Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Rafael Peralta, then under construction at Bath Iron Works in this 2015, photo provided by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. (Courtesy of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, via AP)

Bath Iron Works has been awarded a $3.9 billion contract to build four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, one each year from 2019 through 2022.

“We are pleased with the opportunity for Bath Iron Works to continue our operation in the DDG 51 Program and to deliver much needed capability to our U.S. Navy customer,” said Bath Iron Works President Dirk Lesko.

The Bath shipyard will split a total of 10 destroyers with competitor Huntington Ingalls of Mississippi: four to BIW and six to Ingalls. The two shipyards have traditionally split the construction of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers evenly. BIW had no comment on the fact that there Ingalls was awarded two more destroyers than Bath.

While the contract is for $3,904,735,559, if all options are exercised, the contract could be worth $4,030,194,579 in total. The contract also includes the possibility for BIW to compete for five additional destroyers, one per year from 2018-2022.

Maine’s congressional delegation praised the announcement in a joint statement.

“We are proud of the hardworking and highly skilled men and women at Bath Iron Works who have earned the reputation that ‘Bath built is best built,’” said Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King, Rep. Chellie Pingree and Rep. Bruce Poliquin. “The award of these four ships over the next five years, including the potential for additional ships, demonstrates the Navy’s recognition of the high-quality destroyers BIW produces that are critical to our national security. At a time when threats to our nation are increasing, we will continue to push for an aggressive rate of growth for large surface combatants to ensure our nation’s sailors have the resources they need to carry out their national security missions.”

“We would like to thank the entire Maine delegation for their support for both Navy shipbuilding and BIW, and specifically for recognizing the importance of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers for our nation’s security,” said Lesko in a statement.

BIW is charging the Navy $975 million per vessel, according to a report in the Portland Press Herald, compared with Huntington Ingalls’ at $850 million per vessel.

The Navy had 64 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in 2017. BIW currently has four in production.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer has been the core of BIW’s production for decades. The shipyard has been building the destroyers almost continuously since 1988. The program was halted briefly in the mid-2000s with the intention of replacing them the advanced Zumwalt-class destroyers. Faced with higher costs and difficulties of incorporating new technologies into the new stealth destroyers, the Navy quickly backtracked, however, and in 2009 announced that they would be limiting the production of Zumwalt-class destroyers to just three ships and restarting the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, with some updates.

The awarded destroyers would roughly maintain BIW’s production rate for Arleigh Burke-class destroyers at the same level it has been for several years. With the completion of the third and final Zumwalt-class destroyer in sight, however, the shipyard is looking for a new contract that can replace that work.

The shipyard has placed a bid to build the Navy’s new frigate. If BIW were to win the bid, that could give the shipyard up to 20 more ships to build in the coming years. With procurement for those vessels starting in 2020, the shipyard would be producing two ships per year, in addition to their Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

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