Bath Iron Works to Build First in Upgraded Line of Destroyers

The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) is underway off the coast of southern California. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Estes/Released)
The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) is underway off the coast of southern California. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Estes/Released)

Bath Iron Works will build the first ship in an upgraded line of guided missile destroyers, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine said Saturday.

According to the senators, the new ship will be equipped with a powerful new radar that enhances a ship's ability to detect air and surface targets along with ballistic missiles.

King, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was able to gain authorization for the ship last year. Collins, who serves on the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, secured about $1 billion in funding, which is about two-thirds of the cost of the destroyer.

The ship is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, but is known as a "Flight III," said Matt Wickenheiser, a spokesman for BIW. The four DDG-51 destroyers currently under construction at the shipyard are "Flight II" versions.

The Navy has since listed the remaining $433 million for the ship as its second-highest priority on its "unfunded priorities list." Those are purchases that the Navy wants, but weren't included in the administration's 2017 budget because the budget was submitted before Congress passed a larger spending deal that included the $1 billion for the ship. The remaining funding is expected to be included in a subsequent budget to cover the rest of the cost of the ship.

Wickenheiser said BIW is currently working on the design of the ship and the Navy will begin contract negotiations with BIW. He also said the work will be done with the current shipyard workforce.

Although new jobs won't be added as a result of the work, he said, it will allow BIW to maintain a consistent workforce at the shipyard.

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