The US Navy has awarded a contract modification to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works for the planning and construction of two Arleigh Burke-class DDG 51 destroyers, which will be known as DDG 126 and DDG 127.

The deal comprises the complete funding package for the two vessels, as well as financing for the Flight III upgrades on DDG 126.

Bath Iron Works president Dirk Lesko said: “These contracts help to stabilise our business and are welcome news. We are grateful to Maine’s congressional delegation and Navy Secretary Spencer for their efforts and leadership.”

DDG 126 is set to be named in honour of Louis H. Wilson, Jr., the 26th commandant of the US Marine Corps and a World War II recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Guam.

A contract for the 509ft-long DDG 126 was initially awarded as part of a multi-year competition for DDG 51-class destroyers in 2013.

The vessel is expected to enter the navy fleet in 2023.

The yet-to-be named DDG 127 has also been approved for construction by Congress under separate legislation.

Bath Iron Works is currently building four DDG 51 destroyers, which will be named Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), Carl M. Levin (DDG 120) and John Basilone (DDG 122).

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is a multi-mission combatant designed to either operate independently or as part of various combat groups such as carrier battle, surface action, amphibious ready and underway replenishment.

The guided-missile destroyers are capable of operating at speeds in excess of 30k and will provide anti-submarine, anti-air and anti-surface capabilities to defend against a wide range of threats.