On Wednesday, January 12, the final ship in the Zumwalt class, Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002), sailed away from General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. Last November, the U.S. Navy formally accepted the completion of production and test activity from BIW for DDG 1002. The Navy’s acceptance of Hull, Mechanical and Electrical (HM&E) completion followed extensive tests, trials, and demonstrations of the ship’s systems both at the pier and during sea trials last summer. The contract to build her was awarded to Bath Iron Works located in Bath, Maine, on 15 September 2011. The award, along with funds for the construction of USS Michael Monsoor, was worth US$1.826 billion. On 16 April 2012, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the ship would be named Lyndon B. Johnson in honor of Lyndon B. Johnson, who served as the 36th President of the United States from 1963 to 1969.
“The sail away of the third and final Zumwalt-class destroyer marks an important milestone. The completion of our work on the most sophisticated surface combatant ever built is the culmination of more than two decades of dedicated effort by thousands of employees. Our Bath-built-best-built tradition will now fully focus on DDG 51s to support the mission of the Navy,” said Dirk Lesko, president of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works.
The Zumwalt-class destroyer is a class of three United States Navy-guided missile destroyers designed as multi-mission stealth ships with a focus on land attacks. It is a multi-role class that was designed for secondary roles of surface warfare and anti-aircraft warfare and was originally designed with a primary role of naval gunfire support. In addition to the two previously delivered Zumwalt-class destroyers, there are currently 37 Bath-built Arleigh Burke-class destroyers serving in the U.S. fleet. Bath Iron Works currently has under construction the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), John Basilone (DDG 122), Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124), and Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127) as well as the Flight III configuration destroyers Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG 126), William Charette (DDG 130) and Quentin Walsh (DDG 132).
Bath Iron Works (BIW) is a major United States shipyard located on the Kennebec River in Bath, Maine, founded in 1884 as Bath Iron Works, Limited. BIW has built private, commercial, and military vessels, most of which have been ordered by the United States Navy. The shipyard has built and sometimes designed battleships, frigates, cruisers, and destroyers, including the Arleigh Burke-class which are currently among the world’s most advanced surface warships. Since 1995, Bath Iron Works has been a subsidiary of General Dynamics. It is the fifth-largest defense contractor in the world as of 2008. During World War II, ships built at BIW were considered to be of superior toughness by sailors and Navy officials, giving rise to the phrase “Bath-built is best-built.”