The Department of Defense’s U.S. Navy awarded a contract to design and produce the next generation small surface combatant, the Guided Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) late Thursday, April 30, 2020. 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. The contract for the lead ship and options for up to nine others would be worth $5.5 billion if all options are exercised.
“When we began this journey nearly two years ago, it was with the belief that there was a place for new ideas, new platforms, and new partners in an already talented U.S. shipbuilding industry,” said Fincantieri Marine Group CEO Dario Deste. “Today’s announcement validates that thinking.”
The contract is being awarded three months ahead of schedule despite the coronavirus pandemic. “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,”saidJames Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition.
Detailed design for the ship will start in May, and construction on the first frigate for the class will start no later than April 2022, with its delivery to the Navy in 2026, according to Geurts. The ship is expected to reach full operational capability between 2031 and 2032.
The initial contract for $795 million to Marinette Marine Corp. is for the design and production of the first ship in the class. The contract has the option to allow for production of up to 9 additional ships, as well as provide several supplies and services including training equipment and post-delivery availability support. The total cost for the first ship is $1.281 billion, which includes the $795 million for the shipbuilder for design and construction.
“This is going to be a real workhorse for the United States Navy, supporting distributed maritime operations in the future. So, we are super excited about this ship,” said Vice Adm. Jim Kilby, the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting, Requirements, and Capabilities.
What they are saying…
“I take great pride in representing Wisconsin’s shipbuilding industry because our workers have helped sustain America’s security for generations, boasting a successful history of building ships for our nation’s defense,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. “This is a big win for our Made in Wisconsin economy right now and it will support thousands of skilled workers at the Marinette Marine shipyard and bring an additional 1,000 jobs to Marinette as the Navy quickly moves forward with construction of the frigate.”
“This a massive win for Northeast Wisconsin, for America, and for the Free World,” saidU.S. Representative Mike Gallagher. “For years we have worked to put Fincantieri Marinette Marine in a position to build the Navy’s new frigate, and now, thanks to the hard work and unparalleled skill of their workforce, they will do just that. This means generations of Northeast Wisconsin workers will build the best warships and allow future generations of U.S. sailors to accomplish their mission and come home safe. I am proud to support this shipyard as a member of the Armed Services Committee and will always do so, as long as I’m in Congress. The FFG (X) will be on the frontlines of freedom, protecting our interests in contested seas, and ensuring freedom of navigation. This is a reminder that Northeast Wisconsin always answers the call to serve the country, and that the true strength of this country is found in communities just like ours.” Representative Gallagher is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
“This is great news not only for the folks at Marinette Marine but also for the entire Marinette community and state economy,” saidGovernor Tony Evers. “This expansion will allow Marinette Marine to continue to support thousands of family-supporting jobs and grow our workforce in northeast Wisconsin. I’m proud of the work that was done at the local, state, and federal levels to make this happen, and look forward to Marinette Marine being part of the Wisconsin family for generations to come.”