The former president of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works is headed north to oversee Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding, the Canadian shipyard announced on this week.
Dirk Lesko, who headed BIW from 2016 until his abrupt departure in April, will now lead the yard that is at the center of the Canadian plan to recapitalize its fleet starting in September, according to the statement from Irving.
AT BIW, Lesko oversaw the construction of the Arleigh Burke-class and Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer programs, which have fallen behind schedule. He left the company with little warning following a negotiation with the shipyard workers represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers’ Local S6.
Lesko replaces Kevin Mooney, who resigned in June for personal reasons after two years at the head of the yard.
Mooney, a former U.S. Navy submariner, had succeeded former U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command head Kevin McCoy as president of the yard. McCoy led the yard from 2013 to 2021 following his retirement from the Navy.
For the last decade, Irving’s Halifax Shipyard has been working through a plan to recapitalize the Canadian Navy’s surface combatant fleet. The plan calls for six Harry DeWolf-class arctic offshore patrol vessels and 15 Canadian variants of the Type-26 guided-missile frigate. HMCS Harry Dewolfe (AOPV 430) commissioned last year. Second in-class HMCS Margaret Brooke (AOPV 431) delivered last year and is in sea trials.
The Type-26s will replace the Iroquois-class guided-class destroyers and the Canadian Navy’s dozen Halifax-class frigates. The first of the new class is expected to start construction in 2024, company officials told the Ottawa Citizen last month.
In total, Canadian officials estimate the 15 Type-26s could cost up to $60 billion.