BATH, Maine — Bath Iron Works has received a $7.5 million modification to a previously existing contract to make changes to the USS Independence, a littoral combat ship, or LCS, built by former BIW partner Austral.
The modification is incremental funding already in place with the Navy for the ship, which was commissioned in 2010 in Mobile, Ala., BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini said Monday.
Bath Iron Works will provide an engineering and design package for the work, which will largely be executed at General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, Calif., according to DeMartini.
The LCS is a new, smaller Navy vessel designed to be used in shallow waters close to shore. Its design and funding have proved controversial. For instance, in March of this year, Bloomberg News reported that a top Navy official questioned whether the LCS, as designed, lacked adequate weaponry.
“Conceived in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the ship was designed to replace aging frigates and other vessels,” Bloomberg News reporter David Lerman wrote. “It’s intended to perform missions such as clearing mines, hunting submarines, interdicting drugs and providing humanitarian relief.”
The Navy projects that the $37 billion LCS program will yield 52 ships. Of those, four have been built and the Navy has agreed to buy 20 more through 2015, according to Lerman.