BIW secures nearly $2B contract for 2 destroyers

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BATH — Bath Iron Works’ parent company and the U.S. Navy have signed the final construction contract for the second and third ships in a line of DDG-1000 destroyers.

General Dynamics and the Navy reached agreement in July on the price and major terms for the Zumwalt-class vessels, known as DDG-1001 and DDG-1002.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, announced the nearly $2 billion contract Sept. 15.

The news arrived the day after the Senate Appropriations Committee provided $453.7 million to fund President Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget request for the DDG-1000 program.

BIW will construct most of both ships. The Navy previously awarded a contract for the first of the three vessels, DDG-1000, which as of July was half complete and scheduled to be delivered in 2014. The DDG-1001 was about 20 percent complete at that time, while design work had already taken place on the DDG-1002.

“This is an important milestone representing a significant addition to our workload over the next several years,” BIW President Jeff Geiger wrote to the shipyard’s employees. “With this contract comes the challenge to find more efficient and less costly ways to operate in every part of our business. We must succeed in this effort to show the Navy our ability to produce two more high-quality ‘Bath Built is Best Built’ ships within their budget constraints. Our future opportunities will be determined by our ability to become more affordable.”

In a prepared statement, Collins said “Bath Iron Works has set the standard for producing high quality ships for the Navy at the best value. These contracts are key to maintaining the skilled workforce at BIW while meeting the requirements of the Navy.”

“Time and again, the Bath team has proven its capabilities, and this award is particularly reflective of the Yard’s ability in the current budget environment to build the highest quality ships possible while remaining committed to cutting costs to the American taxpayer,” U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said in press release.

DDG-1001 is expected to be delivered in fiscal 2015, with DDG-1002  to follow in fiscal 2018, according to an announcement by U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, and Mike Michaud, D-Maine.

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

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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.