BATH — An annual defense bill just passed by the Senate contains key funding for Bath Iron Works, including for an additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in 2020 for which the shipyard can bid.

The Senate passed the $716 billion legislation in an 87-10 vote on Aug. 1; it passed the House in a similarly lopsided vote the week before.

“This legislation provides essential resources to our military so that it can continue to meet ongoing and emerging threats to our nation and keep the American people secure,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement. “I am pleased that this bill also supports our men and women in uniform through the largest pay increase in nearly a decade, and it includes provisions that are important to the thousands of Mainers who work in the defense industry. The overwhelming support this legislation received is indicative of the bipartisan commitment to strengthening our national security.”

The legislation authorizes the Navy to procure three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in 2019. BIW is currently bidding on a multi-year contract to build 10 of those destroyers over the next five years. Generally, the destroyers are split evenly between Bath and its main competitor, Huntington Ingalls in Mississippi.

Also included in the bill is $250 million in advanced procurement funds for the Arleigh Burke program. Those funds could be dedicated to procuring a third Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in 2020. While the Navy has requested just two destroyers for that year, Collins has previously stated her desire to have three destroyers procured that year. If a third destroyer is authorized, it would likely be part of the multi-year contract BIW is currently bidding on.

Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers are some of the most heavily armed warships in the Navy.

The bill provides funding of $271 million for the Zumwalt-class destroyer program. BIW is the sole shipbuilder of stealthy, advanced destroyers.

As originally envisioned, the program would have seen 32 ships of the class constructed. However, cost overruns have meant the quantity has been reduced to three. The final ship of the class, the future Lyndon B. Johnson, is nearing completion at the shipyard.

Nathan Strout can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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