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Bath Iron Works

Bath Iron Works [BIW], Maine's largest private employer, was purchased by General Dynamics in September 1995. Bath had run into financial trouble and become the property of Prudential Insurance Co. of America when debt payments could no longer be made. General Dynamics picked up the yard for half what Prudential paid for it.

BIW has contracts for the construction of 21 Arleigh Burke class destroyers (DDG 51) and plays a lead role in providing design, engineering, and ongoing life cycle support services for DDG 51 class ships. BIW is a member of a three-contractor team which was awarded a contract to design and build the Navy's new class of amphibious transport ships (LPD 17), and is a member of a three-contractor team recently formed to compete for the development, design, construction and life-cycle support of the U.S. Navy's next generation surface combatant ships (DD 21). The US Navy has awarded BIW a maintenance contract for the Perry class (FFG 7) frigates.

At the time it was acquired by General Dynamics, Bath was saddled with a fairly antique method for final assembly. Following the acquisition, materials handling and metal fabrication were modernized, and GD invested $200 million in building a land-level launching system and upgrading other facilities. In early 1997 Bath Iron Works released details of its $307 million plan to improve the shipyard's ability to compete with its primary rival, Ingalls Shipbuilding of Mississippi. The project would include a modern complex of facilities that would transform how BIW builds and launches ships at its main yard in Bath. The project includes construction of a fifteen acre land level transfer facility and manufacturing support center, and a 750-foot dry-dock.

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