By Erik Wasson - 12/20/10 03:27 PM EST
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.