US Navy Awards Fincantieri Contract Modification Valued at $1 Billion for Two More Constellation-Class Frigates

Foreign Affairs

Washington: US Navy awarded Wisconsin-based shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine a contract modification valued at a little more than $1 billion to produce the fifth and sixth Constellation-class frigates, according to the daily Pentagon contract announcements.

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The new contract funds the construction of FFG-66 and FFG-67 and is expected to be completed by April 2030.

Separately, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro announced FFG-66 will be named USS Hamilton while in New York City for the Navy’s Fleet Week event. “The future USS Hamilton honours secretary of the treasury and founder of the US Coast Guard Alexander Hamilton and the crews of previous Navy vessels to bear the name,” according to a Navy statement.

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The Constellation-class frigate is the follow-on program for the Littoral Combat Ship and is envisioned to be a small surface combatant, capable of multiple mission sets in both blue water and littoral environments. Its mission sets will include air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare and information operations.

Del Toro’s shipbuilding review published earlier this year found the Constellation-class at risk of being 36 months delayed, one of the worst delays among the major programs examined. That review has led to further scrutiny by lawmakers who are threatening to gut the program’s funding this year over the delays to help pay for a second Virginia-class submarine.

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The class’ lead ship, Constellation (FFG-62), was put under contract in April 2020 and, at that time, projected for delivery by 2026. The delivery date has now slid to December 2027, according to the latest Navy budget justification documents. Delivery dates for the other six hulls projected in this year’s budget are “under review,” according to the justification documents.