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The US Navy awarded contracts on 1 August 2023 to Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding Division (HII Ingalls) and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (GD BIW) for the fiscal years (FY) 2023-2027 multi-year procurement (MYP) of Arleigh Burke (DDG 51)-class destroyers.

The MYP awards cover the design and construction of nine MYP ships: HII Ingalls was awarded a fixed-price-incentive firm target (FPIF) contract for six DDG 51-class ships in FY 2023-2027, while GD BIW was awarded a FPIF contract for three DDG 51-class ships in FY 2023-2026.

Additionally, each shipbuilder’s contract contains options for additional ships over the next five years, providing the navy and Congress with flexibility to increase DDG 51 build rates if authorised and appropriated.

“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,” Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy, was quoted as saying in a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) press release. “These awards provide a long-term stable demand signal to the shipbuilder and industrial supply base, encouraging industry investment in the workforce. With our industry partners we are going to continue to build them; and they will continue to secure the seas for decades to come.”

“These contract awards will allow the navy to continue delivery of lethal capacity in an affordable and effective manner,” added Frederick J Stefany, acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. “The navy saved USD 830 M [EUR 758 M] for these nine ships through multi-year procurement contracts and also has options for additional ships to accelerate delivery of the critical DDG 51 Flight III capabilities to our naval force.”

The first-of-class guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) transits Chesapeake Bay on its way back into port in September 2013. The Arleigh Burke class has the longest production run of any US Navy surface combatant. (Photo: US Navy)

Captain Seth Miller, DDG 51 class programme manager within the US Navy’s Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships, was quoted as saying, “These contracts will provide next-generation integrated air and missile defense capability for our future fleet while ensuring a stable shipbuilding and defense-industrial base for the foreseeable future. The navy is proud to be teaming with the dedicated shipbuilders at HII Ingalls and GD BIW to construct and deliver these warships to the fleet.”

These latest DDG 51-class destroyers are being procured in a Flight III configuration, relying on a stable and mature design while delivering critical integrated air and missile defence capability with the AN/SPY6(V)(1) air and missile defence radar, NAVSEA noted.

The US Navy’s first Flight III destroyer, Jack H Lucas (DDG 125), was delivered by HII Ingalls in June 2023.

The first DDG 51 destroyer, USS Arleigh Burke, was commissioned on 4 July 1991, meaning that the Arleigh Burke class has the longest production run of any US Navy surface combatant.

USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) was originally intended to be the last Arleigh Burke-class destroyer procured, but in July 2008 the US Navy announced its intention to restart DDG 51 production.

Seventy-two of the class are currently in active service, with 18 more planned.

Peter Felstead