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Usn Frigate Program


Ol Paint

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Per Defense.gov:

 

Marinette Marine Corp., Marinette, Wisconsin, is awarded a $795,116,483 fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract for detail design and construction (DD&C) of the FFG(X) class of guided-missile frigates, with additional firm-fixed-price and cost reimbursement line items. The contract with options will provide for the delivery of up to 10 FFG(X) ships, post-delivery availability support, engineering and class services, crew familiarization, training equipment and provisioned item orders. If all options are exercised, the cumulative value of this contract will be $5,576,105,441. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including Marinette, Wisconsin (52%); Boston, Massachusetts (10%); Crozet, Virginia (8%); New Orleans, Louisiana (7%); New York, New York (6%); Washington, D.C. (6%), Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin (3%), Prussia, Pennsylvania (3%), Minneapolis, Minnesota (2%); Cincinnati, Ohio (1%); Atlanta, Georgia (1%); and Chicago, Illinois (1%). The base contract includes the DD&C of the first FFG(X) ship and separately priced options for nine additional ships. The FFG(X) will have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, and electronic warfare and information operations. FFG(X) represents 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 in the current security environment. Work is expected to be complete by May 2035, if all options are exercised. Fiscal 2020 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $795,116,483 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website and four offers were received. The Navy conducted this competition using a tradeoff process to determine the proposal representing the best value, based on the evaluation of non-price factors in conjunction with price. The Navy made the best value determination by considering the relative importance of evaluation factors as set forth in the solicitation, where the non-price factors of design and design maturity and objective performance (to achieve warfighting capability) were approximately equal and each more important than remaining factors. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-20-C-2300).

 

Contract issued, so here's the thread to discuss, complain, and prognosticate.

 

Douglas

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The Navy seems to have learned its lesson from the LCS, and went for a real, though small, warship. This reminds me more of the Perry class frigates. Maybe this is also a good time to re-classify surface combatants; LCS to frigates, these new frigates to destroyers, then the Burkes to light cruisers, with Ticos and Zumwalts becoming heavy cruisers.

Edited by shep854
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A frigate probably shouldnt be heavily armed. If it is, you arent going to be buying a lot of them, the primary reason for having them.

 

I shouldn't be cynical, but as the USN has managed to screw up the procurement of damn near every new platform since the cold war, its not entirely misplaced either.

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After picking up a bunch of LCSs' and many Ticonderoga cruisers with little life left with no successor cruiser on the way, spending a bit more on the frigates to mount 32 VLS instead of 16 might be worthwhile.

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I was curious about SPY-6 though. IIRC, it wluld be very heavy and very energy hungry because of GaN use, drastically increase sensitivity. It seems a modified SPY-6 is to be used. Using the same scale as planned for the Burke would increase displacement on the frigate a lot and in order to mount it, hull dimensions would also need to increase. But there are smaller versions of SPY-1 used by other ships, the F and K versions. So if the mentioned modify SPY-6 is of similar small size, then increasing hull size and displacement might be avoidable.

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Displacement-wise, at around 6,000 tons, a FREMM is pretty much the same as an Álvaro de Bazán class frigate or a Hobart class destroyer. These are all big frigate designs.

 

F-102_Almirante_Juan_de_Borbon_CSSQT.jpg

Edited by Adam_S
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32 VLS gives you plenty of self defence for a frigate - you could go 8*4 ESSM and the rest whatever the current MR missile is for a total 56, although I'm not sure what the ASM solution is going to be here. Might take up some cells.

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If you want plenty of self defence, go buy a Destroyer. They already have dozens of Arleigh Burkes coming out of their ears.

 

So they are getting a ship that is only 800 tons shy of an Arleigh Burke, has half the missiles and reportedly less than half the cost per unit, and will be in the water in 6 years. Thats pretty ambitious.

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If you want plenty of self defence, go buy a Destroyer. They already have dozens of Arleigh Burkes coming out of their ears.

 

So they are getting a ship that is only 800 tons shy of an Arleigh Burke, has half the missiles and reportedly less than half the cost per unit, and will be in the water in 6 years. Thats pretty ambitious.

 

Yep, that's the thing, what's the point of going for 50% capability at 75% of cost, when a production line is established and running healthily

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You need something that has half the Manning requirement and which is therefore cheaper to run.

 

None of this argument is new, and if money grew on trees everything would be high end.

 

What does this mean for Austal?

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ESSM (quadpacked) is expected to be the main SAM system. The VLS are not Strike-length (so no Tomahawks, SM-3/6 or VLS LSRASM) and may have the capability for VLASROC and SM-2. The FREMM design has been rendered with and can fit at least 16x cells for NSM (or Harpoon) which is a pretty nice punch. The latest gen ESSMs are capable of area air defense, too, not just local.

Edited by Hellfish6
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Given the desire for a multi-role platform and the proliferation of advanced AshMs and the platforms for delivering these, a higher number of VLS cells than on legacy frigate designs makes good sense.

Edited by Daan
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The Navy seems to have learned its lesson from the LCS, and went for a real, though small, warship. This reminds me more of the Perry class frigates. Maybe this is also a good time to re-classify surface combatants; LCS to frigates, these new frigates to destroyers, then the Burkes to light cruisers, with Ticos and Zumwalts becoming heavy cruisers.

 

Would make sense from a capability standpoint, although it might also be a good time to cut the USN's losses on the LCS entirely.

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Kelly Johnson's unwritten 15th rule of management:

 

"Starve before doing business with the damned Navy. They don't know what the hell they want and will drive you up a wall before they break either your heart or a more exposed part of your anatomy."

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I can see the appeal with a Burke coming in at nearly $2bn and shipyards in Europe and elsewhere cranking out AEGIS frigates for a bit over 500m Euros. If, and it's a big if, they can keep the gold plating, bloat and pork barreling down then I think they're getting a pretty good deal.

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Burke has an obsolescent propulsion system. Only on gas turbines, it consumes fuel like mad. Reportedly has around 4000nm range. Crew size is another issue.

 

The problem with FFG - valid if other choices would have been chosen - is the 57mm at bow, no ciws at all or guided projectilesl, no hull sonar. Plus the US Navy mast configuration that has radar at smaller horizon range. In Italian FREMM radar is it at top.

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