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A defense spending bill could enable Bath Iron Works to compete to build more ships each year

The U.S. Navy's first DDG-1000 destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, tied up at BIW.
Mark Vogelzang
Maine Public

A defense spending bill under consideration in Congress could enable Bath Iron Works to compete to build more ships per year.

A Senate committee recently endorsed authorizing the Navy to negotiate contracts to build up to 15 new destroyers over a multi-year period. BIW and its rival shipyard in Mississippi would then bid on the work. But Sen. Angus King said this would be one of the largest-ever contracts for destroyers.

King also said the multi-year contract would help with planning and staffing at BIW.

"It's good news for BIW and it's good news for America because these ships are the workhorse of the Navy. They are one of the most basic parts of our national defense, deterrence strategy," King said.

The full Senate has not yet voted on the National Defense Authorization Act, and the House would have to agree to the same language in its version of the bill.