Fincantieri Marinette Marine was awarded contract to build FFG(X) missile frigate for US Navy

On April 30, 2020, Fincantieri Marinette Marine was awarded the nearly $800 million contract to build the FFG(X) first-in-class guided missile frigate for the U.S. Navy, with an option for nine additional ships.

Fincantieri Marinette Marine was awarded contract to build FFGX missile frigate for US Navy 925 001 Representative image of the U.S. Navy’s Guided Missile Frigate (FFG(X). (Picture source U.S. Navy)

The award was announced by the Department of Defense this afternoon following competition among several other major U.S. shipyards. The contract offers FMM the option to build and deliver up to 10 ships, as well as post-delivery availability support, engineering and class services, crew familiarization, training equipment and provisioned item orders. According to the contract announcement, if all options are exercised, the cumulative value of this contract will be $5.5B.

“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 Navy plans to build 20 ships as part of the future frigate program. Fincantieri will build an adapted variant of the Italian FREMM (European multi-purpose frigate) in Wisconsin at its Marinette shipyard.

“Congratulations to the Navy on this important decision,” added Deste. “The men and women of Fincantieri Marinette Marine and our partner suppliers throughout the United States are ready to get to work.”

Italian shipbuilder, Fincantieri offered its 6,700-ton FREMM (Fregata europea multimissione) frigate design for the FFG(X) program. The Italian FREMM design features a 16-cell VLS as well as space for deck-launched anti-ship missiles (AShMs).

The FFG(X) will have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare, and information operations. Specifically FFG(X) will include an Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) radar, Baseline Ten (BL10) AEGIS Combat System, a Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS), communications systems, MK 57 Gun Weapon System (GWS) countermeasures and added capability in the EW/IO area with design flexibility for future growth.

The acquisition process for FFG(X) began in 2017. Since then the Navy has worked closely with Industry to balance cost and capability. This approach was successful in achieving an Average Follow ship cost across ships 2 – 20 that is below the objective set in the CDD and aligns to the National Defense Strategy’s stated goal of achieving a more lethal, resilient, and agile force by pursuing acquisition strategies to build ships more quickly and affordably. For example, because the Frigate acquisition program promoted shipbuilding competition, included early industry involvement, and open communication between all stakeholders the program was able to accelerate almost 6 years as compared to normal shipbuilding programs.

The Navy released the FFG(X) DD&C Request for Proposals to industry on June 20, 2019. Technical proposals were received in August 2019 and cost proposals were received in September 2019. This was a full and open competition with multiple offers received.