BATH, Maine — Bath Iron Works officials expect to hear by Tuesday how many DDG-51 destroyers will be built in the next five years at the Bath shipyard and how many will be built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Gulfport, Miss.
The Department of the Navy notified Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King on May 3 that contracts for up to 10 ships would be awarded by June 4.
The shipyards account for only part of the approximately $1 billion cost of each ship, according to BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini. But the contracts to be awarded will mean billions in contracts for both Bath Iron Works and Ingalls.
BIW is not sure how many of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers will be awarded altogether, DeMartini said, but added, “One thing we are certain of is there will be some number of ships awarded to each shipyard, because the Navy needs two sources of suppliers.”
Bath Iron Works currently has five ships under contract, including two DDG 51 destroyers: DDG 115, the future USS Rafael Peralta, due for delivery in 2016; and DDG 116, the future USS Thomas Hudner, scheduled for delivery in 2017.
Also under contract are three Zumwalt-class DDG 1000s, a “stealth” destroyer that the Navy has since discontinued due to cost.
The first, the future USS Zumwalt, is currently on the shipway and “approaching a high state of completion,” DeMartini said. The DDG 1001, the future USS Michael Monsoor, is scheduled for delivery in late 2014 or early 2015, and the third, DDG 1002, the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson, is due in 2017 or 2018.
Ingalls and BIW are the only yards in the country that build DDG 51 destroyers, and they compete for the Navy contracts through a bidding process.
BIW was awarded the contract for the DDG 116 after outbidding Ingalls with a bid of $665 million, The Times Record reported at the time.
DeMartini declined to comment on how the contracts awarded might affect hiring at the shipyard — BIW is currently hiring electricians and preservation technicians for the five ships already contracted — but said instead that the announcement would “help us clarify the picture of our near-term future and enable us to help keep the workforce engaged.”
Sen. Angus King said in the May 3 announcement, “The talented workforce at Bath Iron Works builds some of the best ships in the world, and I have no doubt that they are strong competitors to build a significant number of these vessels.”