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James “Hondo” Geurts, top acquisition official for the US Navy and Marine Corps, is working to coordinate government and industry efforts to keep the nation’s industrial base healthy and functioning during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The waterfront in this Navy town is always bristling with warships carrying guns, missiles and powerful electronic systems. But a new feature appeared recently in the form of laser weapons mounted aboard two ships based here. And more lasers are coming.

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The U. S. Navy’s decision to name an aircraft carrier after Pearl Harbor hero Doris Miller is laudable for the symbolism of honoring an African American worthy of having a ship named after him. At first blush, however, it is a misapplication of norms to apply the name of a relatively momentary hero to an aircraft carrier and not a destroyer, as has been the tradition for generations.

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Fincantieri Marinette Marine plans a major upgrade and expansion of its shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin should it secure the prime contractor award for the US Navy’s FFG(X) frigate program, shipyard president Rick Hunt told reporters Jan. 8. 
Several new facilities would be built at the yard to accommodate the frigates, Hunt said, including a major new assembly hall. The upgrades are needed to accommodate the frigates which, at about 7,400 tons, would be more than twice the size of the littoral combat ships (LCS) now in series production at Marinette.

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Onboard the USS Ford- The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) represents many firsts – new design, new electrical system, new propulsion plant, new aircraft launch and recovery system, new radars, new elevators and more. That the world’s most expensive warship ever built has teething troubles is well known, and that’s putting it mildly. During the Ford’s first operational period between mid-2017 and mid-2018 the carrier spent only 81 days at sea, and ten times had to cut short testing periods to come home with a serious problem. The Navy and its contractors were exceptionally mum about the detailed nature of many of those problems, stung by a never-ending stream of criticism from Congress and a host of media, commentators and analysts.

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WASHINGTON – A $22.2 billion block-buy contract for nine more SSN 774 Virginia-class submarines with an option for a tenth sub was announced Tuesday by the US Navy. Prime contractor General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) and major subcontractor Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding are the primary beneficiaries of the new deal.

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WASHINGTON – The US Navy’s top acquisition official was upbeat as he met with media Monday in his Pentagon office. He was just back after a quick trip to the long-troubled aircraft carrier Gerald R Ford (CVN 78), now underway off the Virginia coast on sea trials after 15 months in a shipyard.

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The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the most expensive ship ever built by the US government, and quite possibly by any government. No one knows the true price given the various computational ways to figure the costs of design and development of the ship and its various systems, building the carrier and buying thousands of installed systems and components, and getting all those systems to work as intended. The final bill isn’t in, but all things considered, it is safe to say it will be somewhere north of $15 billion.

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