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But the shipbuilder probably isn’t the only party at fault in the case of the disappearing warship. “I think this issue reflects poorly on the entire LCS and Navy acquisition process, rather than just Austal,” Eric Wertheim, author of the definitive Combat Fleets of the World, told Danger Room.
Also suspect: General Dynamics, the Virginia-based shipbuilder that helped Austal’s recently-established Alabama yard produce Independence. General Dynamics subsequently ended its partnership with the upstart Australian firm and announced it would compete with Austal for future LCS contracts. After the split, General Dynamics was in a position to undermine Austal’s reputation, whether purposely or not.
The overall picture is one of poor planning, sloppy design and possible corporate infighting, and which has huge implications for the Navy as it struggles to build its future fleet.
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