The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded a contract modification to General Dynamics for continued design and lifecycle sustainment of the Independence-class variant of US Navy Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to $92.56m. Work will be performed in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (84%); San Diego, California (11%); Mobile, Alabama (5%), and is expected to be completed by March 2025.

Two twin designs come under a single LCS ‘class’: the programme created the monohull Freedom and the trimaran Independence-class variants, each broadly intended to fulfill a similar set of missions but using dramatically different platforms to achieve the goal.

With numerous ships being decomissioned – the Navy will only keep 21 of the 35 LCSs it will have built until the end of their 25-year service life – the US Government is eager to ensure its existing fleet remains adequately operable.

The $33.68m funds will support General Dynamics an original equipment manufacturer of the Independence variant alongside Austal USA, under a sole source agreement given the fact that there are “no other supplies or services [that] will satisfy agency requirements.”

Similarly, Austal USA was contracted in a $11.7m deal to provide industrial post-delivery availability support for USS Pierre (LCS 38), the latest Independence vessel to be constructed.

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In the same spirit, Lockheed Martin won a contract to perform combat system integration services for the Navy’s Freedom-class vessels, ensuring their continued use, at the end of February 2024.