U.S. Navy Releases RFP for Guided-Missile Frigate Contract
The U.S. Navy has released a request for proposals (RFP) for its future frigate (FFG(X)) detail design and construction contract. The contract is for first 10 guided-missile frigates, one base ship and nine option ships.
The Navy plans to award a contract for FFG(X) DD&C in fiscal year 2020. To reach the Navy’s full requirement of 20 FFG(X)s a second contract is planned closer to 2025 for the next 10 ships The idea is to ensure more accurate pricing on out-year ships.
The FFG(X) will have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare and information operations.
Proposals must propose an FFG(X) design based on a parent ship design that has been through production and demonstrated in full scale at sea. According to U.S. law, the FFG(X) must be built in a domestic shipyard.
The FFG(X) will be a follow-on replacement for the two LCS variants, which have both had their production runs truncated to make way for the new frigate.
In May, Lockheed Martin exited the FFG(X) competition in order to focus on supplying ships' systems to the winning bidder. Lockheed had entered the contest proposing a modified version of its Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), which is built in Wisconsin by a subsidiary of Fincantieri.
Bath Iron Works, Fincantieri, Austal and Huntington Ingalls are still participating in the FFG(X) competition. To meet the Navy's specifications, any winner will have to install the Mk 41 vertical launch system for missiles (designed by Lockheed) and the COMBATSS21 combat control system (also designed by Lockheed).
The FFG(X) marks the Navy's return to a traditional small surface combatant design after the relatively novel LCS. The fast, lightly-armed LCS was intended to field modular mission payloads to take on different assignments at different times, and it was designed starting from a clean sheet. FFG(X) will be built on a proven hull form, with a lower top speed, more armor and built-in weaponry for air defense, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.