US Navy moves forward with FFG-62 Constellation class frigate programme
Warship Technology: March 2021
Fincantieri Marinette Marine is continuing to mature the design of the US Navy’s new FFG-62 Constellation-class guided missile frigate ahead of beginning construction of the first-in-class, to be named USS Constellation, in early 2022.
In parallel, the company is investing in a programme of upgrades for its shipyard facilities in Wisconsin to support the ambitious production schedule for the FFG-62 build programme.
Adapted from the Italian Navy’s Carlo Bergamini class FREMM frigate platform, the FFG-62 frigate programme – previously known as FFG(X) – is intended to deliver a new class of multi-mission small surface combatant to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, and electronic warfare and information operations. The US Navy currently plans to build a class of 20 ships.
The FFG(X) programme, latterly becoming the FFG-62 Constellation-class guided missile frigate, was conceived to provide the US Navy with the increased lethality, survivability, and improved capability to support the National Defense Strategy across the full range of military operations in the current security environment.
Following evaluation of the offers, NAVSEA in late April 2020 awarded Fincantieri Marinette Marine a DD&C contract valued at US$795 million to build the first-in-class. Additional contract options provide for the acquisition of a further nine ships – together with post-delivery availability support, engineering and class services, and crew familiarisation training equipment – at a total cost of up to US$5.57 billion.
The name Constellation was announced for the first in class (FFG-62) in October 2020. The second ship in the class (FFG-63) will be called USS Congress.
Since the DD&C award, Fincantieri Marinette Marine has been completing FFG 62 functional and detailed design. This is being matured ahead of a critical design review and a production readiness review later in 2021. The intention is to start construction of the first-in-class at the end of this year, or in early 2022. Delivery of Constellation is planned for FY2026. This will be followed by a period of testing and operational evaluation ahead of achieving initial operational capability in 2029.