Bath breathes easier over scrapped ship
Workers at Bath Iron Works and Bath residents are breathing a little easier today, barely twenty-four hours after the U.S. Navy announced it was scrapping its hyper-expensive DDG-1000 destroyer. BIW had been in line as a major builder of the new Zumwalt class of stealth-technology warships and already has one ship under construction. Ingalls Operations in Pascagoula, Mississippi, is building a second. Those two will be finished, the Navy said, but won’t be followed by more.
The decision wasn’t a complete surprise inside the Beltway, where the rising price tag on the Zumwalt ships had admirals in the Pentagon checking seat cushions for spare change. Originally estimated at $1.7 billion each, the ships were fast approaching $3 billion.
Instead, six to nine more of the familiar, smaller — and cheaper, at $1.3 billion each — DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyers, which BIW has been building for two decades, are planned. The bulk of those ships are expected to go to BIW, since the Ingalls shipyard is busy with a new crop of amphibious warfare ships while still repairing damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.