By Geoff Fein

The Navy has issued its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) request for proposal (RFP) for construction of the Flight 0+ ships planned for fiscal years 2009 and 2010, including potential foreign military sales (FMS) requirements.

Industry responses to the RFP are due Oct. 30. The Navy plans to award contracts for two FY ’09 ships before January ’09. However, one industry source said they had heard the award date was closer to Jan. 19, 2009.

The new solicitation (N0002408R2307) replaces the previous RFP posted in March ’08.

Additionally, the Navy issued a solicitation for system development and demonstration (SDD) for the Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (SMCM UUV) that will support minehunting operations aboard LCS.

The new LCS Flight 0+ RFP comes on the heels of Congress’ decision to cut funding for a single LCS in FY ’08, leaving two ships in FY ’09.

President Bush earlier this month signed the FY ’09 defense appropriations bill that included $1.02 billion for two LCS in FY ’09, but cut $337 million for the lone FY ’08 ship. Additionally, the bill lifted the cost cap on the two FY ’09 ships (Defense Daily, Oct. 17).

However, the cost cap will be reinstated for the FY ’10 procurement, according to the Navy.

The new acquisition plan, as stated by the Navy last week, now calls for procurement of two ships in FY ’09 and three in FY ’10. The Navy will award one ship each to the two teams under the FY ’09 plan. The Navy will hold a concurrent competition for quantity in FY ’10.

Lockheed Martin [LMT] is partnered with Marinette Marine [MTW], Bollinger Shipyards, naval architects Gibbs & Cox, DRS Technologies [DRS], Rolls-Royce and Fincantieri. The team delivered Freedom (LCS-1) to the Navy on Sept. 18.

General Dynamics [GD] is teamed with Austal USA, BAE Systems, L-3 Communications [LLL], Maritime Applied Physics Corp., and Northrop Grumman [NOC]. The team christened Independence (LCS-2) on Oct. 4.

According to the solicitation at, the Navy intends for the construction contracts to be fixed price incentive (FPI). The Navy had attempted to get both Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics to sign onto new FPIs for LCS-2 and -3, respectively. But neither the Navy nor the two teams could reach an agreement, so the second ships for both companies were killed.

The FY ’09 ships will be the first ships built since the Navy terminated contracts in 2007.

The RFP also states that the scope includes special studies, analyses and reviews, provisioned items orders, self-defense test ship combat system procurement and installation, and post-delivery support.

“Lockheed Martin will carefully evaluate the Navy’s stated intentions and look forward to discussing this issue in more detail with them in the time ahead,” Diana Massing, a Lockheed Martin spokeswoman told Defense Daily.

The new acquisition plan delays a proposed 2010 fly-off between the two LCS designs.

“The acquisition strategy for FY ’11 and outyear ships is under development, although the Navy does not intend to downselect to one variant at this time,” the Navy said last week (Defense Daily, Oct. 17).

The Lockheed Martin team is building a semi-plaining monohull. The General Dynamics team is building an all-aluminum trimaran.

This past summer, a FMS was issued for purchase of four LCS at a cost of $1.9 billion. To date, it is the only FMS issued for LCS (Defense Daily, July 17).

The same week the Navy issued the new LCS RFP the service also issued a solicitation for the SDD for the SMCM UUV (N6133109R0002).

SMCM UUV is being developed to provide the Fleet Mine Warfare Commander with enhanced minehunting capability and to support battlespace awareness of the undersea environment, according to the solicitation.

SMCM UUV is envisioned to be a Mine Countermeasure (MCM) asset that will support minehunting operations aboard LCS and other ships. The SMCM UUV vehicles will be capable of operating independently in shallow water regions of the ocean to search for volume, proud, and buried sea mines, according to the solicitation.

The Navy intends to release the formal RFP, structured on a Cost Plus Incentive Fee basis, on or about Nov. 14. Offerors will have approximately 60 days after formal release of the RFP to submit proposals. The estimated closing date for proposal submission is Jan. 14, 2009, according to the solicitation..

The desired start date for the SDD phase is in the third quarter FY ’09, according to the solicitation.