The US Navy has contracted BAE Systems for the modernisation and upgrade of its Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided missile destroyer, USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79).

The new depot maintenance period (DMP) contract has an initial value of $41.6m and includes options that, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value to roughly $117.1m.

“The work we will perform on the Oscar Austin is large and complex, and will involve a large number of our employees and subcontractors.”

USS Oscar Austin will undergo an extensive, 12-month refurbishment programme at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia, under the arrangement.

The company  is expected to dry-dock the 509ft-long destroyer as part of the initiative, while its employees and subcontractors will carry out upgrade work on the vessel’s Aegis combat system, as well as conduct various alterations and miscellaneous repairs on-board the ship.

BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair vice-president and general manager Dave Thomas said: “The work we will perform on the Oscar Austin is large and complex, and will involve a large number of our employees and subcontractors.

“We are prepared to perform this extensive work, which is vital for the ship’s future readiness and combat effectiveness.

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“This contract is important work for the ship’s crew, the navy, and our shipyard team and industry partners.”

Work on the project is expected to start next month and is slated to be completed by February 2019.

DDG 79 is the US Navy’s second guided missile destroyer to undergo the extensive DMP refurbishment and modernisation work.

The vessel was originally commissioned in August 1990.

The first destroyer to be refurbished under a DMP programme, USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), is currently undergoing its overhaul at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Jacksonville, Florida.

USS Oscar Austin’s keel-laying ceremony was held on on 9 October 1997.

The ship was subsequently launched and christened on 7 November 1998.