Guided Missile Frigate

U.S. Navy awarded a contract to design and produce the next generation small surface combatant, the Guided Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) April 30. The contract for detail design and construction (DD&C) of up to 10 Guided Missile Frigates (consisting of one base ship and nine option ships) was awarded to Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC) of Marinette, Wisconsin, officials announced.

An artist rendering of the guided-missile frigate FFG(X). The new small surface combatant will have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare, and information operations (U.S. Navy graphic/Released)

«The Navy’s Guided-Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) will be an important part of our future fleet», said Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Mike Gilday. «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».

The FFG(X) will have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare, and information operations. Specifically, FFG(X) will include an Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) radar, Baseline Ten (BL10) AEGIS Combat System, a Mk-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS), communications systems, 57-mm Gun Weapon System (GWS) countermeasures and added capability in the EW/IO area with design flexibility for future growth.

«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», said James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition. «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».

The acquisition process for FFG(X) began in 2017. Since then, the U.S. Navy has worked closely with industry to balance cost and capability. This approach was successful in achieving an Average Follow ship cost across ships 2-20 that is below the objective set in the CDD and aligns to the National Defense Strategy’s stated goal of achieving a more lethal, resilient, and agile force by pursuing acquisition strategies to build ships more quickly and affordably. For example, because the frigate acquisition program promoted shipbuilding competition, included early industry involvement, and open communication between all stakeholders, the program was able to accelerate almost six years as compared to normal shipbuilding programs.

Features

The U.S. Navy released the FFG(X) DD&C Request for Proposals to industry June 20 last year. Technical proposals were received in August 2019, and cost proposals were received in September 2019. This was a full and open competition with multiple offers received.

This U.S.-adapted guided missile frigate, based on the operationally proven FREMM (Frégate européenne multi-mission), represents the most capable and modern frigate in the world. It delivers needed capabilities to the U.S. Navy with enhanced lethality, survivability, safety, maintainability, habitability, and cybersecurity.

Producing a great ship by ensuring it is designed to best support our Sailors, providing the foundation for all Combat Systems requirements today, with margin and adaptability for future needs.

Parent design operating in Allied Navies with more than five years of fleet operations. Human Factors approach ensures optimized operational efficiency at every watchstation.

The Sailors’ workload is reduced by 50% through our FFG(X) design that leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support condition based maintenance. This reduces unnecessary maintenance and provides the crew a real-time understanding of maintenance needs and materiel conditions. This also increases Operational Availability (AO).

Bridge is designed using human factors to improve situational awareness and watch-stander performance.

Enhanced accommodations increase quality of life, comfort, and rest; which contributes to the crew’s operational effectiveness. Our design replaces outdated 30+ person bunkrooms with staterooms of no more than six Sailors, and each stateroom has its own toilet and sink.

Provides energy-efficient diesel power generation for propulsion at normal steaming speeds while contributing greatly to anti-submarine capability in an extremely quiet diesel-electric configuration.

 

Specifications

Displacement 6,500 tons
Length Overall 496 feet/151.2 m
Beam 65 feet/19.8 m
Propulsion Combined diesel-electric and gas (CODLAG)
Sustained Speed 26+ knots/30+ mph/48 km/h
Range 6,000+ NM/6,905 miles/11,112 km at 16 knots/18.4 mph/29.6 km/h
Accommodations 200