During World War II, Bath Iron Works built more destroyers than the entire nation of Japan. And it isn’t in any danger of going out of business, even though nearly 70 years have passed since then.

While members of Maine’s congressional delegation and Defense Department officials all speak highly of BIW’s ability to build warships such as the Arleigh Burke and Zumwalt classes of destroyers, the vagaries of defense budgets and potential cutbacks in total federal spending leave the shipyard looking to diversify its output.

Seeking a hedge to keep employees working and profit margins healthy is a wise goal, but it is not a new one, and with very rare exceptions, the shipyard has not been able to realize it over the years.

BIW built its last warship for a foreign customer in 1970 – a destroyer for West Germany. While it has the ability to construct ocean- going steel vessels, the ones most in demand in international commerce, such as cruise ships and oil and natural gas tankers, are too large to navigate the Kennebec River from BIW to the ocean, and foreign shipyards already compete hard for those classes of vessels.

So the shipyard is looking instead at oceanic wind power platforms, though such business won’t be fully mature for years, perhaps decades.

And it is seeking to participate in the current Coast Guard fleet modernization program by submitting a proposal to design a new offshore patrol cutter in the 450-foot range.

The yard is not in any trouble. This week it won a contract for another Burke-class vessel for $680 million, with another in the pipeline. But a yard in existence as long as BIW has been, in an industry where project lead times are measured in years, must look as far into the future as possible to keep its present work force viable for decades to come.