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Bath Iron Works awarded contract for fifth DDG 51 destroyer

By
Stephen Feller
Crewmembers of USS Thomas Hudner man the rails as the ship comes to life during her commissioning ceremony on Dec. 1. The guided-missile destroyer is the 66th overall Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and part of the Flight IIA group of vessels expected to receive many of the technological upgrades included on new Flight III vessels. Photo by Airman Olivia K. Manley/U.S. Navy
Crewmembers of USS Thomas Hudner man the rails as the ship comes to life during her commissioning ceremony on Dec. 1. The guided-missile destroyer is the 66th overall Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and part of the Flight IIA group of vessels expected to receive many of the technological upgrades included on new Flight III vessels. Photo by Airman Olivia K. Manley/U.S. Navy

Dec. 26 (UPI) -- General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works has been contracted for construction of a fifth DDG 51 Flight III destroyer, months after being awarded a contract for four of the next generation of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

The $910 million contract, announced by the Department of Defense ahead of the Christmas holiday, is a modification to a $3.9 billion contract awarded in September for four of the destroyers.

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BIW's contract in Septmeber -- awarded at the same time as a $5.1 billion contract for Huntington Ingalls Industries for six DDG 51 vessels -- was for four destroyers. The contracts also included options for five more ships from each company.

"In the most recent multi-year competition, BIW was awarded four ships," the company said in a press release. "The Navy held a separate competition for an option ship as part of its commitment to growing the fleet. The Arleigh Burke class destroyer will be funded in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget."

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Work on the new destroyer is expected to be complete by May 2026, according to the Navy.

While the Burke-class was expected to be replaced by the Zumwalt-class, the Navy's decision to build just three of the vessels pushed the branch to look to an upgraded version of the Burke, resulting in restarting the program and designing the Flight III vessels.

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The new configuration for the Burke-class includes the under-development AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar, which is currently under production and is expected to be included on the first of the Flight III vessels, the USS Jack H. Lucas.

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BIW currently has five DDG 51 destroyers in production -- USS Daniel Inouye, USS Carl M. Levin, USS John Basilone, USS Harvey C. Barnum and USS Patrick Gallagher -- as well the Zumwalt-class destroyer USS Lyndon B. Johnson, in addition to the USS Louis H. Wilson, Jr., and the five new vessels awarded this year.

"Bath Iron Works is privileged to continue producing state-of-the-art surface combatants for the longest running naval shipbuilding program in our nation's history," said Dirk Lesko, president of Bath Iron Works.

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