The U.S. Navy continues to invest in its destroyer and cruiser fleets, awarding $265.4 million in contracts and contract modifications for Aegis-related work on older vessels as well as long-lead and weapons-systems work for the newer DDG-1000 ships.

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors received a $118.6 million fixed-price-incentive contract July 29 for the production of two multi-mission signal processor (MMSP) equipment sets, three ballistic missile defense (BMD) 4.0.1 equipment sets and five Aegis Weapon System upgraded equipment sets to support fielding Aegis modernization work for the fleet.

The BMD mission has become one of the most important for the Navy, driving the service’s fleet-building decisions to secure more BMD-equipped Aegis ship systems and vessels, such as the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

The MMSP enables the ships to more effectively perform BMD and ship-defense missions.

Ships slated to receive the new equipment sets are: the DDG-51 USS Arleigh Burke, DDG-53 USS John Paul, DDG-65 USS Benfold, DDG-52USS Barry, cruiser CG-59 USS Princeton, CG-63 USS Cowpens and CG-64 USS Gettysburg.

In other Aegis-related work, Econco Broadcast Service was awarded a $14.9 million firm fixed-price requirements contract July 18 for repair parts for the AN-SPY-1 Radar Program within the Aegis system. The radar is considered to be the heart of the Aegis system and one of the most important sensors for the BMD mission.

For the futuristic DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer program, General Dynamics’ Bath (Maine) Iron Works shipyard was awarded a not-to-exceed $110.8 million contract modification Aug. 4 for long lead-time construction for DDG-1001 and long lead-time material for DDG-1002, as well as engineering and production support services.

Also, BAE Systems was awarded a $21 million contract modification July 26 to establish new cost-plus-incentive-fee contract line-item information for the procurement of the Advanced Gun System (AGS) Intra-Ship Rearmament System to be incorporated on DDG-1000 and DDG-1001.

The Intra-Ship Rearmament System (AIRS) provides a safe method of moving AGS pallets between the DDG-1000 flight deck and the AGS magazine pallet hoist. AIRS is designed to operate with full performance in ship motion conditions up to Sea State 3.

Analysts and even some Navy officials say the service is reviewing the decision to truncate the Zumwalt-class fleet to three ships, saying the manning and other design changes meant to reduce maintenance and shipboard costs will go a long way to reducing overall life-cycle costs for the vessels – a priority now for the Navy.

Detractors point out, though, that the ship has yet to be fully assembled.