General Dynamics Bath Iron Works laid the first keel of its Flight III Arleigh-Burke guided-missile destroyer, the company announced.
The future USS Lewis H. Wilson (DDG-126) is named after Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Gen. Louis H. Wilson, Jr. The ship will be the first Flight III destroyer to be built by the Maine shipyard. The future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), built by Ingalls Shipping, is the first Flight III destroyer built for the fleet and is undergoing sea trials ahead of delivery later this year.
As a Flight III destroyer, Lewis H. Wilson will be built around the Raytheon AN/SPY-6 active electronically scanned array air search radar. The future FLight IIIs will assume the role of as the air defense platform in the carrier strike group as the aging Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers leave the service.
“The skill and hard work of our shipbuilding team are making DDG 126 a ship we can be proud to say is Bath built,” BIW President Chuck Krugh said in the release. “When it sails down the Kennebec River, this ship will be ready to carry out its mission of protecting our nation and our families just as its namesake, Louis H. Wilson Jr., did throughout his distinguished career.”
Bath Iron Works is working on a number of Flight IIA and Flight III destroyers at its shipyard, which experienced delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It delivered USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120), a Flight IIA destroyer, in January.
The yard is also working on destroyers Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG-124), John Basilone (DDG-122), Patrick Gallagher (DDG-127), Quentin Walsh (DDG-132) and William Charette (DDG-130), USNI News previously reported.