VIDEO: Navy slows pace of frigate acquisition

RADM Ron Boxall, USN, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Director, Surface Warfare Division RADM Ron Boxall, USN, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Director, Surface Warfare Division

MAY 4, 2017 — The Navy has slowed its frigate procurement timeline, and is now planning to awarding a detail design and construction contract in Fiscal Year 2020.

In joint written testimony submitted to a House Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday RADM Ron Boxall, USN, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Director, Surface Warfare Division and RADM John P. Neagley, USN, PEO, Littoral Combat Ships noted that Fleet demand for these platforms is strong.

"To meet this demand, the LCS shipbuildets have upgraded their shipyard facilities and have a qualified work force and industry team in place for full serial production, delivering two ships per year at an affordable cost that is well below the congressionally mandated cost cap."

They said that, as maritime threats have evolved, "the Navy is placing greater emphasis on distributed operations, highlighting the need for a full complement of SSCs (Small Surface Combatants) and increasing the need for a frigate with improved lethality and survivability. The Navy is defining the requirements for the frigate to improve its ability to operate in a more contested environment than LCS, enhancing its role in distributed maritime operations."

They reported that the Navy has established a Frigate Requirement Evaluation Team to update the previous frigate analysis performed in 2014 and investigate the feasibility of incorporating additional capabilities and enhanced survivability features into the current frigate designs, as well as explore other hull forms.

"The results of this analysis will inform the top level frigate requirements based on cost and capability trades involved, they said in their testimony. "The Navy's revised acquisition strategy is under development and will ensure designs are mature prior to entering into a detail design and construction (DD&C) contract. The Navy will engage with industry in order to support an aggressive conceptual design effort, leading to a Request for Proposals to award the DD&C contract in FY 2020.

You can see the video of the hearing below. If you're a fan of the late Peter Falk in the role of Lieutenant Columbo, fast forward to where LCS skeptic Congressman John Garamendi puts some questions to Admiral Boxall.

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