Maine's Bath Iron Works gets 4-ship contract

BATH, Maine (AP) -- Maine's Bath Iron Works has been awarded a $2.8 billion contract to build four Arleigh Burke Class destroyers over the next five years with the option to build a fifth ship, three members of the state's congressional delegation said Monday.

In statements, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree and Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced they had been told of the contracts by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.

"The Navy's decision to award BIW four ships to be built over the next five years will help add stability to the workload there," said Collins said. "However, it is disappointing that we will have to continue to fight for the funding necessary for the fifth (ship).

"BIW's reputation for quality and efficiency is unmatched and the Navy knows that," Pingree said. "I'm hopeful we can secure the funding for an additional ship to help maintain employment levels at the yard."

The shipyard also has a contract to build three Zumwalt-class destroyers, the first of which is scheduled to be delivered late next year or early 2015.

The Arleigh Burke destroyer program dates to the 1980s. The warships have proven to be so versatile that the Navy has been modifying them for other uses.