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: [email protected]
 

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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.
 

mtime7

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Just like to say how happy I am with the turn around in US military acquisition, just yesterday read a report saying that the B-21 is coming along smoothly (you expect that from Skunk Works), they are literally taking delivery of F-15EX's, FFG(X) has a final engineering acceptance and they are gong to start laying steel.


Navy: First Constellation Frigate Will Start Fabrication This Year as Shipyard Expands​

By: Sam LaGrone
January 15, 2021 7:06 PM
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Rendering of USS Constellation (FFG-62). Fincantieri Image

The first hull in a new Navy ship class in more than a decade is set to start construction later this year, the service’s program manager said this week.

Fincantieri Marinette Marine plans to start fabrication of the future USS Constellation (FFG-62) in late summer or early fall following the completion of the final design review of the plans for the ship, Capt. Kevin Smith, who oversees the program for the Navy, said on Tuesday. The ship is estimated to be completed in Fiscal Year 2026.

“After we awarded the contract in April, we got going on functional design, the detailed design, with Fincantieri, Smith said.
“We had an initial delivery of the build specifications that were worked in during the conceptual design phase. Those are still being refined as we get ready for a critical design review later this fall.”

The Navy has stressed the multi-mission character of the new class rather than the modular mission package system of the Littoral Combat Ship. Estimated to displace about 7,300 tons fully loaded, the Connies will feature a derivative of the AN/SPY-6 radar being installed on the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, a 32-cell vertical launch system, Aegis Baseline 10 combat system and 16 anti-ship Naval Strike Missiles, with a crew of about 200.

The design of the new frigate is based on the FREMM multi-mission frigate in use with the French and Italian navies. Even with using the FREMM as a parent design, the Navy and designers Gibbs & Cox are making extensive revisions to accommodate not only American survivability standards, but also the margins the ship will need to accommodate new weapons and sensors over the life of the hull.

“Right now, the vast majority of the work going on for frigate is the detailed design. The engineers are sitting down and doing drawings,” Fincantieri Marinette Marine president and former U.S. Surface Force Pacific commander Rick Hunt told reporters in December.

In terms of margin, the hull should be able to add another 500 tons of weight and have excess cooling and electricity capacity for new equipment, Hunt said.

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Smith acknowledged the room for the platform to grow over the life of the class.

“We have ample margin for this hull form. We also have in our requirements [the] space, weight, power and cooling margin to accommodate upgrades down the road over the service life of the ship,” he said.
“Some of those could lead to direct energy type projects and other capabilities.”

Fincantieri and the Navy are also working under a congressional mandate to ensure the components in the class, based on an Italian design, are all American.

“This is a U.S. warship that’s 96 percent American products right now in the design that we produce. We’ve touched almost every drawing from the parent design,” Hunt said.
“By the time we complete ship two, we’ll be at a hundred percent American.”

The Navy is estimating the first-in-class Constellation is set to cost about $1.28 billion — $795 million for the hull and the rest for government-furnished equipment, Smith said. The follow-on ships must have a price range of $800 to $950 million. Smith said that current cost estimates for the follow-on hulls to the first ship were around $781 million per ship — about $8.7 billion for the first ten ships.

In October, the Congressional Budget Office said the Navy might have underestimated the cost by up to 40 percent and the cost could be as high as $12.3 billion for the first ten frigates.

The start of fabrication comes as the yard in Wisconsin is in the midst of a $200 million capital expansion to accommodate the construction of the frigate program that will include a syncrolift, which will lower ships into the water more gently than the side-launch method Marinette Marine uses for the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships.

“We’re also putting together a new erection building — final assembly building — large enough to handle two frigates at a time,” Hunt said.
“That’s huge for being able to deliver and complete the ship for the right cost in the right timeframe.”
 

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Rolls-Royce To Design And Manufacture Propellers For U.S. Navy’s Constellation-Class Frigate​


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Rolls-Royce To Design And Manufacture Propellers For U.S. Navy’s Constellation-Class Frigate​

Rolls-Royce has reached agreement with Fincantieri Marinette Marine to design and manufacture up to 40 fixed-pitch propellers for the U.S. Navy’s Constellation-class (FFG-62) guided missile frigate program.​

Rolls-Royce press release


Fincantieri was awarded the shipbuilding contract from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in April 2020, to design and build the first FFG-62 class frigate. The program of record is for a total of 20 ships, with the first to be delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2026.


Neil Pickard, SVP – Land & Sea, Business Development and Future Programs said:

“We’re excited to join Fincantieri on the U.S. Navy’s newest frigate program. We’ve been strong international partners for many years and now we’ll work together in the U.S. for the first time to deliver world-class American-made products for our military.”

The first set of propellers (two per ship) is scheduled to be delivered to Fincantieri in 2023.


The propellers will be manufactured in Rolls-Royce’s recently upgraded Pascagoula, Mississippi foundry and will be some of the first work to utilize the newly installed state-of-the-art equipment and renovated facility; funded through investments from the DoD, Rolls-Royce, Jackson County (MS) and the state of Mississippi.
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The latest (January 2021) rending of the Constellation-class. Fincantieri image

“This will be one of the first dividends realized on the recent investments in Pascagoula thus ensuring critical Naval manufacturing capabilities are retained in the U.S.,” said Neil. “And, we’ll continue to deliver on those investments, supporting the needs of the future Naval fleet with our full range of in-country capabilities including design, manufacture, test and maintenance.”


Each propeller for the FFG-62 class frigate weighs more than an average passenger bus. The Rolls-Royce Pascagoula Foundry is one of only two facilities in the country qualified to cast propellers of this size for the U.S. Navy. In fact, ninety-five percent of the commissioned U.S. Navy surface fleet is equipped with Rolls-Royce propellers.


Naval components manufactured by Rolls-Royce at Pascagoula include controllable-pitch propeller systems, fixed-pitch propellers, and water jets.
 

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The U.S. Navy's Master Plan For Its New Constellation-Class Frigates​

These warships will be able to carry out a wide variety of tasks and will help free up larger and more powerful destroyers for other missions.

Deck mounted guns, drone operations and an integrated network of “meshed” sensors are all likely to operate as key components of the Navy’s new FFG 62 Constellation-class Frigate. These new warships will be tasked with many missions, including a requirement to find and destroy small swarming boat attacks, support carrier strike groups, conduct dis-aggregated operations, attack enemies with an over-the-horizon missile and engage in advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare.

Significantly, the Navy’s emerging weapons structure for its new Fincantieri-built Frigate, now nearing completion of its initial design phase according to a statement from Naval Sea Systems Command, likely aligns with the service’s initial vision for the ship.


A Navy statement several years ago said the platform will “employ unmanned systems to penetrate and dwell in contested environments, operating at greater risk to gain sensor and weapons advantages over the adversary.”

A well-armed ship, which is what the emerging structure of the ship clearly seems to be according to Fincantieri graphic renderings published by NAVSEA, is consistent with the Navy’s previously articulated plan for the ship, which envisioned a platform that could travel in substantial aggregated combat scenarios such as Carrier Strike Groups and Expeditionary Strike Groups. At the same time, in a manner likely aligned with the Navy’s Distributed Maritime Operations strategy, the concept for the ship also likely incorporates a requirement for the ship able to operate somewhat autonomously or separated from other ships in close proximity and operate drones to enable more disaggregated, independent missions. At its inception, Navy developers referred to the new Frigate as the FFG(X).

“The FFG(X) small surface combatant will expand blue force sensor and weapon influence to provide increased information to the overall fleet tactical picture while challenging adversary Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Tracking (ISR&T) efforts,” Naval Sea Systems Command FFG(X) documents said.

The Navy vision for the ship, first articulated several years ago, seems to emphasize warfare networking priorities through use of terms like “blue force sensor and weapon influence.” Navy plans have long called for the establishment of a local sensor network using passive onboard sensors and “embarked aircraft” to act as a “gateway to the fleet tactical grid,” as Navy documents describe it. This Navy vision was expressed by the service’s call for a netted-system of sensors called Cooperative Engagement Capability, intended to connect radar systems to other sensor-derived information, according to Raytheon data.

A concept of networking is integral to the idea of linking the new Frigate with other large surface platforms such as cruisers, destroyers and even carriers to accomplish what the Navy’s initial Request For Information identified as a need for area air defense and an ability to defend against raids of small boats.
 
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