By Geoff Fein

The Navy last month issued its request for proposals (RFP) to teams led by General Dynamics [GD] and Lockheed Martin [LMT] for one Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) in FY ’08 and two in FY ’09, with the only significant change being a longer build cycle.

While the RFP was not publicly available, a source close to the program told Defense Daily there were some changes in the latest competition. One change was extending the build cycle out to 32 months from start of construction to delivery. The first two ships, the USS Freedom (LCS-1), built by Lockheed Martin, and the USS Independence (LCS-2), built by General Dynamics, were both built under a 24-month time frame.

The new contracts will also be fixed price incentive-fee for all three ships. Additionally, all three ships will be built under the current cost caps of $460 million per ship.

The Navy sought an increase to the cost cap in May 2007 (Defense Daily, May 10, 2007). In the FY ’06 National Defense Authorization Act, lawmakers had placed a $220 million cost cap on the fifth and sixth LCS for each seaframe.

While there are some changes made to the design, there were no changes to the ships’ requirements, the source said.

Industry responses are due May 30 with a contract award for the ships anticipated in the mid to late August time frame, the source added.

Meanwhile, the Defense Acquisition Board has scheduled a Milestone A review of LCS on June 18.

The review is part of the approved acquisition strategy. However, the timing of the review does not mean the FY ’08 and FY ’09 contract awards will occur in June, according to a source.