Bath Iron Works, as seen in a May, 2017, BDN file photo. Credit: File

BATH, Maine — The U.S. Navy has awarded Bath Iron Works a $44.3 million contract modification that allows the shipyard to continue for another six months as the planning yard for Arleigh Burke-class ships.

The modification technically continues the yard’s status as planning yard for the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate, although that class of ship has not been built since the late 1980s.

However, recently Navy officials have discussed reactivating the class as part of its effort to reach a 355-ship fleet.

Also on Friday, Bath Iron Works confirmed it would submit a concept design on a new class of guided missile frigate known currently as FFG(X).

The Navy recently released a design request for proposal that is expected to be awarded next year, with the final contract to be awarded in 2020, CNBC reported.

The overall program, likely 20 ships, will be worth about $15 billion, a defense analyst told CNBC. BIW will reportedly partner with Spanish ship designer Navantia to prepare the submission.

“Bath Iron Works evaluated many U.S. and foreign designs suited to the FFG(X) requirements and found that the family of frigates designed and built by Navantia is an ideal match,” BIW President Dirk Lesko said in a statement.

In addition to BIW, shipbuilders and defense contractors Austal, Lockheed Martin and Huntington Ingalls are expected to bid for the contract.

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