The US Navy has awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works multi-year contracts to build nine Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, according to daily Pentagon announcements, though the service has not disclosed pricing for the contracts. 

HII’s contract includes options for six vessels, while Bath will build at least another three. The Pentagon statement does not disclose the contract value of either company because the Navy says it reserves the right to call a tender between the two companies for any additional ships. Therefore, the contract values ​​”will be considered sensitive information for the selection of sources. The multi-year procurement contracts will run from fiscal year 2023 to 2027, the service added.

“The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are the backbone of the surface fleet and one of the most successful shipbuilding programs in Navy history,” Secretary Carlos Del Toro said in a written statement. “These awards provide a long-term stable demand signal to shipbuilders and the industrial supply base, encouraging industry investment in the workforce. With our industry partners, we will continue to build them; And they will continue to secure the seas for decades to come!”

In the same statement, Jay Stefany, acting Navy procurement executive, added that the Navy saved $830 million by purchasing the ships in advance through a multi-year contract instead of negotiating individual contracts for each ship.

The Navy’s previous multi-year DDG-51 procurement contracts with HII and Bath Iron Works for 10 base ships split between them totaled about $10 billion, not counting additional money spent on optional ships.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are the workhorses of the Navy’s current surface fleet, and the latest iterations, Flight IIA and Flight III, have been outfitted with the best technologies the industry can bring to the service. HII and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works are the Navy’s longtime destroyer builders and have collectively built the entire fleet of dozens of ships, starting with the Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), which bears the name from the eponymous four-star admiral, initially built by Bath and launched in the late 1980s. In contrast, the most recent destroyer delivered by HII, Jack H. Lucas, bears the hull number 125.

“It is a privilege for our shipyards to build these vessels in the service of our Navy,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson said in a statement following the release of the contract announcement. “We look forward to the years of stability this award provides and the opportunity to continue working with our industry partners on this important class of vessels.”

DDG-51’s most recent multi-year contracts were awarded in September 2018 and ran from fiscal year 2019 through 2022, according to Pentagon contract announcements at the time. A Navy spokeswoman did not respond to a question by Breaking Defense about what options have been exercised under previous contracts. However, the service’s latest budget justification documents indicate that at least 12 DDG-51s were purchased between September 2018 and June 2020.

While lawmakers are often optimistic about job-boosting military contract announcements, the Capitol is sure to pressure the Navy on the number of destroyers it ultimately decides to build. Legislators have opened the legal channels for the Navy to acquire up to 15 ships in this multi-year contract. However, both Navy officials and Defense Ministry officials have been skeptical that the industry can cope with the workload required to produce them at a rate of three ships a year.

justin katz