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The proposed weaponry and design for the U.S. Navy’s Future Frigate.

| 2020

Following years of analysis and international competition, the U.S. Navy has selected Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build its FFG(X) “future frigate” design at the company’s Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin.
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The proposed weaponry and design for the U.S. Navys Future Frigate 925 001 Artist’s rendering of F/MM design (Picture source: U.S. Navy)

The FFG(X) program is a Navy program to build a class of 20 guided-missile frigates (FFGs). Congress funded the procurement of the first FFG(X) in FY2020 at a cost of $1,281.2 million (i.e., about $1.3 billion). The Navy’s proposed FY2021 budget requests $1,053.1 million (i.e., about $1.1 billion) for the procurement of the second FFG(X). The Navy estimates that subsequent ships in the class will cost roughly $940 million each in then-year dollars.

Four industry teams were competing for the FFG(X) program. On April 30, 2020, the Navy announced that it had awarded the FFG(X) contract to the team led by Fincantieri/Marinette Marine (F/MM) of Marinette, WI. F/MM was awarded a fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract for Detail Design and Construction (DD&C) for up to 10 ships in the program—the lead ship plus nine option ships.

Based on the Italian multimission FREMM (Fregata Europea Multi-Missione), the guided-missile frigates will be optimized for operations in both blue-water and littoral environments and will incorporate a number of design modifications for the Navy.

The proposed weaponry and design for the U.S. Navys Future Frigate 925 002The U.S. Navy’s Future Frigate (Picture source: US Naval Institue)

About the future guided-missile frigate:

The ship will be a multimission small surface combatant capable of conducting anti-air warfare (AAW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), antisubmarine warfare (ASW), and electromagnetic warfare (EMW) operations.

Compared to an FF concept that emerged under a February 2014 restructuring of the LCS program, the FFG(X) is to have increased AAW and EMW capability, and enhanced survivability.

The ship’s area-defence AAW system will be capable of local area AAW, meaning a form of area-defense AAW that extends to a lesser range than the area-defence AAW that can be provided by the Navy’s cruisers and destroyers.

The ship will be capable of operating either independently (when that is appropriate for its assigned mission) or as part of larger Navy formations.

In terms of weapon systems, the frigate will be fitted with all the government-furnished equipment as outlined by the U.S. Navy requirements:

- Mk110 57mm main gun
- 32x Mk41 VLS
- Up to 16x NSM anti-ship missiles
- A RAM close in weapon system3.

The future frigate will be fitted with the future AN/SPY-6(V)3 radar by Raytheon and baseline 10 Aegis combat management system.

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