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03:46 PM, March 20, 2018
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The USS Ford is seen here during its construction. (US Naval Air Systems Command photo)

The US Navy released a CVN 80/81 two-ship buy Request for Proposal (RFP) to Huntington Ingalls Industries - Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) on March 19 to further define the cost savings associated with procuring next two Ford-class carriers together, under a single contract.

"In keeping with the National Defense Strategy, the Navy developed an acquisition strategy to combine the CVN 80 and CVN 81 procurements to better achieve the Department's objectives of building a more lethal force with greater performance and affordability," said James F. Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Research Development and Acquisition. "This opportunity for a two-ship contract is dependent on significant savings that the shipbuilding industry and government must demonstrate. The Navy is requesting a proposal from HII-NNS in order to evaluate whether we can achieve significant savings."

The two-ship buy is a contracting strategy the Navy has effectively used in the 1980s to procure Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and achieved significant acquisition cost savings compared to contracting for the ships individually. While the CVN 80/81 two-ship buy negotiations transpire, the Navy is pursuing contracting actions necessary to continue CVN 80 fabrication in fiscal year (FY) 2018 and preserve the current schedule. The Navy plans to award the CVN 80 construction contract in early FY 2019 as a two-ship buy pending Congressional approval and achieving significant savings.

Enterprise (CVN 80) is the third ship of the Gerald R. Ford class and the numerical replacement for USS Eisenhower (CVN 69). CVN 81, not yet named, will be the fourth ship of the class and will be the numerical replacement for USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).

CVN 80 began advanced planning and initial long-lead-time material procurement in May 2016.

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