Senator Angus King is questioning the Navy’s plan to award construction of ten new frigates to a single shipyard, rather than spread the work out to at least two yards.
The Navy has finalized its plans to build a twenty-ship class of frigates, and Bath Iron Works is one of five shipbuilders in competition to build them.
At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, independent Sen. Angus King urged the Navy to reconsider its plan to award the first ten ships to a single yard. He says it should split up the contract to help keep the industrial ship building base stable.
“Why that approach? I mean you are having five yards, highly qualified, a lot of work, a lot of intellectual input. Why not some kind of division of that buy?” asked King.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Geurts says that the Navy is concerned that parceling out the contracts for the first ten ships could hurt the shipbuilding industry, because frigates are smaller and less complex than the more expensive destroyers that BIW and others are building.
Geurts said he would look into King’s concerns.