The United States Navy has awarded a $537 million contract to shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine for the construction of third Constellation-class frigate. The Constellation class is a new class of multi-mission guided-missile frigates under development for the United States Navy.
According to the information published by the Department of Defense of the United States, Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) has been awarded the contract to built the third ship of the Constellation-class frigate.
The Constellation-class is a class of multi-mission guided-missile frigates under development for the United States Navy, these new ships are being developed as the replacement and successors of the Freedom and Independence Class Littoral combat ships. The U. S. Navy has planned to built twenty ships of the Constellation-class. The first ship of the class will cost US$1.28 billion and the second ship US$1.05 billion.
In June 2021, the United States Navy announced that Naval Station Everett in Washington would be the future home of the first 12 ships of the class.
The Constellation-class is based on the design of the FREMM Class Multi-mission frigates of Europe. The FREMM Class ships are in service with the French and Italian Navy in Europe. The U.S. Navy wanted a class of frigates that could operate with the aircraft carrier strike groups and have sensors networked in with the rest of the fleet to expand the overall tactical picture available to the group.
“The Constellation-class will normally aggregate into strike groups and Large Surface Combatant led surface action groups but also possess the ability to robustly defend itself during conduct of independent operations while connected and contributing to the fleet tactical grid.”
The United States Navy wanted the Constellation-class Frigates to perform multiple missions, such as to be able to destroy enemy ships over the horizon, detect enemy submarines, defend convoy ships, defend the aircraft carriers against enemy swarming small boat attacks and to be able to employ active and passive electronic warfare systems during ongoing missions.
The Constellation-class will use a Combined Diesel Electric and Gas Hull, Mechanical and Electrical (HM&E) propulsion system which has never been used in any other U.S. Navy ship. The new propulsion system will be required to be tested on land, in order to reduce the risk of engine failure, which has caused a lot of troubles in previous LCS program.
The total displacement of the Constellation-class is 7,291 tons. The class has the range of 11,000 km. The ships of this class will be loaded with state-of-the-art weapons systems and other technologies.
The ships of this new class will be equipped with multiple types of missiles according to the mission profile. The ship will have 32 Mark 41 Vertical Missile Launching Cells for a combination of possibly RIM-162 ESSM Block 2 or RIM-174 Standard ERAM anti-ballistic missiles. The U. S. Navy has plans to deploy RIM-66 Standard SM-2 Block 3C medium-range surface-to-air missiles on the ship. The ship will also have arrangements for launching sixteen canister-launched over-the-horizon anti-ship weapons such as the Naval Strike Missile.
In addition, the ship will also be equipped with 21 cell RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile Launcher System for defense against anti-ship missiles and aerial threats. At last, the ship will have a Bofors 57 mm Naval Automatic Gun with the Advanced Low Cost Munition Ordnance (ALaMO) projectile.
Aviation facilities available on the ship consists of one Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter for providing targeting and surveillance data and one Sikorsky MH-60R helicopter for conducting anti-submarine missions.