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Navy TAO(X) Oiler Shipbuilding Program: Background and Issues for Congress

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Technical Report

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Congressional Research Service Washington

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The TAOX oiler shipbuilding program is a program to build a new class of 17 fleet oilers for the Navy. The primary role of Navy fleet oilers is to transfer fuel to Navy surface ships that are operating at sea, so as to extend the operating endurance of these surface ships and their embarked aircraft. The Navy wants to procure the first TAOX in FY2016.The Navys proposed FY2016 budget requests 674.2 million to fully fund the procurement of the first TAOX. The Navy is requesting this funding in its regular shipbuilding account the Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy, or SCN, account, rather than in the National Defense Sealift Fund NDSF, a separate account in the Department of Defense DOD budget where DOD sealift ships and Navy auxiliary ships have been funded. It was reported in January and February 2015 that the Navy, as part of its acquisition strategy for the TAOX program, wants to issue a combined solicitation consisting of separate Requests for Proposals RFPs for the detailed design and construction of the first six TAOXs, the detailed design and construction of an amphibious assault ship called LHA-8 that the Navy wants to procure in FY2017, and contract design support for the LXR program, a program to procure a new class of 11 amphibious ships. It was also reported that the Navy wants to limit bidding in this combined solicitation to two bidders-Ingalls Shipbuilding of Huntington Ingalls Industries HIIIngalls and National Steel and Shipbuilding Company of General Dynamics GDNASSCO-on the grounds that these are the only two shipbuilders that have the capability to build both TAOXs and LHA-8.

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