U.S. Navy Unveils its $3 Billion New Fleet of Destroyers

Mike O'Brien

The U.S. Navy is spending nearly $3 billion to beef up its surface warfare capabilities with new destroyers.

General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works last week closed a $2.8 billion sale for four new DDG 51 destroyers, with the Navy retaining an option for a fifth.

The DDG51s are Arleigh Burke-class ships, considered by some analysts to be the most advanced surface combatant in the world today.

They are equipped to tackle a wide range of threats, including submarines and ballistic missiles.

The 465-foot long Arleigh Burke-class ships are used for various missions, from supporting carrier battle groups and amphibious groups through to anti-submarine warfare.

They can support two Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters and can be equipped with missile guidance systems, Tomahawk missiles and advanced anti-aircraft missiles. The ships are due to be delivered in 2016 and 2017.

Bath Iron Works is also building three Zumwalt-class destroyers: Zumwalt (DDG 1000), Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) and Lyndon Johnson (DDG 1002).

The Zumwalt-class ships are designed for a range of missions, but chiefly with a focus on land attack.

Established originally as an iron foundry in 1826, U.S. Army Brevet General Thomas W. Hyde took over the Maine-based in 1865 after serving with the 20th Maine Regiment during the Civil War, Fox News reports.

The very first hull was built in 1890 and for more than a century, Bath Iron Works has continued to regularly build vessels for the Navy.