Northrop Grumman Gets Bonus For Cole Repairs

The Navy has given Northrop Grumman Corp. perfect scores and a $3.9 million performance award for its final work on the USS Cole, the destroyer torn open by a terrorist attack and repaired at the defense contractor's Pascagoula shipyard.

The Cole received a patriotic send off April 19 from Northrop Grumman Ship Systems' Ingalls shipyard and arrived at its homeport in Norfolk, Va., five days later.

The Aegis guided missile destroyer underwent 14 months of repairs and restoration at Ingalls. It was heavily damaged during a refueling stop in Yemen on Oct. 12, 2000, when terrorists pulled an explosives-laden skiff alongside the destroyer.

Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman said the company received the highest marks possible in four categories: schedule, technical, management and cost. The performance period was January through April.

A Northrop Grumman spokesman said defense contractors and the military often build performance awards into contracts.

"The USS Cole is a national symbol of the indomitable spirit of the United States Navy,'' said Philip A. Dur, president of the company's ship systems sector. "She was repaired with emotion, energy and a deeply felt sense of patriotism by our shipbuilders in Pascagoula.''

Ingalls, with 10,000 employees, is Mississippi's largest private employer.

The Cole was upgraded with two new 27-ton main engines, 350,163 feet of electrical cable, 550 tons of new steel and improved security.

The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington says it expects the final tab to be about $250 million, about one-quarter of the ship's original cost.

Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network has been blamed by U.S. officials for both the Sept. 11 attacks and the blast that disabled the Cole.