Bath Iron Works lands contract potentially worth more than $100 million

The littoral combat ship USS Independence is shown off the coast of Florida.
MC2 Trevor Welsh | U.S. Navy
The littoral combat ship USS Independence is shown off the coast of Florida.
Posted Aug. 25, 2014, at 1:23 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 25, 2014, at 6:41 p.m.

BATH, Maine — Bath Iron Works has been awarded a contract potentially worth more than $100 million to provide planning yard services for the littoral combat ship program.

“Bath Iron Works will be the single planning yard, providing engineering, planning, ship configuration, material and logistics support to maintain and modernize both variants of the [littoral combat ship] class,” according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The contract will be worth $100,418,069 if all options are exercised by the Navy.

BIW spokesman Matt Wickenheiser on Monday called the contract “an important win.”

“It really is a strategic win that allows us to leverage our existing experience and infrastructure to support the Navy,” he said. “As more littoral combat ships are delivered to the fleet over time, we expect there may be a couple of hundred people supporting the program.”

BIW is the prime contractor and is partnering with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Austal USA, CDI Corporation and Marinette Marine Corp. on the planning yard services contract to support both variants of the ship, the Freedom and Independence.

Bath Iron Works previously provided similar Interim Support Program services for the Independence variant. The Navy has four littoral combat ships in service and another 12 ships under contract for construction.

The littoral combat ship is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation, according to the BIW release. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface ships.

Bath Iron Works is also the planning yard for the DDG 51 and FFG 7 ship classes, according to the company.

“We are pleased for the opportunity to apply our planning yard experience in support of the Navy’s LCS program,” BIW President Fred Harris said in a news release. “We have been working hard to make every aspect of our business more affordable, enabling us to successfully compete for contracts like this. This award is a result of that work and we look forward to working with our industry partners to meet the needs of our U.S. Navy customer.”

Work will be performed in Bath and is expected to be completed by August 2015.

Earlier this month, Wickenheiser confirmed the company issued layoff notices to fewer than than 40 employees, although union officials said 53 welders and shipfitters, more than half of whom were hired this year, had received notices within a two-week period.

Asked Monday if the new contract modification would translate into new jobs, Wickenheiser said, “We’ll evaluate workforce needs as the contract proceeds.”

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