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The manager of the U.S. Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship program has been relieved of his duties in the aftermath of higher-than-expected cost increases on the ships.
Capt. Donald Babcock, the Navy's LCS program manager, was relieved of his duties Jan. 29 by his boss, Rear Adm. Charles Hamilton - who also is being reassigned.
Hamilton relieved Babcock due to "loss of confidence in his ability to command," according to a Navy source, who added that Babcock would be reassigned to "administrative duties."
Hamilton himself will be reassigned in February from his job as Program Executive Officer for Ships at the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington. Hamilton will work in the office that handles Foreign Military Sales until he is expected to retire in October. He will be replaced by Rear Adm. Charles H. Goddard, NAVSEA's vice commander and the former program manager of the DD(X)/DDG 1000 destroyer program.
Costs of the LCS - originally projected at $220 million per hull without the mission modules essential to the ships' ability to complete their missions - have risen considerably since construction of the first ship, the USS Freedom, began in 2004. Navy Secretary Donald Winter on Jan. 12 put a stop-work order on construction of the third ship after several cost studies showed a price range of about $331 million to $410 million for the Freedom, first of the Lockheed Martin variant of the design.
General Dynamics is building a competing version of the LCS, and a similar cost review of the GD program now is under way.
Four LCS ships - two of each type -currently are under construction. The Navy plans to build a total of 55.