May 4, 2013

Maine windfall? Navy plans to buy up to 10 destroyers

Maine's U.S. senators say Bath Iron Works should figure prominently in the building process.

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

WASHINGTON – The Navy plans to announce contracts next month for as many as 10 new destroyers, and Maine's Bath Iron Works is expected to compete for the work.

click image to enlarge

In this September 2012 file photo, the last of the U.S. Navy's original run of Arleigh Burke destroyers, as it heads down the Kennebec River off of Phippsburg, Maine. The Navy plans to announce contracts next month for as many as 10 new destroyers, and Maine's Bath Iron Works is expected to compete for the work.

The Associated Press

Navy officials informed Maine's U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King on Friday that the Pentagon plans to announce multi-year contracts for as many as 10 DDG-51 destroyers by June 4.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, each of which costs well in excess of $1 billion, would be procured by the Navy from fiscal year 2013 to 2017. The Navy's previous budget included requests for nine DDG-51 destroyers during that period.

BIW, which is owned by General Dynamics, has built 36 of the 66 DDG-51 destroyers purchased by the Navy since 1985, according to statistics from the Congressional Research Service. The other 30 were built by BIW's primary competitor, Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.

King and Collins said the announcement is good news for BIW and its roughly 5,000 workers.

"The fact that the Defense Department is committing to building up to ten DDG-51s over the next five years means a guaranteed opportunity for BIW to compete to build these ships," Collins said in a prepared statement. "It provides a much-needed sense of job security for the highly-skilled men and women who work there."

King said: "The talented workforce at Bath Iron Works builds some of the best ships in the world, and I have no doubt that they are strong competitors to build a significant number of these vessels."

Both of Maine's senators serve on Senate committees with influence over military budgets and procurement. Collins serves on the Appropriations Committee while King is a member of the Armed Services Committee.

Both senators worked to pass a new spending bill for the Department of Defense that would enable the Navy to award multi-year contracts for new ships this year. Additional details about the Navy's shipbuilding plans for fiscal year 2014 and beyond are expected to be discussed next week during congressional hearings.

Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:

kmiller@mainetoday.com

On Twitter: @KevinMillerDC

 

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