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Courtney: Navy to purchase CVN-80, CVN-81 in dual-buy format, saving $4 billion


After several years of planning and discussions, the Defense Department notified Congress today that it would pursue a two-ship buy of the third and fourth Gerald Ford-class aircraft carriers, a move that will save an estimated $4 billion, a congressman overseeing Navy shipbuilding told Inside Defense.


That is $1.5 billion more than what Navy officials previously projected the service could save by purchasing the Enterprise (CVN-80) and the unnamed CVN-81 in a dual-buy format.


House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee Ranking Member Joe Courtney (D-CT) said the notification was sent today by Pentagon acquisition executive Ellen Lord. He said if the Navy were to purchase each ship separately, the service would spend $28 billion. The cost of both ships purchased in the planned two-ship buy format will be $24 billion, Courtney said.


In a statement issued today, the Navy said it "has reached a price agreement with Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding for a two-carrier buy of CVN-80 and 81. Further information will be available upon contract award."


Rep. Courtney said he spoke with Navy Secretary Richard Spencer today and said Spencer was pleased with the decision. Spencer was "generous in terms of acknowledging that this was really a collaborative effort with the Congress and the Department of the Navy in advocating for this," Courtney said.


Courtney has been one of several congressional proponents urging the Navy to adopt this acquisition approach.


"We've got to squeeze every bit of efficiency and savings going forward because the shipbuilding account is going to be under a lot of pressure to achieve the growth objectives both the Navy and Congress have called for," Courtney said.


Asked about next steps, Courtney said the Navy would now finalize and award the contract to aircraft carrier-builder Huntington Ingalls Industries.


The notification comes on the last day of the year, which is also the deadline Navy acquisition executive Hondo Geurts previously told Congress the service would make a decision about the two-ship buy.

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