Almost two years after the U.S. Navy’s costliest warship was first hobbled by manufacturing defects with its propulsion system, the two companies at the center of the breakdown are haggling over who will have to pay back taxpayers for fixing the problem.
Aircraft carrier-builder Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. and subcontractor General Electric Co. are in talks over who will pay the Navy for fixes it made on the propulsion system of the troubled $13 billion USS Gerald R. Ford. The service last month declared the system finally fixed, though the carrier still has a number of other shortfalls.
Those talks are sensitive enough that the Navy won’t comment publicly on how much taxpayers have spent so far fixing the issue. “Publishing interim cost information could jeopardize the pending negotiations,” Captain Danny Hernandez, a Navy spokesman, said in an email, declining to comment further.
The dispute over repayment “demonstrates the importance of the Navy evaluating options for warranties in its shipbuilding contracts to better protect itself and the taxpayer,” said Shelby Oakley, a Government Accountability Office director who monitors Navy shipbuilding programs, said in an email. (end of excerpt)
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