Bath shipyard could build 2 more destroyers

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BATH — The U.S. Navy has awarded Bath Iron Works a $680 million contract to build a new guided-missile destroyer of the DDG 51 line, according to the shipyard.

Along with that ship, DDG 115, the award includes a $665 million option for BIW to build DDG 116, the next vessel in that line. BIW expects DDG 115 to be delivered in 2016.

“The sure thing is, we’ve got money to build 115, and we expect, if funded by Congress, the 116 will come to us as well,” BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini said Wednesday.

“This award is a welcome addition to our backlog and is a positive sign that we will be building DDG 51s in Bath well into the future,” BIW President Jeff Geiger said Tuesday in a news release. “Along with the award of DDG 1001 and 1002 last week, it is another expression of the Navy’s confidence in our ability to build affordable, high quality ships. It also enables us to maintain a strong base of quality shipbuilding jobs in Maine.”

Geiger expressed the shipyard’s appreciation of the support that Maine’s congressional delegation has given to the DDG program, noting that “the delegation’s commitment to national defense and their advocacy on behalf of the workers of Maine continues to be an important factor in ensuring the stability of U.S. naval shipbuilding.”

DeMartini said the shipyard has already ordered long lead time material for DDG 115, but he did not have a firm date on when construction would begin.

Meanwhile, DDG 1000 is more than half complete, DDG 1001 is more than 20 percent finished, and production will soon start on DDG 1002.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.