U.S. Navy Orders Nine More Arleigh Burke Destroyers for Undisclosed Price
Christening ceremony for the future USS Harvey C. Barnum at Bath Iron Works last Saturday (USN)
The U.S. Navy has awarded a pair of large block buy contracts for a total of nine additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, which are the backbone of the surface combatant fleet. Unlike past order announcements, the prices were not disclosed.
The contracts are split between General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine (BIW) and Huntinton Ingalls Industries (HII), which builds Arleigh Burke-class hulls at its Ingalls Shipbuilding yard in Mississippi. The two yards are the only producers of Navy destroyers and were the only two bidders. They will continue to produce this mission-critical vessel class until the debut of the as-yet-undesigned DDG(X) future destroyer.
The 1980s-era Arleigh Burke-class design was supposed to sunset years ago, and it would have been replaced in production by the futuristic Zumwalt-class, also built by Bath. That plan was scrapped when issues with the Zumwalt's cost and performance prompted the Navy to scuttle the program. The continually-upgraded Arleigh Burke remains the service's go-to platform for a multirole destroyer. The Navy's future DDG(X) will be larger and will have more room for lifecycle upgrades.