Navy Picks Italian Design For Its New FFG-X Guided Missile Frigate | World Defense

Navy Picks Italian Design For Its New FFG-X Guided Missile Frigate

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Navy Picks Italian Design For Its New FFG-X Guided Missile Frigate
The frigate, which will be built at the Italian firm's Wisconsin-based subsidiary, is based on ships already in service with four allied navies.
BY JOSEPH TREVITHICKAPRIL 30, 2020

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The U.S. Navy has chosen Marinette Marine, the Wisconsin-based U.S. subsidiary of Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, to build up to 10 of its new guided-missile frigates, presently referred to as FFG(X). This follows reports just days ago that the service would award this contract soon, months ahead of its initial schedule.

The Pentagon announced the contract award, valued at $795,116,483, in its daily contracting announcement on Apr. 20, 2020. This is a fixed price deal with incentives that covers the costs of constructing the initial ship and also includes separate options for nine additional frigates. This pricepoint is notably low, with the Navy having previously said that the first FFG(X) could cost as much as $1.2 billion, with the average unit price across the entire program eventually dropping as production got underway, but still remaining over $800 million.

The full contract announcement is as follows:

"Marinette Marine Corp., Marinette, Wisconsin, is awarded a $795,116,483 fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract for detail design and construction (DD&C) of the FFG(X) class of guided-missile frigates, with additional firm-fixed-price and cost reimbursement line items. The contract with options will provide for the delivery of up to 10 FFG(X) ships, post-delivery availability support, engineering and class services, crew familiarization, training equipment and provisioned item orders. If all options are exercised, the cumulative value of this contract will be $5,576,105,441. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including Marinette, Wisconsin (52%); Boston, Massachusetts (10%); Crozet, Virginia (8%); New Orleans, Louisiana (7%); New York, New York (6%); Washington, D.C. (6%), Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin (3%), Prussia, Pennsylvania (3%), Minneapolis, Minnesota (2%); Cincinnati, Ohio (1%); Atlanta, Georgia (1%); and Chicago, Illinois (1%). The base contract includes the DD&C of the first FFG(X) ship and separately priced options for nine additional ships. The FFG(X) will have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, and electronic warfare and information operations. FFG(X) represents the evolution of the Navy's small surface combatant, with increased lethality, survivability and improved capability to support the National Defense Strategy across the full range of military operations in the current security environment. Work is expected to be complete by May 2035, if all options are exercised. Fiscal 2020 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $795,116,483 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website and four offers were received. The Navy conducted this competition using a tradeoff process to determine the proposal representing the best value, based on the evaluation of non-price factors in conjunction with price. The Navy made the best value determination by considering the relative importance of evaluation factors as set forth in the solicitation, where the non-price factors of design and design maturity and objective performance (to achieve warfighting capability) were approximately equal and each more important than remaining factors. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-20-C-2300)."

Fincantieri's proposal is based on the Franco-Italian Fregata Europea Multi-Missione (FREMM), or European Multi-Mission Frigate, design, variants of which are in service with the Italian, French, Egyptian, and Moroccan navies. You can read more about the FREMM derivative the shipbuilder developed to meet the FFG(X) requirements in this past War Zone piece.

The Italian shipbuilder beat out offers from a partnership between General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, as well as ones from Austal USA and Huntington Ingalls. The competition first began in 2017. Lockheed Martin dropped out of the running in 2019 as a prime contractor, but is also a member of Fincantieri's team of subcontractors.

"The Navy’s Guided-Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) will be an important part of our future fleet," Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday said in a separate U.S. Navy statement. “FFG(X) is the evolution of the Navy’s Small Surface Combatant with increased lethality, survivability, and improved capability to support the National Defense Strategy across the full range of military operations. It will no doubt help us conduct distributed maritime operations more effectively, and improve our ability to fight both in contested blue-water and littoral environments.”

“I am very proud of the hard work from the requirements, acquisition, and shipbuilder teams that participated in the full and open competition, enabling the Navy to make this important decision today,” James Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, also said. "Throughout this process, the government team and our industry partners have all executed with a sense of urgency and discipline, delivering this contract award three months ahead of schedule. The team’s intense focus on cost, acquisition, and technical rigor, enabled the government to deliver the best value for our taxpayers as we deliver a highly capable next generation Frigate to our Warfighters."

Beyond all this, this is certainly an exciting announcement that will have significant impacts on the structure of the U.S. Navy's surface fleets for years to come.

The War Zone will continue to update this post with additional details and analysis.

Contact the author: joe@thedrive.com
 

mtime7

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So happy, all the reports I have read about this acquisition has been good, I think they are going to do this without screwing it all up
 

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Navy's New Frigate Will Be Based on Italian Ship With 'Officer-Quality' Staterooms
01 May 2020

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The Navy on Thursday awarded a much-anticipated $795 million contract to a Wisconsin-based shipbuilder to begin production on the first of the service's next-generation small-surface combatants.

Fincantieri Marinette Marine won the contract to design and build the first of the new guided-missile frigates. The contract also includes plans for up to nine more ships from the firm -- a deal that's ultimately worth more than $5.5 billion.

"The frigate will be an agile multi-mission warship," James Geurts, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, told reporters after the announcement. "They'll operate in all environments and will be more lethal, survivable and have increased self-defense and local-area defense capability and capacity over previous small-surface combatants."

The new frigate is an important part of the Navy's plans to modernize for more distributed operations, positioning the U.S. to defend against near-peer adversaries, such as China and Russia. Leaders say it will improve the service's ability to fight on both the high seas and near the shore, with more capabilities than littoral combat ships but a smaller price tag than cruisers and destroyers.

The Navy awarded its contract to Fincantieri about three months ahead of schedule, in a push to get the new frigate program moving. Another way it sped up the process was to build the frigate after an existing ship design.

Fincantieri beat out three competitors -- General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Austral USA and Huntington Ingalls Industries -- with its FREMM design that's already in use by the Italian and French navies. FREMM in Italian stands for European multi-purpose frigate.

"All this was done with an intense focus on cost, acquisition and technical rigor so that we got the best value for our warfighter and the taxpayer," Geurts said. "It's the best I've seen in the Navy thus far at integrating all of our teams together and it's a model we are building on for future programs."

The Navy plans to eventually buy 20 of the new frigates. Geurts said they expect delivery of the first ship in 2026, with the class reaching full operational capability by 2032.

Since the service is leaning heavily on an existing platform and technologies for the new ship, Rear Adm. Casey Moton, the program executive officer for unmanned and small combatants, said he's confident the Navy will meet those timeframes. Current plans call for the frigate to use a modified version of the SPY-6 radar Raytheon is developing to keep the Navy's aging destroyers in the fight, along with Lockheed Martin's Aegis
Combat System.

Vice Adm. Jim Kilby, deputy chief of naval operations for warfare requirements and capabilities, said the goal is for the frigate to be able to fight in "all spectrums of potential conflict." That includes being able to carry manned helicopters and unmanned aircraft, he said.

The design criteria also called for lots of space for future upgrades to the ship's systems, such as bigger radars or other updates the frigate might need to remain competitive decades from now.

"Though it's classified as a small-surface combatant, it really falls nicely in between our small-surface combatants and our large-surface combatants," Kilby said. "And I see it doing multiple things. This is going to be a real workhorse for the United States Navy, supporting distributed maritime operations in the future."

Since the Navy has higher survivability standards than European services, retired Adm. Rick Hunt, the former head of Naval Surface Force Pacific who now works for Fincantieri, told Defense News last summer that the company added about 300 tons of steel to its FREMM design to qualify to compete for the contract.

Hunt also told the outlet future crews can expect "officer quality" when it comes to berthing compartments with private showers in each room.
"The most you'll see in normal steaming is [four-person staterooms]," he told Defense News. "...That was a fight. That was a back-and-forth with big Navy and again an area that we came to an agreement on, and we're holding [to] that."

This isn't the first big job Fincantieri Marinette Marine has gotten from the Navy. In recent years, the firm has been building freedom-class littoral combat ships for the service.
 

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Marinette Marine nets $795.1M for 10 Guided Missile Frigates for Navy
May 1, 2020
By Christen McCurdy
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May 1 (UPI) -- The Navy this week awarded Marinette Marine Corp. with a $795.1 million contract this week for construction of up to 10 Guided Missile Frigatesek.

According to the Navy, the Guided Missile Frigate, or FFG(X), is intended to be the next generation of small surface combatants. The vessels will have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare and information operations.

The new ships will also include Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar, Baseline Ten AEGIS Combat System, a Mk 41 Vertical Launch System, communication systems and MK 57 Gun Weapon System countermeasures.

"The Navy's Guided-Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) will be an important part of our future fleet," Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said in a statement. "FFG(X) is the evolution of the Navy's Small Surface Combatant with increased lethality, survivability, and improved capability to support the National Defense Strategy across the full range of military operations."

"It will no doubt help us conduct distributed maritime operations more effectively, and improve our ability to fight both in contested blue-water and littoral environments," he added.

The acquisition process for the Guided Missile Frigate began in 2017, with the Navy issuing a final request for proposals for the first 10 ships in June 2019.

In 2018, the Navy awarded five companies $15 million each for development of the next-generation frigate: Huntington Ingalls Industries, Austal USA, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Fincantieri Marine -- of which Marinette Marine is a subsidiary.

According to the contract announcement, 52 percent of work on the deal will be performed at Marinette's worksite in Marinette, Wisc., with other work being carried out at various sites throughout the United States.

If all options are exercised, work will be completed by May 2035.
 

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