An Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer. Bath Iron Works is expected to get orders for additional naval vessels as a result of a decision by the Navy to increase its battle force. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Collins, King welcome Navy plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King released the following statement after the Navy announced a new fleet plan calling for a goal of 355 battle force ships.

This includes an increase of 16 large surface combatant ships compared to the Navy’s current goal. These ships include the DDG-1000 and Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers produced by Bath Iron Works. In light of the increasing capabilities of foreign adversaries, the Navy has determined that these additional destroyers are necessary to increase air defense and ballistic missile defense capacity, as well as provide escorts for additional aircraft carriers. The Navy’s new assessment also is consistent with President-elect Trump’s stated goal of building a 350-ship Navy.

“We welcome the Navy’s candid assessment of the naval fleet that is necessary to protect the United States. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has been a staunch supporter of shipbuilding during his eight-year tenure, and we applaud him today for taking a fresh look at the necessary size and capability of the Navy’s fleet, particularly while China continues to modernize its own naval forces,” said Collins and King in a joint statement.

“The Navy’s new 355-ship goal is not only an important benchmark to achieve for our nation’s security, but good news for Bath Iron Works and the state of Maine, where the Navy’s world-class destroyers are built.”

Collins is a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and King is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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