WASHINGTON — A deal has been struck to build two more Navy guided missile destroyers at Bath Iron Works.

Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday afternoon that she had been informed of the agreement between the Navy and General Dynamics, the parent company of Bath Iron Works, by Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley.

Negotiations have gone on for months amid concerns that potential defense cutbacks could hinder a deal.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said in a statement that it’s been a “long, hard road” to reaching an agreement to build the second and third DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyers at Bath Iron Works.

“The finalization of these contracts will ensure good paying jobs for Mainers and quality ships for the Navy,” Snowe said.

BIW already is building the first of the massive destroyers, dubbed DDG-1000. The next two will be DDG-1001 and 1002.

Collins said deal brings the total value of the work BIW is doing on the three ships to more than $3 billion. There are about 5,300 people employed at the Bath shipyard, with the majority working on the under-construction DDG-1000.

Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that there have been attempts in the House to cut funding for the destroyers.

“This is incredibly welcome news for Maine and is a testament to the highly skilled, hard-working men and women at Bath Iron Works,” Collins said in a statement. “My goal has always been to help ensure a steady work flow at BIW and a strong industrial base for shipbuilding. That is why, despite repeated efforts in the House to cut funding, I fought hard for full funding for all three DDG-1000 ships, and I am delighted that an agreement has been reached.”

Stackley said in an email that, “While we continue to complete final mechanics of the contract award, we can proceed with funding material and other work to keep 1001 and 1002 on track, until actual contract award before the end of the fiscal year.”

Collins said in an interview Tuesday evening that negotiations over the deal were “extremely sensitive” and time-consuming, and that she was worried that in the current fiscal climate, money for the additional two destroyers could be lost — despite the Navy’s stated need for them — if an agreement had not been struck soon.

On several occasions, Collins convened officials from BIW and the Navy in her Senate office to try to iron out details, and she also helped arrange visits by Navy officials to BIW. Snowe, a former member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and current member of Senate intelligence Committee, also held multiple meetings with Navy officials and BIW to push them to reach a resolution, according to Snowe’s office.

Another Maine lawmaker, Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, also has been focused on the issue of safeguarding the destroyer work at Bath.

According to Collins’ office, the DDG-1000 Zumwalt class of ships are next generation destroyers that will “triple naval surface fires coverage as well as tripling capability against anti-ship cruise missiles.”

Jonathan Riskind — 791-6280

[email protected]

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