The Aegis combat system is a core part of the U.S. Navy’s DDG guided missile destroyer construction plan, with its integration anchoring the vessel’s testing milestones, according to a review of the recent DDG-113 contract awarded to shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII).

The Aegis-equipped destroyer is the linchpin of the Navy’s planned ballistic missile defense (BMD) mission. The Navy recently revamped its surface-fleet shipbuilding plan to restart the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class vessels, and the DDG-113 is the first of the rekindled vessel line.

The $773.6 million ship contract makes it clear the Aegis system is vital to the ship’s construction and delivery.

“The contractor shall assign a member of the contractor’s program management staff as a member of the Aegis Test Team (ATT),” says the contract, recently obtained by the Aviation Week Intelligence Network under the Freedom of Information Act.

The contract also calls for the shipbuilder to provide particular protection for the equipment, including, specifically, the Aegis cooling skid and vertical launch module mounted components, used for the combat system.

The contract also includes the following “special program requirements:”

• The contractor shall provide sufficient time in his construction schedules for the Aegis Test Team to conduct its testing activities uninterrupted and with essentially unrestricted access to the ship(s);

• The contractor shall perform maintenance on Aegis combat system equipment during times at which tests are not being conducted (unless required to enable testing and with the approval of the Aegis test officer). Routine maintenance shall be performed by the contractor on a not-interfere basis; and

• The contractor shall provide a day-for-day extension of schedule for testing for any period in which testing of the Aegis combat system was scheduled, but not available, for testing by the ATT at no change in price or contract delivery schedule.

The builder’s trials, one of the most important milestones for the ship, are slated for April 4, 2016, but the contract says those trials “must be no less than 175 weekdays, excluding contractor holidays and shutdown periods, from start of Aegis Light-Off,” another official milestone scheduled for June 1, 2015.

The contract also provides leeway for how much the ship could wind up costing — and how much HII could make from the contract. If the total negotiated cost is equal to the total target cost, the amount for profit or loss is the total target profit. The Navy would not release the total target cost or the total target profit.

When total negotiated cost is greater than the total target costs, the amount for profit or loss is the total target profit less 50% of the amount by which the total final negotiated cost exceeds the total target cost. When total negotiated cost is less than the total target costs, the amount for profit or loss is the total target profit plus 50% of the amount by which the total final negotiated cost is less than the total target cost.