BATH, Maine (AP) - Stung by cost overruns, the Navy is looking
to return to a past when it controlled the shipbuilding process
from beginning to end.
The change follows a period when the Navy told shipyards what it
wanted the ships to do and then let them deliver rather than
getting mired in design details.
But that approach failed to control costs in construction two
ships, including a destroyer being built at Northrop Grumman
Corp.'s Ingalls shipyard in Mississippi.
The growing cost of warships in recent years has led the Navy to
reduce its orders, and the resulting loss of economies of scale has
driven costs of individual warships even higher.
That spiral has left everyone unhappy, including the Navy,
members of Congress, defense contractors - and shipbuilders who
fear for their jobs.
The Navy's tough talk follows a lean period for the shipbuilding
The six shipyards that build the Navy's largest ships - aircraft
carriers, amphibious assault ships, cruisers, destroyers and
submarines - have lost 24,000 jobs since 1991.
Earnings in the shipbuilding division of Northrop Grumman,
parent of Mississippi's Ingalls shipyard, have lagged compared to
their aerospace divisions, according to analysts.