The U.S. Navy is exercising a $553.8 million option that will see Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) build the second Constellation-class guided-missile frigate, the future USS Congress (FFG 63).
The Wisconsin shipyard reports that it is currently working with the Navy on the detailed design phase of building the first-in-class future USS Constellation (FFG-62), with a design partially on the Italian FREMM. Fabrication is planned to start at the end of this year, and the ship is expected to deliver to the Navy in 2026.
The option announced today is the first of nine potential options on future guided-missile frigates for Fincantieri Marinette.
Dario Deste, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group, said that the approval for the second ship was expected based on progress on FFG design efforts, as well as the company’s demonstrated commitment and its follow-through on capital improvements.
“While it is good to have additional work lined up for our shipyards, I believe the most important aspect of this decision is that our customer believes that together we are a strong team focused on delivering a capable and adaptable ship that will serve well into the future,” said Deste. “We made substantial investments in our system-of-shipyards in Wisconsin, so that we can solidify our position as a surface combatant center of excellence.”
Fincantieri Marinette Marine received the initial FFG(X) contract April 30, 2020, for the lead ship and options for nine additional ships valued at $5.5 billion. Although the award cane several months earlier than planned, FMM went into the DD&C (Detail Design and Construction) phase with a lot of momentum.
“There was very little time for fanfare after the initial award,” said Deste. “Frankly we were happy to receive it [the award], but more happy to start working closely with the U.S. Navy as the prime contractor on this important program for them.”