The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Bath Iron Works a $23 million contract modification for additional fleet-management work related to the DDG-51 destroyer, a company official said Monday.

BIW spokesman Matt Wickenheiser said the contract modification involves design and planning efforts and is in addition to the company’s existing $2.8 billion in contracts to build four DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers through fiscal year 2017, with the possibility of a fifth ship if Congress awards enough additional funding.

Last week, Congress passed a defense-spending bill that includes authorization for an additional $100 million for the fifth DDG-51 Navy destroyer to be built at BIW. The money closes about one-third of a budget shortfall for the fifth ship. The remaining money would have to be included in upcoming defense appropriations bills.

Bath Iron Works earlier this month announced plans to lay off 118 workers on Dec. 20, the largest single round of job cuts at BIW this year. The layoffs followed three rounds of cuts in September and November and bring the company’s total job losses for the year to more than 230.

BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini said at the time that the layoffs were part of a necessary adjustment of the company’s labor force to accommodate its ever-changing workload.

BIW, a subsidiary of Virginia-based defense contractor General Dynamics Corp., eliminated a total of 121 positions in the layoffs in September and November.

BIW, a major contractor for the Navy and one of Maine’s largest private employers, has more than 5,000 workers at its Bath facility.

Reuters reported in November that the company is in the running for a multibillion-dollar contract with the Saudi Arabian government to expand its naval fleet. The Saudis are considering at least two ship designs, including the DDG-51.

BIW earlier in December also received a nearly $74 million extension on a contract for Navy destroyers and frigates. The Navy’s contract modification will allow the shipyard to continue with design, planning and other support services to maintain and modernize DDG-51 destroyers and FFG-7 frigates.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 207-791-6390 or at:

canderson@pressherald.com

Twitter: @jcraiganderson