BATH, Maine (AP) — General Dynamics Corp. said Thursday that the U.S. Navy awarded its shipbuilding subsidiary a $1.8 billion contract to build the next two in a series of new destroyers.

The so-called Zumwalt-class warships are scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2015 and 2018.

Jeff Geiger, president of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, the subsidiary that will build the ships, said the contract will save jobs and give the Maine yard a healthy backlog of work.

The ships are intended to be a larger yet stealthier version of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, which have been in production since the 1980s.

The first of the new ships, to be called the Zumwalt, is already under construction at Bath and scheduled to be completed in 2014. The next two are, for now, called DDG 1001 and DDG 1002.

They will include composite materials, electric-drive propulsion and a redesigned hull. They were designed to be able to move close to shore and support troops by hitting targets on land with special 155-mm guns.

The Navy cut production of the Zumwalt-class ships to three after questions arose about their cost and whether they could perform all the missions the Navy may need, such as responding to a ballistic missile threat from a rogue state.

General Dynamics shares rose $1.36, or 2.3 percent, to close at $61.22.