Bath Iron Works

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Bath Iron Works
Subsidiary
IndustryShipbuilding
Founded1884
FounderThomas W. Hyde
Headquarters,
U.S.
Number of locations
Bath, Maine
ParentGeneral Dynamics
Websitewww.gdbiw.com
Bath Iron Works from NAS Brunswick photo gallery

Bath Iron Works (BIW) is a major United States shipyard located on the Kennebec River in Bath, Maine, founded in 1884 as Bath Iron Works, Limited. BIW has built private, commercial, and military vessels, most of which have been ordered by the United States Navy. The shipyard has built and sometimes designed battleships, frigates, cruisers, and destroyers, including the Arleigh Burke class which are currently among the world's most advanced surface warships.

Since 1995, Bath Iron Works has been a subsidiary of General Dynamics, the fifth-largest defense contractor in the world as of 2008. During World War II, ships built at BIW were considered to be of superior toughness by sailors and Navy officials, giving rise to the phrase "Bath-built is best-built."[1]

History[edit]

Bath Iron Works was incorporated in 1884 by General Thomas W. Hyde, a native of Bath who served in the American Civil War. After the war, he bought a shop that made windlasses and other iron hardware for the wooden ships built in Bath's many shipyards. He expanded the business by improving its practices, entering new markets, and acquiring other local businesses. By 1882, Hyde Windlass was eyeing the new and growing business of iron shipbuilding, and it incorporated as Bath Iron Works in 1884. On February 28, 1890, BIW won its first contract for complete vessels: two iron gunboats for the Navy. One of these 190-foot (58 m) ships was the Machias, the first ship launched by the company. In 1892, the yard won its first commercial contract for the 2,500-ton steel passenger steamer City of Lowell. In the 1890s, the company built several yachts for wealthy sailors.

In 1899, Hyde was suffering from Bright's Disease and resigned from management of the shipyard, leaving his sons Edward and John in charge. The shipyard began construction of Georgia that same year, the only battleship ever built in Bath. It dominated the yard for five years until its launching in 1904, and was at times the only ship under construction. The yard faced numerous challenges because of the weight of armor and weapons. In sea trials, Georgia averaged 19.26 knots (35.67 km/h; 22.16 mph) for four hours, making her the fastest ship in her class and the fastest battleship in the United States Navy at the time. The company continued to rely on Navy contracts, which provided 86-percent of the value of new contracts between 1905 and 1917. The yard also produced fishing trawlers, freighters, and yachts throughout the first half of the century. These included Vanda, Hi-Esmaro, Aras I and Aras II, Caroline, and Corsair IV, which later served as a cruise ship before sinking off Acapulco, Mexico in 1949.[2] The shipyard was at peak production during World War II (1943–1944) and launched a destroyer every 17 days. Bath Iron Works ranked 50th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.[3] In 1981, Falcon Transport ordered two tankers, the last commercial vessels built by BIW.

Mighty Servant 2 carrying mine-damaged USS Samuel B. Roberts on July 31, 1988

USS Samuel B. Roberts was commissioned at Bath in 1986, and it survived a mine explosion that which a hole in its engine room and flooded two compartments. Over the next two years, BIW repaired the ship in unique fashion. The guided missile frigate was towed to the company's dry dock in Portland, Maine and put up on blocks, where the damaged engine room was cut out of the ship. Meanwhile, workers in Bath built a 315-ton replacement, and the module was floated south to Portland, placed on the dry dock, slid into place under the frigate, jacked up, and welded into place.[4] In 1995, Bath Iron Works was bought by General Dynamics. In 2001, the company wrapped up a four-year effort to build the Land Level Transfer Facility, an enormous concrete platform for final assembly of its ships, instead of building them on a sloping way so that they could slide into the Kennebec at launch. Hulls are now moved by rail from the platform horizontally onto a moveable dry dock, which greatly reduced the work involved in building and launching the ships.[5] The 750-foot (230 m), 28,000-ton dry dock was built by China's Jiangdu Yuchai Shipbuilding Company for $27 million.[6]

In 2015, Bath Iron Works signed a contract with US Navy for new destroyers, littoral combat ships, and new landing craft. The shipyard delivered USS Rafael Peralta and USS Thomas Hudner and is working on USS Daniel Inouye and USS Carl M. Levin. The DDG block buy for Bath also includes USS John Basilone, USS Harvey C. Barnum Jr., and USS Louis H. Wilson Jr.. On March 27, Bath received a $610.4 million contract modification to build John Basilone. This ship was funded in the 2015 defense appropriations act.[7]

Notable ships built[edit]

USS Chester (CL-1) was the first United States cruiser of the numbering series used through the first half of the 20th century.
The last of the "four-stack" destroyers, USS Pruitt (DD-347) being launched from Bath Iron Works in 1920.
Two of the seven Bath Iron Works destroyers transferred to the Royal Navy in the Destroyers for Bases Agreement. The outboard ship made the St. Nazaire Raid.
USCGC Icarus (WPC-110) delivers prisoners from U-352 to Charleston Navy Yard on 10 May 1942.
Nicholas holds the United States Navy record for battle stars with 16 from World War II, 5 from the Korean War and 9 from the Vietnam War
Agerholm launched an ASROC anti-submarine rocket armed with a nuclear depth bomb during the Swordfish test of 1962
The second Cold War destroyer built by Bath Iron Works was named for the grandfather of Republican 2008 presidential candidate John S. McCain III.

References[edit]

  1. ^ See Peniston, Sanders, Snow.
  2. ^ "End Games - PORTLAND MAGAZINE". www.portlandmonthly.com.
  3. ^ Peck, Merton J.; Scherer, Frederic M. (1962), The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis, Harvard Business School, p. 619
  4. ^ "FFG 58: Repair at Bath Iron Works". navybook.com. 5 February 2013.
  5. ^ GDBIW.com Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Bath Iron Works picks Chinese firm". United Press International. 1998-09-14. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  7. ^ "Flurry of Contracts Spark US Navy Shipbuilding". Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Nevada". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. United States Navy. Archived from the original on 14 March 2004. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  9. ^ Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.103
  10. ^ Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.276
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Fahey, James C. The Ships and Aircraft of the United States Fleet Ships and Aircraft (1939) p.17
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.212
  13. ^ a b Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.380
  14. ^ a b c d e Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.383
  15. ^ Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.114
  16. ^ Oftsie, R.A., RADM USN The Campaigns of the Pacific War United States Government Printing Office (1946) p.55
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Tillman, Barrett Clash of the Carriers (2005) ISBN 0-451-21956-2 pp.301-306
  18. ^ a b c d e Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.118
  19. ^ a b Oftsie, R.A., RADM USN The Campaigns of the Pacific War United States Government Printing Office (1946) p.140
  20. ^ a b c d Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.126
  21. ^ Oftsie, R.A., RADM USN The Campaigns of the Pacific War United States Government Printing Office (1946) p.54
  22. ^ Oftsie, R.A., RADM USN The Campaigns of the Pacific War United States Government Printing Office (1946) p.74
  23. ^ Oftsie, R.A., RADM USN The Campaigns of the Pacific War United States Government Printing Office (1946) p.122
  24. ^ Oftsie, R.A., RADM USN The Campaigns of the Pacific War United States Government Printing Office (1946) p.128
  25. ^ a b c d Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.129
  26. ^ a b Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.132
  27. ^ a b c d e f Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.135
  28. ^ Oftsie, R.A., RADM USN The Campaigns of the Pacific War United States Government Printing Office (1946) p.127
  29. ^ a b Oftsie, R.A., RADM USN The Campaigns of the Pacific War United States Government Printing Office (1946) p.148
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.138
  31. ^ a b c d Oftsie, R.A., RADM USN The Campaigns of the Pacific War United States Government Printing Office (1946) p.153
  32. ^ a b Oftsie, R.A., RADM USN The Campaigns of the Pacific War United States Government Printing Office (1946) p.159
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.141
  34. ^ a b c d Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.143
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) pp.146-7
  36. ^ a b Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.148
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.150
  38. ^ a b Silverstone, Paul H. U.S. Warships of World War II Doubleday & Company (1968) p.152
  39. ^ a b c Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.458
  40. ^ a b Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.435
  41. ^ a b c d e f g h i Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.439
  42. ^ a b c d Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.437
  43. ^ a b Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.432
  44. ^ a b c Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.431
  45. ^ a b c d e Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.429
  46. ^ Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.456
  47. ^ a b c Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.452
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Clement, Janet Ann, LT USNR "The FFG-7 Program: A Shipbuilding Status Report" United States Naval Institute Proceedings (June 1981) p.109

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°54′16″N 69°48′53″W / 43.904494°N 69.814746°W / 43.904494; -69.814746