Shipyards agreed to have DDG-1000s built in Maine

Published 11:27 pm Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Pentagon proposal to have all three of the Navy’s new DDG-1000 destroyers built in Maine had the blessing of the two contractors that could build the multibillion-dollar ships, industry officials confirmed Wednesday.

Northrop Grumman said it agreed to a deal with General Dynamics. The deal would have Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, build the stealth destroyers while Northrop Grumman’s Mississippi yard builds the first two DDG-51 destroyers when that decades-old program is restarted.

The next-generation DDG-1000 survived scrutiny as Defense Secretary Robert Gates laid out plans Monday to slash several major weapons programs.

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Bath is already building the first of the ships, and the second was to have been built in Pascagoula by Northrop Grumman. The Pentagon plan added a third ship for the Maine yard.

The agreement between the rival shipyards was confirmed by Margaret Mitchell-Jones, a spokeswoman at Northrop Grumman.

The futuristic-looking DDG-1000, or Zumwalt-class destroyer, was envisioned as the successor to the DDG-51, also known as the Arleigh Burke, a program that dates back to the 1980s. Conceived as a stealth warship that could pound the shore with firepower from 100 miles away, the new ship features composite materials, an electric-drive propulsion and an unconventional hull.

After the Mississippi yard is awarded the first two DDG-51s under the program restart, the third to be built would go to Bath Iron Works, said Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss.