Austin: Money for destroyer could be restored to budget

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the federal government intends to purchase an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer that was cut from the Biden administration's defense budget for 2023.

Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, said during an Armed Services Committee meeting on Thursday that the removal of the ship from the budget “sent a shudder through the industrial base.”

Austin responded by saying he wants to ensure the industrial base “has the ability to produce what we’ve asked them to produce.” He added, “And, current plans are to buy that DDG in ’23.”

The destroyers, the workhorse of the fleet, are built at Bath Iron Works in Maine and Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi.

Eliminating a ship would cost the government $30 million for backing out of a contract, and would be contrary to the Navy's goal of expanding its fleet to compete with adversaries like China and Russia, King said.

Last week, Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney, chairman of the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee, said he's working to restore the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer cut from Biden’s defense budget.

Maine's congressional delegation also has objected to the Navy's decision to cut the ship from the budget.