US Navy releases final terms for coastal warships
WASHINGTON Jan 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy on Tuesday released the final terms for a multibillion-dollar competition between General Dynamics Corp (GD.N) and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) to design a new class of coastal warships.
Industry executives said they received the final request for proposals for the Littoral Combat Ship program and will study the document before finalizing bids for a contract valued at more than $5 billion through 2014.
One source familiar with the document told Reuters the document set a March 29 deadline for bids. The source was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
The Navy, which expects to buy 55 of the new ships overall, had no immediate comment but said it would release a statement later on Tuesday.
The competition will decide whether the Navy proceeds with a steel monohull design built by Lockheed and Wisconsin-based shipyard Marinette Marine, or an aluminum three-hull design built by General Dynamics and its Australian partner, Austal (ASB.AX).
Lockheed's first LCS ship, Freedom, will be deployed two years ahead of schedule. Lockheed said it was "acutely aware of the Navy's emphasis on affordability" and already cut labor costs on its second ship by 30 percent under a fixed-price contract that was on cost and on schedule.
"We anticipate improving on that in the future," said a spokeswoman for the company. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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