The Navy has not made a final determination if it will reactivate decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates in its push to expand to a 355 ship fleet despite an internal report that said reactivating the ships could cost in the billions.
Earlier this year both Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said the service was examining bringing back as many as seven Perry frigates from mothballs to fill in gaps in small surface combatants, particularly in low-intensity theaters like U.S. Southern Command.
“No decisions have been made regarding the Perry-class frigates. The Navy is exploring all options to increase the size of the fleet, but we are still early in that process,” according to a statement provided to USNI News today.
“While it’s worth considering the Perry class as a potential capability match for low-end missions, at present, the Navy is simply exploring the possibility and measuring the costs.”
However, the service found that the cost of bringing back ten ships to a minimum operational standard would cost about $432 million a hull, or about $4.3 billion, according to a one-page early October draft memo prepared for Richardson. USNI News understands the draft has expanded beyond a single page, but the fundamental financials are still the same.
Defense News first reported on the memo on Sunday.
Instead of investing in the Perrys, the draft memo instead recommends putting money into modernizing the service’s Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers and the new guided-missile frigate (FFG(X)) that is set to supersede the Littoral Combat Ship as the service’s next small surface combatant.
Earlier this month, Naval Sea Systems Command released the final request for proposal for the future frigate design. NAVSEA has revealed few details on the requirement of the new frigate, but in a request for information released earlier this year the service stated it is looking for the future ship to increase its anti-air warfare capability by adding either Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSM) or Standard Missile 2 capability and further integrate unmanned systems into the platform.