The [US] Navy truncated orders for its ill-fated Littoral Combat Ship because the small vessels were vulnerable to attack and too lightly armed. Now, a new report suggests that the frigate intended to replace it may cost 56% more than projected partly because it’s bigger.
The service projects that 18 of 20 new frigates will cost an average of $940 million each in inflation-adjusted dollars. The first two are estimated at about $1 billion each because of one-time costs.
But the Congressional Research Service alerted lawmakers this week to “a potential issue” worth reviewing: the accuracy of Navy cost estimates considering that “ships of the same general type and complexity that are built under similar production conditions” tend to have similar -- and substantially higher -- costs per ton of displacement.
CRS raised a warning because at 7,400 tons, the frigate to be built in Wisconsin by a unit of Italy’s Fincantieri SpA is about three-fourths the size of an Arleigh Burke destroyer and carries many of the same weapons systems. The latest of the destroyers are estimated to cost $1.9 billion apiece.
That could put the cost for most of the frigates at as much as $1.47 billion each, “an increase of about 56%,” based on comparing their tonnage to the destroyers’, the research service said. (end of excerpt)
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