A keel-laying ceremony for the US Navy’s future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Carl M. Levin (DDG 120) was held at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (GDBIW) shipyard in Bath, Maine.

The ceremony was attended by the ship’s namesake, former Senator Carl Levin, and the ship’s sponsors, as well as his three daughters, and US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer.

Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships DDG 51 class programme manager captain Casey Moton said: “We are honoured to be celebrating this milestone with Senator Levin, Mrs Levin, their daughters, and so many distinguished guests.

“This has been a special occasion to lay the keel for our Nation’s 70th Arleigh Burke destroyer, and to do so with a namesake that shares the same sense of purpose and commitment to service as our sailors.”

GDBIW will construct DDG 120 in the Flight IIA configuration. The vessel will be equipped with the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System, which includes integrated air and missile defence capability.

“The company is contracted to build an additional six Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, all of which will be constructed in the Flight III configuration with enhanced air and missile defence capabilities.”

The system will ensure improved reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for Anti-Air Warfare. The Navy is expected to receive the vessel in fiscal year 2021.

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Another four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), John Basilone (DDG 122), Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124) and Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127), are under construction at GDBIW.

The company is contracted to build an additional six Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, all of which will be constructed in the Flight III configuration with enhanced air and missile defence capabilities.

In a separate development, GD has received a $719m contract to provide planning yard services for DDG 51-class ships.

The contract is valued at $126m for the first year and includes four option years.

Under the contract, the company will provide services such as design, material kitting, logistics, planning and execution.