US Army watercraft program doubles its price 27/11/2023 | Fabio Di Felice

According to the US Army Acquisition Chief, Doug Bush, the new watercraft will cost more than double the original price. In detail, the Maneuver Support Vessel Light (MSV-L), as called by its builder Vigor Industrial, is going to cost from $27.8 million to $63.1 million, due to different reasons.

The first one is related to being the first-in-class in shipbuilding, which means facing all the problems in building a new naval platform and which involves all the parent companies that they have had to work through. Bush, who did not look impressed by the increasing cost, also reported that the money rise involves materiel, supply chain, labor increments, and availability, thus, on the other side, some Army’s requirements have driven some adjustments on the original project plan. To be specific, as reported in the US media, increases in material cost made up 75% of the growth, with labor and overhead accounting for the remainder.

The watercraft fleet is classified as one of the priority projects for the US Army, and producing them in a low-rate rhythm is not an option. The service has stressed the importance of it multiple times, referring to the Indo-Pacific region, as a critical capability in a contested logistics area of operation, in conflict as in competition. The vision is to have a littoral platform able to fill from intra-theater lift requirements to the ability to provide expeditionary refueling, water, and electrical power. For the first time since the mid-1990s, a year ago, the US service placed the new vessel into the water in Portland, Oregon, awarding a $980 million contract to Vigor company to build the new landing craft in 2027. According to the US Army, at this stage, the plan is to develop and procure 13 of the MSV-Ls.

Considering the increasing price and the need to renegotiate the new deal with Vigor, the US Army and Bush should be seeking additional funding within the next budget in order to consolidate and enhance the important program.

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