The $5.1 billion defense bill headed to the Senate floor includes funding for three destroyers that Bath Iron Works could compete to build.

Maine Sen. Angus King, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the committee passed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act with funding for the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and it will advance to the Senate floor.

“This year’s NDAA contains a number of provisions that reinforce Maine’s important role in defending our nation, including additional funds for continued shipbuilding and new opportunities at Bath Iron Works,” he said. “In addition, the legislation takes important steps forward on the challenges of the future by increasing our focus on cyber threats and investing in much-needed research and development.”

King said that the legislation makes America safer, ensures stability for key sectors of Maine’s economy and looks after those in the Armed Forces.

In addition to the funding for the trio of ships, the legislation also authorizes $484 million to fund future Arleigh-Burke-class destroyer procurements. This class of guided missile destroyers are built by only two shipyards: Bath Iron Works and Mississippi-based Ingalls Shipbuilding.

The legislation also authorizes funds for the completion of the Zumwalt-class destroyers built at BIW. The third and last Zumwalt, the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson, was christened this month.

The bill also includes money for research, development, and test-and-evaluation programs, including research on advanced manufacturing, electric propulsion, advanced planning hulls and hybrid composite structures. Maine research institutions and companies will be eligible to compete for some of these projects.

The proposed defense spending includes the purchase of six CH-53K helicopters, which include components produced at Hunting Dearborn in Fryeburg. It also authorizes funding for the rapid prototyping of the Next Generation Squad Weapon, which may help support General Dynamics’ manufacturing facility in Saco.

“As the legislation moves through Congress, I will continue to advocate for Maine priorities and provisions that advance America’s national security interests,” King said.

The bill also emphasizes the importance of building the U.S. capabilities to prevent and respond to cyber attacks, and authorizes $10 billion to procure 94 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to modernize forces.

King pushed for provisions to protect the environment and ensure energy security, including $10 million for on-base, long-duration energy storage projects that will last for at least 100 hours.

The bill includes other funds to support military programs aimed at improving defense-wide energy resiliency work.

On the environmental front, the bill would prohibit the DOD from acquiring firefighting products containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, dangerous chemicals linked to adverse health and environmental effects. The “forever chemicals” known as PFAS have long been used in products like firefighting foam and have been found at many airports including Brunswick Landing, the site of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. The NDAA prohibits the DOD from procuring firefighting foam that contains PFAS after Oct. 1, 2022.

King also backed provisions that support military personnel, including a 3.1 percent pay raise. The bill includes an additional $301.8 million to oversee private military housing and create accountability for private military housing companies.

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