WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to tour Maine’s Bath Iron Works this month to get an up-close look at the Navy destroyers being built at the shipyard.
The date of Hagel’s visit has not been announced. He apparently plans to stop in Bath as part of a scheduled appearance at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia from Nov. 22-24.
BIW is a major contractor for the Navy and one of Maine’s largest private employers, with more than 5,000 workers.
Workers are in the latter stages of construction of a first-of-its-kind destroyer, the DDG-1000, which has been dubbed a “stealth destroyer” because of its unique design intended to obscure it from radar.
BIW launched the first DDG-1000, the USS Zumwalt, late last month so that workers could test the engines and other systems and complete the final 15 percent of work on the ship. A christening ceremony was canceled last month because of the government shutdown.
A subsidiary of General Dynamics, BIW has contracts for two more DDG-1000s and is building two DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The shipyard has $2.8 billion in contracts to build at least four more Arleigh Burke destroyers through fiscal year 2017, with the possibility of a fifth ship if Congress awards additional funding.
Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine invited Hagel to tour BIW. They announced his planned visit.
“He will have an opportunity to meet its highly skilled, hard-working men and women,” Collins and King said in a joint statement. “We know the secretary will be impressed by BIW’s talented workforce and the recently launched DDG-1000, both of which are invaluable assets to U.S. national security and the Navy’s mission around the world.”
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