Just days after awarding contracts to Austal and Lockheed Martin to begin work building it four new Littoral Combat Ships, the Department of Defense returned to the shipyards Friday to award two new defense contracts to shipbuilders General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) and Huntington Ingalls (NYSE:HII), to build it two new destroyers. Specifically:

General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works subsidiary was awarded a $642.6 million contract modification, exercising an option to have the firm begin construction of a new Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) guided missile destroyer. $79.4 million of these funds will be used not on the current destroyer, but to help pay for the "advanced procurement" of parts needed to begin building destroyers slated for construction during fiscal 2016 and 2017. This contract will remain in force through July 2023.

Meanwhile, Huntington Ingalls won a slightly smaller contract modification, this one worth $602 million, to begin building a DDG 51 of its own. Similar to the General Dynamics contract, Huntington's award also earmarks $79.4 million of its funds for the advanced procurement of parts needed to build destroyers in fiscal 2016 and 2017 ships. Again, this contract will run through July 2023.

The original USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), first of a long line of destroyers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Dynamics. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.