Congress funds 2 BIW destroyer programs

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BATH — Final passage this month of a defense bill by both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives fully authorizes funding for two destroyer programs being worked on at Bath Iron Works.

H.R. 6523, the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, supports the U.S. Department of Defense budget request for Navy Shipbuilding & Conversion. This request includes the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke and DDG-1000 destroyer programs at BIW.

The bill authorizes $15.7 billion for the whole program, as requested in President Barack Obama’s budget. That money includes $2.9 billion for two DDG-51 vessels and $186.3 million for completion costs of the DDG-1000 program.

One of the two DDG-51 destroyers that were authorized will be built at BIW. The shipyard will be responsible for building all three of the Navy’s DDG-1000 destroyers.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Appropriations committees, said in a prepared statement last week that the Navy “relies upon the dedicated workers at BIW to build the most advanced destroyers in the world. I am pleased that the final version of the defense policy bill authorizes the full funding for another destroyer to be built at BIW, as was proposed by the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this year.”

BIW has manufactured and delivered 32 Arleigh Burke-class ships since 1991.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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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.