The defense spending bill for the 2020 fiscal year approved by the full House Appropriations Committee includes funding for three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers — one and possibly two of which will be built at Bath Iron Works. The bill also funds other construction projects at the MidCoast yard, according to a press release from Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. 

 The defense spending bill now moves to the House floor for a vote in the coming weeks. 

 “Since I was first elected to Congress, I’ve been a vocal advocate for Bath Iron Works,” Pingree said in a news release. “I’m pleased to once again join my colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee in advancing a defense spending plan that will secure shipbuilding work at BIW. We know that ‘Bath built is best built,’ which is why I am so glad that we’ve ensured that our Navy will benefit from this significant investment in the best yard in the country.”  

Bath Iron Works is one of the state’s largest employers, with 5,500 workers. 

The defense spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday includes $5 billion to build three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and $224 million to build future Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. 

The backbone of the modern Navy, Arleigh-Burke guided missile destroyers are built by only two shipyards – Bath Iron Works and Mississippi-based Ingalls Shipbuilding. 

The defense bill contains $156 million for the Zumwalt-class stealth destroyer program, all of which are built at BIW. The third and last Zumwalt, the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson, was christened earlier this month. 

Zumwalt ships, at $8.4 billion each, have been beset by cost overruns, while the Navy has struggled to fund a role for the class. 

The bill also includes $1.3 billion to build the next generation of frigate. Bath Iron Works is one of five shipyards currently competing to build 20 of this class of warship. The company is working with Navantia, a shipyard in Spain, on a design. The Navy is expected to award a contract for as many as 20 frigates next year. 

The frigate would be smaller than a destroyer and designed to support larger surface vessels. 

According to previous reports, the Navy wants to spend no more than $950 million on each frigate, with a total contract worth up $19 billion.  

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers cost about $1.75 billion each to construct. 

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