The Navy awarded Louisiana-based Swiftships LLC an $18-million contract for the detail design and construction of the first Landing Craft Utility (LCU-1700) surface connector, a program that has seen both timeline acceleration efforts and some slow-downs over the past two years.
The LCU-1700 is meant to be a “modified repeat” that looks and functions much like its predecessor, the LCU-1610 that dates back to the late 1950s, with the addition of some improvements to boost reliability and maintainability, according to the service
The LCU replacement effort had been slated to start in 2018, but in late 2015 lawmakers chose to bump up the funding and get started on design efforts with Fiscal Year 2016 dollars – at that time, the average age of the 32 LCUs in the fleet was 43 years, well beyond the 25-year life the craft were built for, creating a readiness challenge for the amphibious force.
The March 30 contract award is an $18-million fixed-price incentive contract for detail design and construction of one LCU-1700 craft, which is set for delivery about 31 months from the date of the contract award. Options for up to 31 more craft are included, which, if executed, would continue LCU delivery through 2027. The contract also includes options for product support, technical manuals, engineering services and more – which, if exercised in full, would bring the value of the total contract for the LCU-1700 program to more than $429.4 million.