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December 11, 2018

BIW launches final Zumwalt-class destroyer

Courtesy / General Dynamics Bath Iron Works
Courtesy / General Dynamics Bath Iron Works
The future USS Lyndon B Johnson is being readied in dry dock at the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, ahead of flooding the dock so that work can continue on the vessel as it floats in water. The final Zumwalt-class “stealth” destroyer was launched Sunday at BIW.

Bath Iron Works on Dec. 9 floated the U.S. Navy's third and final Zumwalt-class destroyer, to be christened Lyndon B. Johnson, in preparation for the next phase of construction.

Defense News reported the Navy had planned to build 32 of the class but gradually slashed the number to three, because of the ship's "enormous price tag."

It's the third Zumwalt-class destroyer in the three-ship $24 billion program to be delivered by the Bath shipyard that's owned by General Dynamics.

The Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Michael Monsoor from BIW last April. The lead ship, Zumwalt, was delivered in May 2016.

The 610-foot ship features several design innovations that make it less visible to enemy radar and employs an innovative and highly survivable integrated power system.

USNI News previously reported that the three-ship Zumwalt-class program has been plagued with cost overruns and production and delivery delays that have driven its overall cost to $24 billion. Despite those problems, USNI News reported, the Navy sees opportunities to incorporate many of the Zumwalt class technology advances into the design of future warships.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Navy awarded Bath Iron Works a contract valued at $3.9 billion for the construction of four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. BIW's four-ship contract is for fiscal years 2019-2022.

Four DDG 51 destroyers are now in production at the Bath shipyard: Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), John Basilone (DDG 122) and Harvey C. Barnum (DDG 124) with two more in backlog, Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG 126) and Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127).

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