Budget watchdog predicts major cost overruns for Marine Corps landing ships

Budget watchdog predicts major cost overruns for Marine Corps landing ships

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said it expects the cost of acquiring small amphibious ships to support the Marine Corps to be three times higher than the U.S. Navy expected.

In a new review of the Navy’s Medium Landing Ship (LSM) program, the CBO also notes that in addition to higher costs, 18 to 35 new ships face uncertainties in design, capability, size, and survivability. I think we are facing this.

The LSM program is critical to the Marine Corps’ new operational concept called Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO), which calls for distributing small forces around islands. The Navy’s proposed fiscal year 2024 budget calls for purchasing the first ship in 2025 for $188 million. The cost of subsequent ships will drop to about $150 million.

CBO rejected the Navy’s estimates and believes the plan would be significantly more expensive. In its report, CBO estimates that acquiring 18 ships under the program will cost the Navy between $6.2 billion and $7.8 billion (adjusted for inflation) in 2024. This equates to $340 million per ship to $430 million per ship.

If the Navy changes the LSM design to make it comparable to amphibious ships, each ship could cost between $475 million and $600 million, with an 18-ship program costing between $2 billion and $600 million. It could increase by $3 billion, $5 billion to $600 million. $6 billion for the cost of the 35-ship program.

The Navy could save money if the LSM was designed to the more commercial standards the Marine Corps is seeking. This would mean he $110 million to $140 million per ship, significantly reducing costs.

Uncertainty also remains in the design characteristics for potential shipbuilders.

Some of the uncertainty stems from the fact that the Navy is having trouble finalizing its preferred design from concepts presented by five companies. Moreover, the Navy has not yet made a decision on whether to build all ships at a single shipyard or at multiple shipyards.

In terms of size, the ship is expected to be 400 feet long, 55 feet wide, displace 2,522 long tons, and have a draft of 12 feet. She is expected to have a cruising speed of 14 knots, a range of 3,500 nautical miles, a passenger capacity of 70 people, and a service life of 20 years.

Marine Corps leadership is pushing for a total of 35 ships, nine for each Marine Coastal Regiment, and several more are expected to be ready for service at any time.

These ships are intended to transport, deploy, and resupply and redeploy Marine Corps littoral regiments as needed, particularly in and around theaters of conflict with the Western Pacific and China. CBO said the Navy could do more to clarify how LSMs are used, especially in conflict zones, and especially whether they are used at all.

“Ships that are not expected to face enemy fire in a conflict may be built with fewer defense systems and to lower survivability standards than ships that navigate disputed waters during a conflict,” the CBO said. Stated.

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