Huntington Ingalls wins $15 billion deal for two aircraft carriers

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Thursday it awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc a $15.2 billion contract to build two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

The U.S. Navy told lawmakers in December it intended to pursue a block purchase of two Ford-class aircraft carriers, a step officials have said could save billions of dollars as the Trump administration tries to expand the size of the fleet.

The Navy commissioned the first Ford-class aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, in July 2017, three years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. The Ford cost about $13 billion.

The largest military shipbuilding company said the two-ship deal would save the Navy more than $4 billion.

The Navy released a force structure goal in 2016 that calls for a 355-ship fleet. It previously it had a goal of 308 ships. The Navy currently has a fleet of 287 warships

A 355-ship fleet would include 12 aircraft carriers, one more than the previous goal. The United States now operates 11 aircraft carriers, several times more than any other country.

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