The U.S. Navy has awarded $15 million each conceptual design contracts for its FFG(X) next-generation guided-missile frigate program to five shipbuilders.
The five contenders selected for the contract are Austal USA, Huntington Ingalls (HII), Lockheed Martin, Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW). The contracts were awarded by the U.S. Department of Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) located in Washington, District of Columbia.
Austal USA is offering a frigate based on its Independence-class littoral combat ship and Lockheed Martin is offering Freedom Frigate based on the Freedom-class littoral combat ship. Both LCS ships are already in service with the U.S. Navy.
Italian shipbuilder, Fincantieri is offering its FREMM multipurpose frigate through its U.S. subsidiary, Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM). The FREMM frigates were originally designed by DCNS/Armaris and Fincantieri for the French Navy and the Italian Navy. FMM is already partnering with Lockheed Martin for the construction of Freedom-class littoral combat ships.
General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) is partnering with Navantia to offer the latter’s Álvaro de Bazán-class F100 frigate which is in service with the Spanish Navy. Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) is offering a patrol frigate based on the National Security Cutter (NSC, Legend-class cutter) operated by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The companies will be maturing their proposed ship design to meet the FFG(X) system specification. The conceptual design effort will inform the final specifications that will be used for the detail design and construction request for proposal that will deliver the required capability for FFG(X). The conceptual design phase will reduce cost, schedule, and performance risk for the follow-on detail design and construction contract. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to around $23 million.
The contract work is expected to be completed by June 2019.
FFG(X) is the notional designation of a class of multi-mission guided-missile frigates for the U.S. Navy, to be contracted from 2020, as a follow-on to the modular Littoral Combat Ship. The FFG(X) was announced in a US Department of Defense Request For Information (RFI) on 10 July 2017.
The U.S. Navy intends to award the contract for the first FFG(X) in 2020. It will buy one in 2020 and one in 2021, followed by two each year after that, for a 20-ship class. The U.S. Navy wants the follow-on ships in the FFG(X) program (i.e., ships 2 through 20) to have an average unit procurement cost of not more than $950 million each (in constant 2018 dollars).