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

US 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.
 

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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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moving right along!


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The generator sets are based on the mtu 20V 4000 M53B engine and provide a total power output of 12 MW for propulsion and on-board power supply. Rolls-Royce image.

Rolls-Royce To Supply Mtu Generator Sets For U.S. Navy Frigate Program​


Rolls-Royce has been selected to supply its mtu naval generator sets for phase one of the U.S. Navy’s Constellation (FFG-62) class frigate program, previously known as the FFG(X) program.​


Rolls-Royce press release


Rolls-Royce has received a contract for the first shipset to provide four mtu naval generator sets, each rated at 3000 kWe at 1800 rpm.


The Navy Constellation (FFG-62) Class Frigate is a multi-mission warship designed for operation in littoral and blue water environments to conduct air, anti-submarine, surface and electronic warfare, in addition to information operations. The generator sets are based on the mtu 20V 4000 M53B engine and provide a total power output of 12 MW for propulsion and on-board power supply.

“We’re very proud that Fincantieri Marinette Marine has placed its trust in our mtu naval generator sets for this important program. We have a legacy of strong support for our partners in both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, and we are honored to be selected for FFG-62. There is no doubt that our systems will perform to the high expectations and unique demands of the U.S. Navy Constellation Class.”



Adam Wood, Director, Government Sales North America at Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems,

The flexible design engineering of the frigate’s CODLAG propulsion system will allow for energy-efficient diesel power generation for propulsion at normal cruising speeds with extended range, while enhancing anti-submarine capability in its extremely quiet diesel-electric configuration. When completed, the lead ship will be nearly 500 feet in length, accommodate up to 200 Sailors and be capable of sustained speeds of more than 26 knots.


Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) of Marinette, Wisconsin (USA), was awarded the build contract for the project, which includes the design and construction of the lead ship and the option to build up to 10 ships in total for phase one. A potential planned second phase would include another 10 ships.


Construction on the first ship is expected to begin later this year.
 

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Fincantieri Marinette Marine Awarded Second Constellation-class Frigate​

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Constellation-class Frigate (Image: U.S. Navy)

The Department of Defense announced Thursday that the Navy is exercising a $553.8 million option to have Fincantieri Marinette Marine build the second Constellation-class frigate.

The Wisconsin shipyard is currently working with the Navy on the detailed design phase of building the first-in-class USS Constellation (FFG-62), a modern guided-missile frigate based partially on the Italian FREMM. Fabrication is planned to start at the end of this year, and the ship is expected to deliver to the Navy in 2026.

This contract is the first of nine potential options on future guided-missile frigates for the Wisconsin shipyard.

Dario Deste, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group, stated that the approval on the second ship was expected based on progress on FFG design efforts, as well as the company’s demonstrated commitment and follow-through on capital improvements.

“While it is good to have additional work lined up for our shipyards, I believe the most important aspect of this decision is that our customer believes that together we are a strong team focused on delivering a capable and adaptable ship that will serve well into the future,” Deste said. “We made substantial investments in our system-of-shipyards in Wisconsin, so that we can solidify our position as a surface combatant center of excellence.”

Fincantieri Marinette Marine received the initial FFG(X) contract April 30, 2020, for the lead ship and options for nine additional ships valued at $5.5B. Although the award happened several months earlier than planned, FMM went into the DD&C (Detail Design and Construction) phase with a lot of momentum.

“There was very little time for fanfare after the initial award,” Deste said. “Frankly we were happy to receive it [the award], but more happy to start working closely with the U.S. Navy as the prime contractor on this important program for them.”

“There are always challenges when you build a first-in-class ship, but we started with a phenomenal parent design—the FREMM—which is internationally known as a reliable, versatile and operationally-proven warship,” Deste said. “And we continue to work with the U.S. Navy to give them exactly the ship they want.”

“In the end, we expect to make many frigates for the U.S. Navy beyond the initial 10,” Deste added.
 

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The latest (January 2021) rending of the Constellation-class. Fincantieri image

NAVSEA Builds New Frigate Readiness Digital Model In Advance Of Construction​

Even before the hull of the first new Constellation-class Frigate (FFG), USS Constellation (FFG 62), is laid, a cross-warfare center team is developing a digital platform to predict whether its systems are ready for its mission before it leaves port.​


That platform is known as the total ship Frigate Readiness Assessment Model (FRAM). Members of Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Port Hueneme Division (PHD) are developing and testing FRAM with input from NSWC Corona in Norco, California and NSWC Carderock in Bethesda, Maryland.


FRAM implements a holistic modeling and simulation approach for acquisition and sustainment of ships’ systems and parts using the same toolset as the soon-to-launch Model Based Product Support (MBPS) platform. It also makes use of existing data sets and digital models of various combat systems that have already been identified to be used on the new frigate.


The FFG Program Office Readiness Working Group (PMS 515L) is overseeing the FRAM project under Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants.


“The importance of FRAM is applying MBPS at a total ship level in acquisition, which will serve as foundation and baseline when the ship transitions to its lifecycle,” said Bob Howard, the acquisition supportability manager in NSWC PHD’s Littoral Strike and Warfare Department. Howard is leading the FRAM team at the command, which will serve as the in-service engineering agent (ISEA) for the new ship class.


“The FRAM enables influencing the program supportability early in a ship’s lifecycle to improve readiness and reduce cost by providing quantitative analysis, which can be used to understand trade space of decisions,” Howard added.


The FFG 62 is currently in detail design prior to construction by Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. During this time, the FRAM team is able to help identify design flaws or other issues related to specific key readiness factors prior to the ship design’s final approval.


The readiness factors that the FRAM uses in its mission-based model are Personnel, Equipment, Supply, Training, Ordnance, Network and Infrastructure, referred to as PESTONI. The FRAM characterizes each category’s impacts to total ship readiness.


“We know there’s going to be a gun, a radar, engines, and so forth,” said Colin Hathaway, NSWC PHD’s performance and maintenance data analysis branch manager, who is overseeing the command’s FRAM team. “The goal of modeling all this before they build it is so we can influence the design.


“If there are components or systems that aren’t going to help meet the requirements for the ship, we can address those early before it’s actually fully built,” Hathaway added. “(Otherwise,) it’s hard to go back at that point; you have to redesign everything.”


For example, if the FRAM notes that a radar system intended for the ship requires a certain maintenance schedule, but the ship’s personnel profile indicates there will be too few qualified and trained Sailors to maintain the radar according to its requirements and set schedule, then the solution might be either to add more trained Sailors or build in an automated system test that identifies any potential problems in the maintenance cycle and sends alerts.


“It might be that a design change is the most efficient option, or it might be that we need to update the maintenance strategy that we have for this particular ship to make sure we address the problem so the system is not failing as often,” Hathaway said.


Not all combat systems have digital models associated with them, and that’s where the Advanced Model Build (AMB) teams come in. The MBPS and Legacy Logistics Information Technology systems program office (SEA03R) is leading the AMB initiative to rapidly develop digital readiness models for all Navy weapon systems using the MPBS Navy Common Readiness Model (NCRM) tool suite.


The AMB process is an interim model building process until MBPS is ready to launch later this fiscal year. The FRAM and AMB teams have been in regular contact since both were launched.


The AMB process draws data from legacy logistics information technology (IT) systems. SEA03R has committed to an aggressive readiness model build schedule, anticipating that all Navy weapon systems will be modeled by July 2021.


Warfare centers including NSWC PHD are working to build the models even as they correct data errors or inconsistencies in the authoritative data sources, collaborating with the weapon systems’ program offices, their subject matter experts and ISEAs.


Team members from PHD’s Air Dominance Department are working on models for the Aegis combat system, the MK41 vertical launch system, and hull, mechanical and electrical combat systems.


PHD’s FRAM team communicates with the AMB teams as new digital models of Navy combats systems are being built.


Hathaway noted that the FRAM and AMB teams have similar goals.


“That’s why we’ve been working together to try and figure out the correct model setup and the correct model application—so we have a consistent framework for how we are modeling,” he said.
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The FRAM team has moved to the next phase beyond incorporating Navy-furnished equipment into the model, and members are now receiving systems information from the contractors designing the frigate. Information they get regularly could relate to electrical systems, water supply systems, engine design and other areas that require maintenance and possibly replacement parts for repair. As the model grows, the FRAM team continues to test and analyze results.


“We are looking at the different missions this particular ship will be assigned, and identifying the systems that ship’s force would need to have available and operational to accomplish those missions,” Hathaway said. “We are making sure we have a strategy in place, based on the design and our product support strategy, to meet the readiness requirements for these anticipated missions.”


If all the PESTONI do not line up with mission parameters, the FRAM can help identify and prioritize what things need to be adjusted within those seven factors and develop a corrective action with an anticipated timeline and potential cost.


“These modeling efforts will directly enable the ISEA to execute core functions such as sustainment engineering, maintenance engineering and other core integrated product support functions,” Howard said.


Hathaway pointed out that the outcome of FRAM will likely reach beyond just the FFG.


“Our goal is to develop a centralized, total ship decision support tool that can be used to help those decision makers in Washington, D.C., not just for this frigate program but for future programs as well,” he said.
 

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Fincantieri Marinette nabs $553.9M for second Constitution-class frigate
May 20, 2021
By Christen McCurdy

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An artist rendering of the guided-missile frigate. The Navy awarded a contract option Thursday to build its second Constellation-class frigate. Image courtesy of U.S. Navy

May 20 (UPI) -- The Navy has awarded a $553.9 million contract option to Fincantieri Marinette Marine to build a second Constellation-class guided missile frigate, the service announced Thursday.

The future USS Congress is designed to have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare, and information operations, the Navy said.

"The Navy Program Office is pleased to award the option for the USS Congress (FFG 63) to our industry partner Fincantieri Marinette Marine," Capt. Kevin Smith, major program manager for Constellation Class Frigate, said in the Navy's release. "As the second ship of the Constellation Class Frigate Program, the USS Congress will provide a highly capable, next-generation surface combatant that our Navy and Nation needs."

The vessel will be built at Fincantieri's shipyard in Marinette, Wisc., where preparations are currently being made for the construction of its sister ship, the USS Constellation, the Navy said.

According to the Pentagon's contract announcement, other work on the contract will be performed in Boston, New Orleans, Crozet, Va., and several other U.S. worksites.

The USS Congress' name was announced in December by then-Navy Secretary Kenneth J. Braithwaite.

As of December the vessel is expected to be delivered in 2026, with the Pentagon's more recent announcement saying work is expected to be completed by January 2027.
 

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USS Constellation, is expected to be delivered in 2026.

The Navy seeks 20 guided missile frigates by Fiscal Year 2030, a 2019 Navy report to the U.S. Congress said.

The ships must fully integrate with a carrier strike group, hunt submarines and fire at ships over the horizon. They will also carry at least 32 Mark 41 vertical launch tubes system tube for missile-firing, as outlined in a 2019 Navy report to Congress.

The future USS Congress, currently designated FFG63, will be the sixth Navy vessel to carry the name. The first was among six ships authorized by the Naval Act of 1794, forming the U.S. Navy.
 

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Fincantieri dedicates all its US shipyards for Navy frigate orders​

By: Tom Kington

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The U.S. Navy's future frigate is based on the Italian FREMM, shown here underway off the coast of Virginia during its 2018 deployment to the East Coast. (Staff)​


ROME — Fincantieri is to use all three of its U..S shipyards to build new FFG(X) frigates and will hire 600 more staff by year-end to handle the work, a company official said following the U.S. Navy’s order for a second vessel out of a potential 10 in total.

The $553.9 million contract for the second Constellation-class guided-missile frigate was awarded Thursday to Fincantieri Marinette Marine based in Marinette, Wisconsin. The shipyard has experience building Freedom-class littoral combat ships for the Navy.

As opposed to the LCS program, work on the new frigate will also take place at two other Great Lakes sites controlled by Italian parent firm Fincantieri: Sturgeon Bay yard Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, which focuses on commercial shipping, and Green Bay yard Fincantieri ACE Marine, which specializes in aluminum vessels for the U.S. Coast Guard.

“With this step forward, we will keep pace with the program by building some sections [of the frigates] at Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay,” said Dario Deste, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group.

The Navy picked Fincantieri last year to deliver the first Constellation frigate with options for a further nine vessels in a deal potentially worth $5.5 billion to the Italian group.

The new ships will be based on Fincantieri’s FREMM frigate, which is already in service with the French, Italian and Moroccan navies.

Preparation will see a $200 million investment at Marinette, where a new building will allow indoor construction of the vessels, while plans are underway for the construction of the largest ship lift in the United States. Smaller LCS vessels are currently side launched at the yard.

The staff count at the three yards will rise from the current 2,400 to about 3,000 this calendar year, said Deste, who predicts options for further vessels will be exercised once a year and then twice a year from 2023 or 2024.

The firm is now working on the detailed design phase of building the first-in-class USS Constellation, with construction due to start at the end of this year followed by delivery in 2026.

The contract marks Fincantieri’s debut as a prime contractor on a major U.S. Navy program after it partnered with Lockheed Martin for the LCS program. Lockheed took the role as prime for that effort.

Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono has advocated that shipyards should be primes on naval programs and noted that the firm’s concept for the Constellation program has the advantage of being based on an operational vessel.
 
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