The United States Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) destroyers are noted for having the longest production run for any of the service’s surface combatants, and with nine more on the way that record will only be further extended. On Tuesday, the U.S. Navy announced a pair of multiyear procurement contracts for the warship – awarding six to HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding and three to General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works.

The Navy will acquire the nine Flight III warships spread across fiscal years 2023 to 2027, while the contracts have the option for additional ships. Though the U.S. Navy did not disclose the value of the contracts in its Tuesday announcement, Defense News reported that in the previous multiyear procurement contract, which covered ships from FY18-22, the service initially awarded $3.9 billion to Bath Iron Works for four ships and $5.1 billion to Ingalls Shipbuilding for six ships.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are the backbone of the surface fleet and one of the most successful shipbuilding programs in the history of the Navy,” U.S. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said in a statement. “These awards provide a long-term stable demand signal to the shipbuilder and industrial supply base, encouraging industry investment in the workforce.”

Six From HII Ingalls

HII Ingalls has already delivered 35 of the 70 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the U.S. Navy including the first Flight III, USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), in June of this year. In addition, Ingalls Shipbuilding has four Flight IIIs currently under construction including the future USS Ted Stevens (DDG 128), which is set to be christened this month. Additionally, Jeremiah Denton (DDG 129), George M. Neal (DDG 131), and Sam Nunn (DDG 133) are currently under construction at Ingalls.

“It is a privilege for our shipbuilders to build these ships in service of our Navy,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson said. “We look forward to the years of stability that this award provides and the opportunity to continue working with our industry partners on this important class of ships.”

Ingalls Shipbuilding is located in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Originally established in 1938, it is a leading producer of ships for the United States Navy, and with 12,500 employees, the shipyard is the second-largest private employer in Mississippi.

Three From Bath Iron Works

There are currently six DDG 51 destroyers in production at Bath Iron Works – located on the Kennebec River in Bath, Maine. These include the future John Basilone (DDG 122), Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124), and Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127) as well as the Flight III ships Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG 126), William Charette (DDG 130) and Quentin Walsh (DDG 132).

The U.S. Navy award will call for three additional Flight III warships.

“We appreciate the opportunity to build on our history of providing these highly advanced ships for the U.S. Navy fleet and are honored to do our part to contribute to protecting the nation and our families,” said Chuck Krugh, President of Bath Iron Works. “Flight III destroyers have significantly increased capability and our skilled shipbuilders are committed to producing ships that meet the quality standards that our Navy Sailors deserve.”

Flight III Destroyers

The U.S. Navy’s DDG 51-class guided missile destroyers provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. The warships can operate independently or as part of Carrier Strike Groups, Surface Action Groups, and Expeditionary Strike Groups. The multi-mission surface combatants are capable of conducting Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW).

The DDG 51 Flight III upgrade was designed to be centered on the AN/SPY-6(V)1 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) system that provides vastly increased capability over Flight IIA ships. The AMDR has enabled Flight III ships to simultaneously perform AAW and BMD, which satisfies the U.S. Navy’s critical need for an enhanced surface combatant Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability.

The Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) destroyers were developed during the Cold War to replace the U.S. Navy’s Charles F. Adams-class (DDG 2). The class of destroyers was designed with an all-new hull form, incorporating much of the Spruance-class (DD 963) destroyer propulsion and machinery plant, and the integrated Aegis Weapons System (AWS) proven on the Kidd-class (DD 993) destroyers and which were also installed on the larger Ticonderoga-class cruisers.

The lead vessel, named for Admiral Arleigh Burke, a U.S. Navy destroyer officer in World War II and later chief of naval operations, was commissioned on July 4, 1991. The motto of the ship is “Fast and Feared,” and she has earned one Navy Unit Commendation, three Meritorious Unit Commendations, three Battle Efficiency E Awards, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, and five Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.


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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who covers business technology and cyber security. He currently lives in Michigan and can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.