Navy to control shipbuilding following cost overruns

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.