Home » Budget Industry » Delivery Schedule for Bath Iron Works Destroyers Under Navy Review, Further Delays Likely

Delivery Schedule for Bath Iron Works Destroyers Under Navy Review, Further Delays Likely

USS Rafael Peralta (DDG-115) before the christening ceremony at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine on Oct. 31, 2015. US Marine Corps Photo

USS Rafael Peralta (DDG-115) before the christening ceremony at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine on Oct. 31, 2015. US Marine Corps Photo

The Navy is considering extending by several months the delivery dates for the first two restart General Dynamics Bath Iron Works Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers (DDG-51).

A recent delivery schedule for the Burkes under construction, seen by USNI News, indicate the delivery dates for the two ships are under review by the service.

Sources told USNI News that BIW has requested pushing delivery of Rafael Peralta (DDG-115) from October 2016 to January 2017 and moving the delivery date of Thomas Hudner (DDG-116) from August 2017 to January 2018.

Respectively the ships would deliver three and seven months later than originally planned, according to sources familiar with the slippage.

Guided missile destroyer Zumwalt (DDG-100) at General Dynamic Bath Iron Works on Feb. 20, 2015. US Navy Photo

Guided missile destroyer Zumwalt (DDG-100) at General Dynamic Bath Iron Works on Feb. 20, 2015. US Navy Photo

The delays are understood to be — in part — due to yard resources and capacity directed toward the emerging three ship, $22 billion Zumwalt-class (DDG-1000) program as well as a shortage in specific skill sets in the yard.

Neither the Navy nor BIW would not comment specifically on the schedule delays when contacted by USNI News last week.

“Both the Navy and BIW are committed to collectively managing risks and controlling costs in order to deliver both DDG-1000 Class and DDG-51 Class ships to the fleet in the most efficient manner possible,” read a written statement from the Navy’s office of Research, Development and Acquisition (RDA).

A representative of BIW told USNI News the yard does not comment on ship schedules.

The two ships are part of the 2009 restart of the Navy’s DDG-51 line after the truncation of the DDG-1000 line to three ships and cancelation of the next-generation cruiser program (CG(X)).

Since DDG-51 work resumed in 2011, the Maine yard has had problems managing costs for the restart ships — evident in the price increase from the two restart ships to the Navy’s multi-year ship deal in 2013. According to the contract awards from 2011 to 2013, costs per-hull at BIW increased about $31 million from $679.6 to $710.8 million.

To compare, BIW DDG-51 rival Huntington Ingalls Industries Ingalls Shipbuilding shrunk about $31 million from its $697.6 million per-hull restart award to a price of $666.2 million per-hull in the 2013 multi-year award.

The news of the likely schedule slip comes as BIW is in the midst of negotiating a new deal with its workforce, according to a Sunday story from The Associated Press.

“[BIW] told Machinists Union Local S6 that it wants to negotiate contract changes by year’s end, instead of waiting until spring when the current labor contract expires, so it can shore up the framework for a labor pact to produce a competitive bid for Coast Guard Off-shore Patrol Cutters (OPC) in March,” read the story.

USNI News understands workforce capacity, particularly electricians needed for the complex electrical systems in the DDG-1000, have been partially responsible for the yard’s overall delays.

Management and labor has had been at odds as to how to solve the capacity issues for months. Shortly after BIW’s 2013 award, General Dynamics NASSCO president Fred Harris was appointed head of the Maine yard.

Harris has said repeatedly that if BIW does improve its efficiency and does not win the estimated $10.5 billion Coast Guard OPC program the yard may shed up to a third of its workforce.

“We have no other option,” he said during the christening of Peralta on Oct. 31.
“We must change.”

  • Rob C.

    That is challenge. I know people cry out about no welfare for corporations. This is a dying field, if they got enough work to do their going lay off people that’s what creating the delays and costs rising. It’s plain stupid. Unless you want import your warships from overseas.

    • PolicyWonk

      The art of shipbuilding is one of those that has to be carefully managed, in order to ensure that we don’t lose the skills required to maintain the strategic industrial base (especially when it comes to submarines).

      • sferrin

        Same goes for planes, tanks, missiles, and ESPECIALLY nuclear devices. I’d be astonished if there is a single person left in the work force who can say “I helped design that nuclear warhead”. In the US that is.

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    From my point of view the DDG-1000 was a pipe dream from the start and should have never been started by the administration

    • sferrin

      Did you even read the article?

      • disqus_zommBwspv9

        Yes the delays on the new Burkes are being cause by BIW having to use resources to build three pieces of junk. That even if those three can be bought into service at 22 billion they most likely will not deploy till 2030 Due to all the teething issues that comes when you forget the concept of Keep It Simple

        • sferrin

          You sound like a classic Luddite. Anything new is garbage and to be feared and viewed with suspicion. This will no doubt come as a great shock to you but new stuff is generally more complex than that it replaced. Same goes for everything from PCs to cars to video games. Given that they’ve yet to sail the fact you’ve already declared them “junk” really says all that needs to be said.

          • disqus_zommBwspv9

            Actually I have experience destroying Junk approved by Navsea by letting my bunch of high school educated OJT and A school grads types show the brass how worthless some designs are by demonstrating that the equipment was either sailor proof or not. Now I believe only 1 ddg1000 should have be build and it should have been done at a US Navy shipyard. But since before the 70’s there has been no more construction in Naval Shipyards that is moot. And while high tech is okay the low tech approach can open people’s eyes. Like the time in an exercise when slow moving Airforce attack aircraft were used in a anti ship strike mode took out a Carrier. They though they were fast moving helicopters. The navy called foul the Airforce loved it

          • sferrin

            Anecdotes can be amusing. I wouldn’t recommend basing your strategy around them though. For example, I wouldn’t recommend replacing aircraft carriers with speedboats just because one guy decided to waste a lot of money by breaking the rules of an exercise.

          • disqus_zommBwspv9

            The Aircraft were part of the exercise and the 4 star was looking for something to shake up the exercise. So when the 4 star said do it. His staff (us did it) sort of his swan song since he retired two months later.

  • sferrin

    Anybody who thinks there wouldn’t be delays is in the wrong business. There’s no way you can do what was done to the Burke production line and NOT have problems starting back up. Was anybody actually dumb enough to think they wouldn’t lose skilled labor?

    • Bush+Obama=Satans love child

      I hear what your saying but H.I is putting out Burkes on schedule & under budget. It seems like the skilled folks who were building Burkes for BIW are now focused on the Zummwalts & the new blood hired at significant cost & fewer in number are working on the Burkes driving up cost & pushing back delivery. I am ignorant of who has what capability in these yards though.

      • sferrin

        Totally predictable.

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  • publius_maximus_III

    That photo of the Zoomie says a lot. Just think how much longer that plate has to be preheated before striking an arc. The USN should be awarding more contracts to their warmer weather suppliers.

    More destroyers, more destroyers, more Arleigh Burke destroyers.

  • Bush+Obama=Satans love child

    Looks to me like we should be shifting contracts to those that save money while delivering on schedule & contractors should be forced to learn from those that are more efficient managing their workforce & production. Why would we reward over burdened BIW with Coast Guard contracts when H.I. is coming in under budget & on time? I understand needing multiple yards & companies to bid but when you pay more for the same delivered later there is a problem to be corrected in procurement & contract. If you reward mismanagement you will get more mismanagement.

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    Question. Instead of private shipyards building the first ship of a class with exception of carriers. How about bringing back the construction of navy ships at government own shipyards. Like Norfolk Naval Shipyard. They got 7 dry docks or is it 8 Well maybe carriers too since there are drydocks big enough for carriers there

    • Secundius

      @ Sailboater.

      Currently, Newport News Shipyard’s is the ONLY Shipyard capable of Building a Aircraft Carrier for the “Keel-Up” and a RUSH JOB construction of an GF class Aircraft Carrier, is about 4-years. And 3.25-years for a Medium Carrier and 2.47-years for a Light Carrier (NOT an American class Conversion)…

      • disqus_zommBwspv9

        Thank you. But I already got that information from my Brother and Cousins who work at Newport News they work on the Ford and worked on the Enterprise stripping . But my question is why can’t naval shipyards build cruisers, destroyers, frigates, Oilers, etc.

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