BATH — The budget released by the White House this week calls for $750 billion in military spending – a nearly 5 percent increase – but there don’t appear to be any direct gains for Bath Iron Works.

The $4.5 trillion budget issued by President Trump would cut nonmilitary spending by nearly 9 percent in order to increase military spending. The budget has to be approved by Congress, and Trump’s proposed budget cuts in past years have not survived the legislative process intact.

While the military portion of the budget includes funding for items that Trump has advocated for, such as the creation of a Space Force and money for a border wall, the budget does not include additional funding for shipbuilding that could bring more work to Bath Iron Works.

The budget includes $5.8 billion in funding for three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the main type of ship built at BIW. That’s one ship more than was expected in 2020, but budget documents released by the Navy show that it expects to procure one less destroyer in 2021 to compensate.

BIW has been building Arleigh Burke-class destroyers almost continuously since the late 1980s. The program was briefly canceled in the mid-2000s in favor of the highly advanced Zumwalt-class destroyers, but the Navy eventually reversed course, cutting the Zumwalt program to three ships and restarting the Arleigh Burke program.

The Navy ordered four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in a multi-year procurement deal from BIW last year, before subsequently ordering a fifth destroyer from the shipyard. BIW’s only competitor for construction of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, Huntington Ingalls of Mississippi, was initially awarded six destroyers.


The 2020 budget also included $1.3 billion in funding for the first ship in a new class of frigates. BIW is one of five shipyards currently competing to build the those frigates. The company is working with Navantia, a shipyard in Spain, on a design for the ships. The Navy is expected to award a contract for as many as 20 frigates next year.

The Navy is also looking to ramp up shipbuilding in the coming years in order to reach its goal of a 355-ship fleet.

According to Rear Adm. Randy Crites, the Navy will be reaching its goal of a 355-ship fleet by 2034 – up from earlier plans that wouldn’t see the Navy hit that target until 2050 at the earliest. It’s not clear how that change could affect BIW yet, but Crites said Wednesday that the Navy will be releasing a new 30-year shipbuilding plan next week to show how the Navy plans to achieve a 355-ship Navy by 2034.

BIW declined to comment on the pending budget.

Nathan Strout can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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