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Updated: July 26, 2021

Draft defense bill could mean more work for BIW, other Maine contractors

Bath Iron Works wide shot File Photo / Tiim Greenway Bath Iron Works could get a boost from a defense spending bill making its way through Congress.

A draft bill in Congress could mean more work for Bath Iron Works and other Maine contractors, U.S. Sen Angus King, I-Maine, a member of the Senate's Armed Services Committee, signaled on Friday.

The committee's markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 authorizes $3.7 billion for the procurement of two 2 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, which Bath Iron Works can compete to build.

A previous version of the legislation had budgeted for only one of the 500-foot guided missile warships.

BIW, owned by Virginia-based General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE: GD), was recently awarded a $55 million contract extension from the U.S. Navy to provide lead yard services for Arleigh Burke-class destroyers over the next year. 

Every year, the National Defense Authorization Act authorizes funding levels and provides authorities for the U.S. military and other critical defense priorities, ensuring troops have the training, equipment and resources needed to carry out their missions. 

Besides funding for destroyers, the fiscal 2022 bill calls for a 2.7% pay raise for military service members and the  Department of Defense civilian workforce.

Sen. Angus King with white hair and a mustache portrait photo with a jacket over his shoulder
Courtesy / Office of U.S. Sen. Angus King
U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, is a member of the Senate's Armed Services Committee.

“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act is an incredibly strong bipartisan bill that will strengthen America’s national security and assure that Maine’s workforce will remain a key contributor,” King said in Friday's statement. 

“One of the most important provisions in the defense bill is the authorization of two DDG-51 Flight III destroyers, bringing the legislation in line with the multiyear procurement contract previously agreed to by the Navy and shipyards, including Bath Iron Works."

King added that as China continues to grow, the ships — often referred to as the workhorse of the Navy — are essential to national security, and any deviation from the existing procurement contract will put the U.S. defense industrial base at risk.

"Beyond fulfilling our commitment in the multiyear procurement for DDG-51s, this legislation supports the important work done at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, invests in critical cybersecurity initiatives, advances much-needed improvements to modernize our nuclear triad, and provides a well-deserved raise for America’s service members,” King said.

Other provisions in the draft bill would authorize $5 billion for the F-35 program purchase, repairs and support, which includes components produced by Maine companies, and $250 million in funding to purchase two CH-53K helicopters, which include parts made by Hunting Dearborn in Fryeburg.

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