Maine Delegation Welcomes Secretary of the Navy to Bath Iron Works

Maine Delegation Welcomes Secretary of the Navy to Bath Iron Works”

"We are grateful to Maine's congressional delegation and Navy Secretary Spencer for their efforts and leadership", Dirk Lesko, president of Bath Iron Works, said in a separate news release.

"I was extremely pleased to join the rest of Maine's Delegation this morning in welcoming Navy Secretary Richard Spencer to BIW in light of this important announcement and am thrilled for these thousands of hardworking Maine shipbuilders, who play an essential role in ensuring our Nation's defense and strength", said Congressman Poliquin. The contract modification fully funds the two ships.Fiscal 2016 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); and fiscal 2017 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

Spencer voiced confidence in the quality of BIW ships, at the same time the Navy is completing a review of two collisions involving Bath-built ships: the USS John McCain and the USS Fitzgerald.

Spencer said Friday his review will seek expertise from the civilian maritime community and look at lessons learned from the private sector, not just the Navy.

The Navy is looking at its options, and Spencer acknowledged those include bringing back into service retired frigates and cruisers, if that's deemed to be a cost-effective means of helping to reach the goal.

"We can't simply sit here and mandate, 'We want ships built.' We have to understand what the actual industrial base can support and where capacity is".

"This is where we are going to be working alongside Bath and General Dynamics ... to see how, in fact, we grow going forward", Spencer said. Spencer said the Navy is still analyzing where to fix the McCain, which sustained less damage than the Fitzgerald.

With roughly 6,000 workers, BIW is one of Maine's largest private employers and is one of two shipyards that build the guided-missile destroyers that are considered the "workhorses" of the Navy fleet.

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins secured funding for the projects.

The awards were announced Thursday and were expected but are good news nonetheless.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, King worked to authorize more than $5.62 billion for the Navy destroyer programs in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, including more than $5 billion for the procurement of three DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyers in fiscal year 2018 that Bath Iron Works can compete to build. "We'd love to have you".

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