young, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition. "The acquisition team is successfully changing how we buy ships, completing the source selection on schedule and developing affordable designs that can adapt to changing technology."

The ships will be designed with an open IT architecture to enable advanced surveillance and reconnaissance. They will be fully networked in order to share tactical information with other Navy aircraft, ships, submarines and joint units.

Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., and General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works subsidiary, Bath, Maine, are heading their companies' respective LCS teams.

Lockheed Martin's team includes Bollinger Shipyards Inc., Gibbs and Cox Inc. and Marinette Marine Corp. General Dynamics' team includes BAE Systems North America Inc., CAE Inc., Maritime Applied Physics Corp. and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems.

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