Funding measure allows Navy to buy littoral combat ships from two contractors

The language is included in a Senate measure to fund the government. It is similar to wording in the House-passed full-year resolution that allows the Navy to waive its normal procurement rules and purchase littoral combat ships from two competing contractors. Normal Navy contracting is winner-take-all. 

The Navy is considering buying 10 new shore-hugging ships from both Austal USA and a team of Marinette Marine and Lockheed Martin. The Navy’s rationale is that competition has significantly reduced the price of the ships, which are designed to sweep for mines in coastal waters, fight pirates and chase drug smugglers.

The initial plan was to buy only 10 ships from one winning contractor. The Navy cannot move ahead with the new proposal to use two shipbuilders without congressional authorization.