General Dynamics Bath Iron Works laid the first keel of its Flight III Arleigh-Burke guided-missile destroyer, the company announced.
The future USS Louis H. Wilson (DDG-126) is named after Marine Corps Gen. Louis H. Wilson, Jr. The ship will be the first Flight III destroyer to be built by the Maine shipyard. The future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), built by HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding, is the first Flight III destroyer built for the fleet. Lucas is undergoing sea trials ahead of delivery later this year.
As a Flight III destroyer, Louis H. Wilson will be built around the Raytheon AN/SPY-6 active electronically scanned array air search radar. The future Flight IIIs will assume the role of the air defense platform in the carrier strike group as the aging Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers leave the service.
“The skill and hard work of our shipbuilding team are making DDG 126 a ship we can be proud to say is Bath built,” BIW President Chuck Krugh said in a BIW statement. “When it sails down the Kennebec River, this ship will be ready to carry out its mission of protecting our nation and our families just as its namesake, Louis H. Wilson Jr., did throughout his distinguished career.”
Bath Iron Works is working on a number of Flight IIA and destroyers at its shipyard, which experienced manufacturing delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. BIW delivered the future USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120), a Flight IIA destroyer, in January. Levin will commission in June.
The yard is also working on destroyers Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG-124), John Basilone (DDG-122), Patrick Gallagher (DDG-127), Quentin Walsh (DDG-132) and William Charette (DDG-130), USNI News previously reported.