Fight over the fleet

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JAN. 10 — The Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., announced Monday that they have requested $96.1 million from the Lockheed Martin Corp. and the Northrop Grumman Corp. for eight patrol boats that cannot be used, despite modifications, according to an article from Reuters.com.

Since 2002 Lockheed and Northrop have been working to lengthen the 110-foot patrol boats to 123 feet. While the Coast Guard initially accepted the completed cutters, further investigations determined they were unfit to operate under heavy sea conditions and could not handle slamming while traveling at high speed, according to the report. Lockheed and Northrop challenged the legality of the Coast Guard to reject these vessels after formally accepting them this past summer.

“[We were] unaware of the magnitude and cause of this design defect at the time of acceptance of the eight cutters,” said Coast Guard spokeswoman Laura Williams in the report.

Williams also added that the $96 million was not a final number, but it was a basis for negotiation. Lockheed Martin has agreed to review the request and negotiate, but spokesman Tony Scully said the estimated value of all the topside materials for the eight cutters only come to about $3 million.

These cutters were a part of a larger 25-year modernization project titled Deepwater. The original plan was to join forces with the two companies in question and produce more than 91 new cutters, and 195 new aircrafts plus communications and surveillance equipment. In the light of recent events the plan is now severely delayed, according to the article.

— Elizabeth Ellis