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The US Navy selects Fincantieri design for next-gen frigate

The US Navy has selected Fincantieri’s FREMM design, an acronym that stands for “European multi-purpose frigate” in its original Italian, as its next-generation frigate.

The US Navy has selected Fincantieri’s FREMM design, an acronym that stands for “European multi-purpose frigate” in its original Italian, as its next-generation frigate.

Fincantieri stepped up its bids for the contract bringing the FREMM to the east coast of the US to work with the US Navy off the coast. Their bid was successful in overcoming bids from Huntington Ingalls Industries, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works with Navantia’s F100 design, and Austal USA with an up-gunned version of its trimaran littoral combat ship.

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The detailed design and construction contract, worth $795.1 million, covers the design work and the first ship, as well as options for up to nine others. The total value of the contract if all options are exercised will be $5.58 billion. The contract is expected to be rebid after the first 10 ships.

Wisconsin’s Marinette Marine shipyard will be completing the build in a major win for the shipyard. The shipyard, which is also on the hook for building the remaining mono-hull littoral combat ships and a frigate version of it for Saudi Arabia, is now a major player in US Navy shipbuilding.

The detailed design and construction contract, worth $795.1 million, covers the design work and the first ship, as well as options for up to nine others. The total value of the contract if all options are exercised will be $5.58 billion. The contract is expected to be rebid after the first 10 ships.

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According to the Navy 2021 budget documents, the service is planning for it to take six years to complete the design and construction of the ship, which should be finished in 2026.

The second frigate is expected to be ordered in April 2021, and from there it should be delivered about five-and-a-half years after the award date.

Of course, without knowing which ship the Navy intends to buy and what the final detailed designs look like, firm price estimates are impossible, but the Pentagon has some projections.

The first ship ordered in 2020 is expected to cost $1.28 billion, according to budget documents.

The buy was supposed to be one ship in FY20, then two vessels every year until the full 20-ship buy was complete. But the Navy wanted to make sure it staggered the buy more responsibly, said Rear Admiral Randy Crites, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget, in his rollout of the 2021 budget earlier this year.

"We don’t want to have a repeat of some of the lessons of LCS where we got going too fast,” RADM Crites said. "As it is, we’re going to have eight frigates under construction when we deliver the first one in 2026.

“Right now we’ll award one later this year, and the plan is for one next year but that will get looked at. Then we’ll ramp up to two to three, with nine in the [future-year defence program].”

The US Navy selects Fincantieri design for next-gen frigate
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