Navy Awards Ingalls 6 Flight III Arleigh Burke Destroyers, Bath Iron Works 3 as Part of 5-Year Deal

August 1, 2023 6:28 PM
Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) underway in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2023. HII Photo

HII Ingalls Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works won contracts to build nine Arleigh Burke-class Flight III guided-missile destroyers (DDG-51) in a five-year deal, according to a Tuesday Pentagon announcement.

The Mississippi-based Ingalls Shipbuilding will build six of the nine Burkes from Fiscal Year 2023 to 2027 for the contract while BIW will build the other three, according to the announcement. The contracts include an unspecified number of additional contract options.

Flight III, built around the new AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar, is set to be the replacement for the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser as the primary air defense platform of the carrier strike group.

“These ships were procured using a limited competition between the current DDG 51 class shipbuilders, HII Ingalls and GD BIW, in order to generate the best price for the government and its taxpayers,” reads a statement from Naval Sea Systems Command provided to USNI News.
“This acquisition strategy leveraged competition, fixed-price contracting, and workload stability in order to meet the Defense Department’s overarching objectives of achieving increased capability affordably. This is the fifth MYP for the DDG-51 class shipbuilding program.”

The Navy did not disclose the total value of the contract in the award.

As of the latest estimate, each Flight III costs about $2 billion, a number that includes the Navy providing about $1 billion of equipment for the ship. The cost to build the hull, electrical and mechanical components is $1 billion. However, the cost for each shipyard to build the hull is considered business-sensitive information, the Navy said.

“The dollar values associated with the multiyear contract are considered source selection sensitive information and will not be made public at this time,” reads the announcement.

In 2018, the Navy awarded a similar split contract, with Ingalls awarded $5.1 billion for six Burkes and BIW $3.9 billion for four.

“The Navy considered government and industry objectives to include workload stability at both shipbuilders in developing the competitive strategy. The Navy’s goal was fair competition to continue procurement of the critical Flight III capability for our nation, while maintaining two shipbuilders capable of building DDG 51 class ships and fostering competition for DDG 51 shipbuilding to achieve savings,” reads a statement from NAVSEA.

The difference in the award is an acknowledgment of Bath’s delay in delivering destroyers it’s currently on contract to build, compared to Ingalls, two sources familiar with the award confirmed to USNI News on Tuesday.

“We appreciate the opportunity to build on our history of providing these highly advanced ships for the U.S. Navy fleet and are honored to do our part to contribute to protecting the nation and our families,” reads a statement from BIW president Chuck Krugh. “Flight III destroyers have significantly increased capability, and our skilled shipbuilders are committed to producing ships that meet the quality standards that our Navy sailors deserve.”

BIW delivered USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120), a Flight IIA destroyer, in January and the ship was commissioned in June.

The Maine yard laid the keel for its first Flight III, Louis H. Wilson (DDG-126), in June.

Bath is 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.

Ingalls delivered the first Flight III, Jack Lucas (DDG-125), to the Navy in June. The larger Mississippi yard builds DDGs, San Antonio-class and America-class amphibious warships and is wrapping its final Legend-class National Security Cutter for the Coast Guard.

“It is a privilege for our shipbuilders to build these ships in service of our Navy,” Ingalls president Kari Wilkinson said in a statement.
“We look forward to the years of stability that this award provides and the opportunity to continue working with our industry partners on this important class of ships.”

Ingalls is currently building four Flight III destroyers at its yard in Pascagoula: Ted Stevens (DDG-128), Jeremiah Denton (DDG-129), George M. Neal (DDG-131) and Sam Nunn (DDG-133).

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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