Home » Budget Industry » Report to Congress on U.S. Navy Frigate (FFG(X)) Program


Report to Congress on U.S. Navy Frigate (FFG(X)) Program

The following is the Nov. 9, 2017 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Frigate (FFG(X)) Program: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report:

As part of its FY2018 budget submission, the Navy has initiated a new program, called the FFG(X) program, to build a new class of 20 guided-missile frigates (FFGs). The Navy wants to procure the first FFG(X) in FY2020, the second in FY2021, and the remaining 18 at a rate of two per year in FY2022-FY2030. Given current Navy force-structure goals, the Navy wants to procure a notional total of 20 FFG(X)s. The Navy’s proposed FY2018 budget requests $143.5 million in research and development funding for the program.

U.S. Navy frigates are smaller, less capable, and less expensive to procure and operate than U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers. In contrast to cruisers and destroyers, which are designed to operate in higher-threat areas, frigates are generally intended to operate more in lower-threat areas. The Navy envisages the FFG(X) as a multimission ship capable of conducting anti-air warfare (aka air defense) operations, anti-surface warfare operations (meaning operations against enemy surface ships and craft), antisubmarine warfare operations, and electromagnetic maneuver warfare (EMW) operations. (EMW is a new term for electronic warfare.)

Although the Navy has not yet determined the design of the FFG(X), given the desired capabilities just mentioned, the ship will likely be larger in terms of displacement, more heavily armed, and more expensive to procure than the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs). The Navy envisages developing no new technologies or systems for the FFG(X)—the ship is to use systems and technologies that already exist or are already being developed for use in other programs.

The Navy’s desire to procure the first FFG(X) in FY2020 does not allow enough time to develop a completely new design (i.e., a clean-sheet design) for the FFG(X). (Using a clean-sheet design might defer the procurement of the first ship to about FY2023.) Consequently, the Navy intends to build the FFG(X) to a modified version of an existing ship design—an approach called the parent-design approach. The parent design could be a U.S. ship design or a foreign ship design. The Navy intends to conduct a full and open competition to select the builder of the FFG(X), including proposals based on either U.S. or foreign ship designs. Given the currently envisaged procurement rate of two ships per year, the Navy envisages using a single builder to build the ships.

The FFG(X) program presents several potential oversight issues for Congress, including the following:

  • whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s FY2018 funding request for the program;
  •  whether the Navy has accurately identified the capability gaps and mission needs to be addressed by the program;
  • whether procuring a new class of FFGs is the best or most promising general approach for addressing the identified capability gaps and mission needs;
  • the Navy’s proposed acquisition strategy for the program, including the Navy’s intent to use a parent-design approach for the program rather than develop an entirely new (i.e., clean-sheet) design for the ship;
  • the potential implications of the FFG(X) program for the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base; and
  • whether the initiation of the FFG(X) program has any implications for required numbers or capabilities of U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers.

via fas.org

  • Curtis Conway

    “U.S. Navy frigates are smaller, less capable, and less expensive to procure…”.

    A US Navy FFG should be everybit as capable as a CG/DDG with the exception of the range of their weapons (perhaps), and the depth of their magazines with the exception of Directed Energy Weapons. Sufficient number of DEWs should be high enough and appropriately located to perform a dual engagements from any quarter. The nature of DEWs is they are an excellent EO/IR device with tracking/ranging capability, so the highest threat targets nearest the ship should be passed off to and tracked by these devices. Tracking and engagement criteria will have to be carefully calculated and not place another platform in danger from irradiated energy.

    “…whether the initiation of the FFG(X) program has any implications for required numbers or capabilities of U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers?”

    For AAW Cruisers ? . . NO. For DDG-51 (BMD or otherwise) ? . . perhaps, in the future. All DDG-51s from this day forward will come out with IAMD capability. If the new FFG(X) has a decent non-rotating 3D AESA radar and the SM-6 already, it is a small step to the SM-3, mostly determined by the capability of the radar (power out). It could always be a donating magazine for NIFC-CA.

    • El Kabong

      “A US Navy FFG should be everybit as capable as a CG/DDG with the exception of the range of their weapons (perhaps), and the depth of their magazines with the exception of Directed Energy Weapons. “?

      Wait a minute.

      What EXACTLY is the purpose of a frigate?

      • WCOG

        Exactly. Honestly they should go back to calling them “Ocean Escorts” (DE).

        • El Kabong

          Corvettes?

          It’s worrying to see the massive size of what they call “frigates” and “destroyers” nowadays, not to mention the prices for them.

          Around the era of WW1 and WW2 destroyers were considered cheap, small and expendable.

          • Ken Kennard

            Neglecting that cheap small and expendable was in comparison to the Battlewagons. Guess what? A DDG is certainly cheap small and expendable when compared to a Nimitz carrier.

          • El Kabong

            Would you send a $2 billion destroyer into a suspected minefield?

            Cheap, also means more of them.

            Quantity has a quality all its own.

          • Rocco

            Kudos

          • Rocco

            Stupid reference!!!

      • Curtis Conway

        Size, reduced operational cost to deploy, and fill gaps with the US Coast Guard, but still not be at risk when ISE in dangerous areas.

      • Curtis Conway

        anything short of “…everybit as capable…” should disqualify the platform from the title of ‘Surface Combatant’ for we must NEVER send our sailors to a certain death . . . because we were too cheap to build what was required to accomplish the mission. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Never lose the faith with our sailors.

        • Rocco

          Kudos!!⚓️🇺🇸

        • Secundius

          “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough” by Mark Grace, former Chicago Cubs First Baseman, 12 November 2012…

          • Rocco

            What’s that sopposed to mean in reference to what Curtis said?

          • Secundius

            Exactly what it Implies! Giving you’re Sailors, G.I.’s, Coast Guard, Marines and Air Force the Best Tactical Advantage Possible…

          • Curtis Conway

            Happy Thanksgiving Secundius . . . from the Heart, for your years of Service.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            Same to you my Friend…

          • El Kabong

            “Giving you’re Sailors, G.I.’s, Coast Guard, Marines and Air Force the Best Tactical Advantage Possible…”

            So, do NOT give them LCS’s….

          • Rocco

            Copy

          • Curtis Conway

            In the Revolutionary War the Snipers in the American Forces were taking British Officers off their horses at ranges well in excess of the effective range of the British Musket. Let us ‘Learn from HiStory so we do not repeat the same mistakes HiStory teaches’. Some in this discussion would be happy with sacrificing sailors just to gain some intelligence. NOT my cup of Tea!

          • Secundius

            Sergeant Tim Murphy (Murphy’s Law) Sharpshooter KILLED both Sir Francis Clerke and General Simon Fraser at ranges of 300-yards plus with his Pennsylvania Flintlock Rifle…

          • Rocco

            With a head wind I’ll bet!! Great shooter

          • El Kabong

            Agreed.

            Seems a few amateurs haven’t grasped the concept of killing the enemy long before they know they’re targeted.

          • Rocco

            Agreed again!! Problem is nobody studies history anymore!! Not even mandatory in schools anymore!!

          • Curtis Conway

            We should never send our forces into a fair fight. When the politicians try to play commander, we always eclipse our advantage, and sacrifice our people . . . once again, not my cup of tea.

          • El Kabong

            If you’re in a fair fight, you’ve already screwed up.

          • ShermansWar

            Amen

          • Rocco

            Agreed mine as well!

        • El Kabong

          What were the USS Stark and USS Samuel B. Roberts doing in the Persian Gulf?

          Seems they were pretty well designed and built.

          I fear that’s been lost on politicians.

          • Curtis Conway

            “EL KABONG” . . . this is one time when you and I are in 100% agreement!

            When they were sent, the wisdom of trusting the waters without minesweepers was questioned by all concerned, and they came some time later.

            As for their survivability, the Stark’s Bridge Lookout saw a strange blue light appear in the dark sky and dance around for quite some time, before he finally told somebody. The US had not been at war for some time in that day, and most of the planet respected an American flag flown on Surface Combatants. Far too many people (particularly politicians) found great solace in that fact (living in the past), and then two exocet missiles found the hull. It could have been successfully engaged IF the CIWS had been properly configured so CIC could engage . . . but . . . the rest is HiStory. Earnest Will escorting of Kuwaiti Tankers came next.

          • El Kabong

            Isn’t it sad when we can say that? 😉

            The history of these provocations, attacks, injuries and deaths is sickening.

            I see no problem with a few repeated warnings to potential adversaries and then lighting them up.

            What happened to acting in self-defence?

          • Curtis Conway

            “What happened to acting in self-defence?” The Obama Administration. Check out our casualty rates for those years.

          • Rocco

            Stupid rules of engagement enacted by Obama!! Don’t shoot unless fired upon 1st!!

          • Secundius

            Ahhh? Actually the Rules of Engagement, predates President Obama by ~233-years. Captain John Parker, Lexington Company, Massachusetts Militia at the Battle of Lexington Commons, 19 April 1775…

          • Rocco

            OK!! Fire when you see the whites of their eyes superseded that!!!👁️‍🗨️👁️👀🤓🤔…..Fire when ready gridley!!

          • Secundius

            Wrong Battle! Battle of Bunker Hill, two months later…

          • Rocco

            I never said it was!! Just what should be!! Protocol!!

          • Secundius

            NATO ROE Manual MC 362-1, 4 April 1949. Or. UN ROE in August 1949…

          • Secundius

            Oh, I forgot to mention! But the Royal Fleet Air Arms, is considering Reactivating the 809th “Immortals” using F-35B’s in 2023…

          • Rocco

            Cool it’s about time!! Gotta make the 2 new ships worth while!!!

          • Curtis Conway

            There is a young US Army Officer that is a case in point. The evidence gathered that proved him right was suppressed and he went to prison. DJT should pardon him for doing it right, just like he has us (US) doing it today!

          • Rocco

            Really hmm ! I didn’t hear of this!

          • Secundius

            I believe his name is “Clint Lorance” (LT), on Two Counts of Second Degree Murder in Afghanistan in 2013…

          • Rocco

            If he killed one of them what’s the problem??

          • Secundius

            There’s a Article of the Incident in “Task and Purpose” dated 21 February 2017 by Adam Linehan called “Why I think LT Clint Lorance is a Murderer”. For some reson I can’t get the Article to Share a Link. You’ll Have to look it up Manually, But essentially His On Men Testified Against Him. Claiming that They were in NO Immediate Threat being more that 200-meters away at the time of the Shooting. And the Fact the Motorcycle was on another Road Opposite a Field from Them…

          • Rocco

            Interesting thanks!😎

          • Secundius

            Your Welcome…

          • El Kabong

            Yeah, the only thing Obummer accomplished was making Jimmy Carter look like a better president.

          • Rocco

            I know a guy who served on the 2 nd Roberts destroyer!! Great ship name & history from TAFY 3!!

    • DaSaint

      Have to disagree slightly, though I do understand your thought. I think a FFG should be smaller, cheaper, lighter in armament than a DDG, and overall less capable, so that more could be procured and deployed.

      I think the mission sets as outlined are fine, but capability and costs need to be managed to keep this as a billion dollar per ship. Can you believe we’re saying that? A mere billion per copy. SMH.

      • You can have 4 Burkes, 6 Frigates, or 12 LCS – which one is the best choice?

        For actual warfare the 4 Burkes beats 6 Frigates everyday. For patrol 12 LCS is more valuable than 6 Frigates. The $1b frigate is too expensive to significantly grow the fleet and not capable enough to really contribute in battle.

        • ShermansWar

          The numbers say 7.3 frigates( at 950 mil apiece) , for 4 Burkes (at current 1.75 mil per).

          • And we all know how accurate early program costs are with our $460m LCS, right? Also, the more DDG’s we build the lower the price will get.

          • ShermansWar

            So, you admit you are just using arbitrary numbers……OK.

            If you are going to make a comparison, at least used stated numbers.

            I bet the Navantia/General Dynamics/Bath Iron works consortium puts forth a winner.

            Whether we select it or not is another matter.

          • Okay, use 7 frigates vs 4 destroyers – does the calculation actually change?

            You’re looking at 4x 14′ arrays vs. 7x 6′ arrays, 4x low frequency sonars against none, 4x 5″ guns vs 7x 57mm or 76mm guns, and 384 full length VLS cells against possibly none or a handful of self defense length at best. The only place the frigates win is in 7 towed arrays to 4 and 14 helicopters to 8 – but LCS could provide 12 towed arrays and 24 helicopters, clearly beating FFG(X).

          • ShermansWar

            You overlook the main selling point, the anti surface warfare capability.

            Burkes have none, unless you want to pretend firing SM-2 with continuous rod warheads are going to do anything against a capital ship, whereas 8 to 16 NSMs per hull,which don’t and won’t require mid-course guidance is a major step up, This against the remaining handful of flight I and II Burkes that still retain ancient Harpoons, almost none of which carry the full complement of missiles? Some have 4, some have 2, some have nothing but empty canisters on their deck.

            The class would, off the bat, offer probably 5 times the number of fielded SSMs in the fleet, and a real capability we don’t now have. I guarantee the Navantia offering will offer the most VLS cells per hull. The F 100s have 48 per hull, so, if they keep a similar configuration you’ve got what, potentially 336 cells? Against your 384? I’ll take that along with almost double the amount of sensors, thank you.

            I’d love to see Navantia/ BIW meet the letter of the RFP, and the spirit of it ,and offer 32 tactical cells and 16 strike length. 32 cells, a mix of 32 ESSM ( quad packed), 16 SM-2, 8 RUM 139 and hopefully 16 cruise or, when they come online, 16 LRASM? Which, I believe they want to field with the ability to strike either Naval or land targets. i’ll take that any day.

            The Enterprise radar has about the same ability as AN/SPY 1D, so the manufacturer clams. A next gen surface search radar ( per spec), BOTH a towed array and a VDS? SEWIP 3? 2 MK 46 – 30MM GUN WEAPON SYSTEM? This with an MH 60R AND an MQ8C? plus SEARAM ( i’d rather they mounted a full up 21 rd launcher, along with the hellfires the RFP requires?

            That’s a capable ship, dude, The combat management systems and comms as specced are more than adequate. oh, and a gun. wouldn’t surprise me a bit if they offered a 3″ or 5″L/62. The F 100s have ’em.

            Listen, we NEED a warship that we can send ahead of a CSG to generate actionable intel ( especially after the Chinese/Russians hack, jam or shoot down our satellites). We aren’t going to do scout missions or ASuW with Burkes, and the stale standby response that all enemy ships will be auto detected cause US is Uber , or that we don’t need ASuW missile armed combatants to be able to FIGHT, because the carriers will do all the killing is a dodge and a cop out. We need something less than a 9300 ton hull at 2 bil apiece to scout, do recon, and engage forward forces while generating intel. Plus, you can’t have the Burkes doing ASW missions if they’re busy protecting mommy all the time.

            We need a capable frigate. My hope is Navantia and Bath Iron Works offer one. The hull fits.The range fits. It already uses mostly US kit and LM 2500s.
            it’d be perfect, if they do it right. We already know most of the systems on these hulls, minimal adaption involved for US use, so less money spent to incorporate systems they already have.

            Don’t forget you also get the Navy’s lusted after “trade space” if Navantia goes with less than a 5″ gun and nixes the torpedo tubes and bow sonar the RFP doesn’t spec out but are already carried.

            The RFI specs are fine for a frigate if the ship has at least 32 cells, and there’s no reason a Navantia design shouldn’t offer at least that, possibly 48.

            So to answer your question directly, I’d rather have 7 hulls and a couple dozen less silos and more sensors distributed employing a different set of tactics, forward of the main group ( or with it, or performing presence missions eleswhere, or escorting convoys or ARGs) than another 4 Burkes with the same mission sets they’ve always had along with their gaps in capability . I see new tactics evolving to use the capabilities of these ships, if done right.

            If they go with the Lockheed or NSC hull, I’d agree it’s a waste of time. and money. The Austal offering will be a non starter, the FREMM will be too expensive.

          • Thank you. This is the post I’ve been looking for. Your depiction of a recon / surface warfare vessel is something I hadn’t considered and would definitely fit a lot of the RFI/RFP wording. I’m still not sure an off the shelf frigate is ideal for the task, but it makes a lot more sense then my understanding of it as a cheap 2nd line ship.

            However I would like point out that SM-6 is a 1500kg missile traveling at over Mach 3 with a 115kg warhead whereas NSM is only a 410kg subsonic missile with a 125kg warhead.

          • ShermansWar

            OK. They”ll both hurt if they hit, I was honestly thinking more of SM-2s used as anti ship missiles, They have been before. I think I do recall seeing the SM-6 tested in an anti ship role awhile back. I think the NSM is going to be harder to shoot down, with it’s lack of emissions and attack profile, whereas an SM 6 is going to come straight in and be seen from a LONG way off, but that’s arguing over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin at that point.

            I think they want the FFG(X) to be able to attack enemy surface combatants that are looking for the CSGs., among other things. An attack by carrier aircraft will ultimately betray the CSGs location ( see WWII carrier battles, all of them), whereas an attack by a detached FFG or 2 does not. If i’m the task force commander, I probably would be doing my utmost to conceal my location until I launch a full strike, enemy satellites and submarines notwithstanding. Make the enemy work for your location, don’t just give it to him ’cause you assume all other service arms will fail in their efforts to keep your location unknown to the enemy. It just gives so many options,some you might not want to expose a Burke for, especially if your planning an attack and may lose your asset going in harm’s way.

            Imagine a proper frigate with EASR radar a few hundred miles in front of the fleet, with a load of NSMs in cannisters and another 16 LRASMs in it’s strike length silos. That’s a tool. That’s a threat. That has to be accounted for.

            You start getting into real maneuver warfare at that point. It’s like giving the task force commander who’s quarterbacking the battle the equivalent of an effective running game. It opens things up, and puts elements like initiative, surprise, shock, tempo, mass of force into play. You can use them to force an enemy to either dislocate, or engage. In short, used imaginatively,confidently, skillfully, they can be used to shape the battlefield and ultimately dictate the term of the engagement, which in the end is what it’s all about.

            Remember, it’s the pawns that are used to seize the center of the board and restrict the enemies mobility first, not the rooks or queens. If well posted and supported, they can help win the game.

          • I’ve been looking at WWII naval actions quite a bit lately and I’m increasingly feeling that we don’t really understand what happened. Surface combat played a huge role in defeating both the Japanese and German navies and yet it has been very much deemphasized. In many ways, the carriers were always seen as more of way to shape the battlespace than as the decisive arm of naval warfare – a position reserved for the fast battleships.

            Throughout WWII, aircraft had difficulty in actually sinking ships unless they could mount a massive attack. With modern defensive systems and ever shrinking numbers of planes, we could easily see a similar state of affairs where aircraft are more of a harassing element and surface ships take on far greater importance.

            However, I would say that the historical record is not very kind to long range missile combat. There is not a single OTH missile shot on record and even close range shots have had astonishingly low accuracy against targets with countermeasures. Hard kill systems are even worse with a grand total of 2 successful intercepts – both against rather unimpressive weapons.

            Looking at this information, I’m thinking that surface battles may play out a lot like a WWII destroyer night action. The first party to spot the other salvos off torpedoes (AShM), if surprise is achieved the result are deadly but if not very little is done. The action then proceeds to a gun battle (SAM’s) which inflicts great harm to both sides and is decided by crew skill and weapon accuracy.

          • ShermansWar

            Did you really just say your’d rather have the LCS than an actual warship with actual weapons? Did you really?

          • If the mission is peacetime patrol and engagement all those extra weapons are a massive waste of money that limits the number of hulls you have available and actually hinders your performance of the mission. Look at the peace cruisers and river gunboats of the 19th & early 20th centuries – you didn’t need a dreadnought battleship to police the locals then and you don’t need a guided missile cruiser to do so now.

          • ShermansWar

            i’m guessing you didn’t read the RFI or the RFP. It’s very clearly stated what the ship is for. It’s not a mystery. They’ve spec’ed out a warship.

          • The best document we have is the Industry Day powerpoint that specs EASR, CEC, SQQ-89, and ESSM or SM-2. As you said, that’s a warship. It is arguably more powerful than a Type 45 or Horizon. However, we already have Burkes in production and the program was originally supposed to produce a cheap 2nd line vessel.

          • DaSaint

            Not that we have any confidence in the system, but…if it’s handled right, it could be done. $1 Billion isn’t small change. Opening it to foreign parent designs places pressure on all the (six) bidders. I don’t think the expectation is for cheap, and have never heard it characterized as such. LCS is cheap. NSC isn’t. And FFG won’t be either.

          • Ken Kennard

            LCS is a a waste of money.

          • Secundius

            In 2014 the US Congress has ordered the Funding of a Flight I variant of the LCS, classes. The “Ambassador III” class Fast Missile Patrol Boat is an Export ONLY class…

          • Ken Kennard

            Yeah, and I would be surprised if a patrol boat with a couple 50 cals doesn’t sink an LCS…..at the very least it is going to be a mission kill. You have to experience the pure low quality that is an LCS platform. My take on walking aboard was “congradulations big navy, you have built a ship I would be scared to go to sea on”

          • Ken Kennard

            You are assuming that the Burkes are flight I, remember a Flight IIA Arlieghbuke HAS a hangar for two helos.

          • Rocco

            Agreed

        • DaSaint

          ‘Best’ is dependent on what I need. Do I need presence in more than 4 locations simultaneously? Are we talking high-threat environments or piracy patrols? Counter-narcotics or ASW?

          There is an absolute role for Burkes, particularly if they are BMD capable. But I think we all agree that DEPENDENT ON SYSTEMS, quantity has a quality all its own. So IF I have a capable FFG, I may want 6 of them, thereby allowing higher-capability vessels, like the Burkes or Ticos to do something else, be somewhere else, protect something else – like a carrier.

          So, we’re going to get a FFG, and most likely 20 of them. At first. But later, suggestions will be made to continue production to replace Flight I Burkes. And that may or may not be a bad thing, but don’t be surprised if/when it happens.

          • Fully agree. Balancing quality and quantity is always difficult. I just feel that the proposed FFG(X) lands in a bad area of the cost/capability curve for both the high and low end.

          • ShermansWar

            Depends who wins the bid.

          • DaSaint

            I should hope that we can get a good capability for 1 billion dollars. Unlike other navies that can only order the equivalent of 3 or 4 or 6 of these types, and making them the star of their navies, we’re looking at ordering 20, to fulfill lower-end threats. Not the lowest end or most littoral operations, which will be for the LCS, but in-between that and open ocean operations/convoy operations, etc.

            If many are satisfied with the NSC, we should be able to get an upgraded version, or an F-100 variant, or FREMM variant to do what we need it to do.

          • ShermansWar

            yup.

            The RFP specs are fine, except for the range, and lack of an outright VLS requirement, or a minimum number of cells. this all done so lockheed and Austal can participate, methinks, but god willing others offer real ships with range and VLS for a billion dollars. I suspect they will. I find it hard to belive that in an open competition the best the worlds shipbuilders can offer are gimped LCS variants.

          • DaSaint

            Well, it’s telling that not one international order for either variant of the LCS has been confirmed. Saudi Arabia has been mulling it over, but nothing signed as yet. Instead, Gowind corvettes or FREMMs and other indigenous ‘littoral’ designs have been ordered, but no US-built LCS.

          • ShermansWar

            don’t forget the F100 variants out there in the wild and budding on the branch. They are involved in what, at least 3 competitions right now, to the point they have funding for design work?

          • ShermansWar

            That’s an interesting thought.

            A ship with a hangar vs one without.
            A ship with a functioning air search radar, about as capable as the first Burke aegis, but without the bugs and breakdowns, linked, digitized,networked, CEC, etc., with SEWIP 3, and SSMs. with half the VLS cells. Better ASW suite.

            Hmm. If those replacements are used for ASW, then possibly, in that SPECIFIC app, an overall upgrade.

          • DaSaint

            My thoughts exactly.

            NEVER again, should we ever produce, never mind design, a major combatant without an organic aviation capability. So if the FFG has room for 2+ helicopters/UAVs, plus VLS, plus sonar, decent radars, ASMs, etc., and with half the complement to boot, then yeah, I’d be interested in examining that as a possible option as a successor to the Flight I Burkes.

          • ShermansWar

            Troublingly, the RFP doesn’t spec out a bow sonar, but that may have just been to make the Lockheed and Austal bids viable, otherwise they are non starters, they both make a racket and a bow sonar would be useless on either of those hulls. Foreign offerings may throw one in, along with torpedo tubes so they have, you know, actual weapons to use against he subs after they find them. depending on shipboard aviation ONLY for offensive ASW capability seems a bit suspect in the logic department.

          • DaSaint

            Agreed.

          • Curtis Conway

            Don’t forget the potential for future Directed Energy.

          • Rocco

            Kudos agreed!!

          • Ken Kennard

            I doubt it, the Flight I Burkes are your BMD ships, none of the Flight IIAs have the capability. The Fight IIIs should be they aren’t even laying the keels on them yet, and that is if they can stay on schedule despite the Raytheon Radar and the Lockheed Combat system.

      • Curtis Conway

        Did you see BIW’s announcement today? basically an F100 Bazan Class.

        • ShermansWar

          link, please? PLEASE? where? can’t find it. Been waiting for months to see their offering.

          • Curtis Conway

            Link provided and it was censored. Go to the US Navy Uber Frigate Facebook page and all are listed . . . and more.

          • ShermansWar

            thanks, will check it out.happy thanksgiving.

          • Rocco

            Will it have an Indian dude on it?? Lol👳

        • DaSaint

          No I didn’t, but am checking now!

          Can’t say that I’m surprised. In fact, I expected it, as they’ve long had a relationship with Navantia. Bath’s problem has always been both production speed and cost. I’ve heard that their labor costs are the highest of any surface combatant shipyard in the nation. Remember, they lost out on the OPC to a yard that has never built a combatant before – Eastern Shipbuilding. So let’s see if they’ve corrected their deficiencies and can cap their costs to make this work. The F-100 is a good design.

          • Curtis Conway

            I’m excited. A great start. The Bazan with US equipment is exactly what is needed.

          • ShermansWar

            My thinking is, if they offer a full 48 silos, and make 16 strike length, they’ll knock it out of the park. Interestingly this whole competition is running concurrent with Navantias own redesign for their own F110 class. Stealthy, and whatnot. i think they are adressing the issue of ship’s noise ( their own) to make a better sub hunter for that class.

          • DaSaint

            RFP dictates that the class has to be developed, in production, and demonstrated at sea. The F-110 hasn’t slid down the ways as yet, so wouldn’t qualify. Neither would (unfortunately) the Type-26.

            The F-100/F-105, FREMM, NSC, and both LCS would. What am I forgetting?

          • ShermansWar

            I’m aware of all that, but you never know what options or variants may pop up down the road. Point is, it’s not a dead end parnership. They are a real shipbuilding company. We may find we have options down the way a bit.

          • ShermansWar

            That’s about it. Interestingly i read today the navy is going to award up to FIVE contracts for R&D of the class, so I think that covers it.

            Meanwhile the Brits aren’t going to go quietly into the night, either. They’ll throw their weight around to see if they can get exempted, or have a more liberal interpretation applied to them. Word on the street is it’s not a resolved issue yet, though the RFP would seem to indicate otherwise.

          • ShermansWar

            I wouldn’t mind seeing Austal get bumped to see what the Limey’s come up with.

          • Ken Kennard

            Going by what I have seen on the Austal LCS variant they never need to be allowed to touch a ship ever again.

          • DaSaint

            Hmmm. 5 contracts:
            1. BIW – Navantia F-100/F-105
            2. Ingalls – NSC variant
            3. Lockheed Martin/Fincantieri Marinette – Freedom variant (should be bumped as they’ve had the most problems!)
            4. Austal – Independence variant (may be bumped as their design is all aluminum. I wonder if Austal would team with Damen?)
            5. Lockheed Martin/Fincantieri Marinette – FREMM

            I just realized that IF there are going to be 5 contracts issued to yards, there are only 4 yards currently building comparable surface combatants. Eastern will have it’s hands full with the OPC beginning in 2020, so they’re out.

          • ShermansWar

            Makes room for the Brits?

            Also, what’s their propulsion system your keen about. not CODAG?

            Edumicate me.

          • DaSaint

            The Type 26 propulsion system will consist in two electric motors, four high speed diesel generators (MTU Type 20V 4000 M53B ) and a RR MT30 gas turbine direct drive in a CODLOG configuration. In a “CObined Diesel eLectric Or Gas turbine” configuration, electric motors are employed for quiet drive forward and astern operation. The electrical power generation is provided by the four diesel generators. The gas turbine is used when high speeds are required. This is the same gas turbine on the Freedom class, I believe. Top speed of the Type-26 is listed as ’26+ knots’, but you know the Brits. It’s probably 30 as it has to be able to keep up with their new QE carriers, which tops out at around 29.

            To your point, this design is optimized for ASW, so all this may be overkill. I think it’s a BAE system. Same contractor as for the larger Zumwalt electric-drive system.

          • Secundius

            Unless you’re referring to BAe! The “Modified” Jones Act of 1920 (May 2017 revised). Allows for Foreign Designs, ONLY if the Vessels are built within the United States. Unless you’re going for a “Barebout” Purchase…

          • DaSaint

            Already chock full of US gear.

          • ShermansWar

            It’s also the one entrant all the journals are overlooking.

          • DaSaint

            Agreed.

          • Curtis Conway

            IF the hull mounted sonar is installed it will be an SQS-53. The radar will not be a SPY-1D in my opinion. I hope it is the 9-RMA SPY-6. I prefer the 5″ gun providing large format guided projectile capability, but it will probably be the Mk110 57mm. The electrical system should be upgraded to the new 4160v power distribution and storage system which BIW has a lot of experience with given DDG-1000 construction. The flight deck should be strengthened to handle heavy loads and coated with Thermion, and the hangar large enough to handle whatever comes aboard. Don’t know what the primary ASuW weapon will be but VLS or space topside should handle the launchers. We should use the US Navy Integrated Bridge configuration, and the combat system the COMBATSS-21. The Telephonics IFF interrogator is already there . . . just to mention a few.

          • DaSaint

            Agree with much of what you’ve listed, especially the power generation capability. I think the equipment specs dictate EASR and a Towed Array, but no hull-mounted sonar (silly). 57mm over 5″ (I’m ok with it to save costs).

            Hangar needs to be capable of 2 H-60 size helos as far as I’m concerned which should then allow them to carry 1 H-60 and 2 UAVs, or even 4 UAVs and no H-60. If I were to get greedy, I’d ask for a hangar capable of handling an Osprey, but the flight deck should be capable of handling it regardless.

          • ShermansWar

            Towed array AND VDS. And Nixie torpedo decoy. Things gonna have dreadlocks dragging behind it.

          • Curtis Conway

            If there is not hull-mounted sonar, then this should be an Ice-hardened hull for operations in the Arctic/Antarctic. We have NOTHING like that today, and it will be sorely missed if anything in these areas ever rears its ugly head. Plan for the Worse, and Hope for the Best.

            The EASR is a SPY-6 of another color.

          • ShermansWar

            Radar is specified in the RFP,. it is a Raytheon Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar, a variant of the AMDR, with 3 faces of 9 modules each, as opposed to the 36 per face on the AMDR. It rates as powerful as the AN/SPY 1-D. more than adequate for it’s role. RFP requires this radar.

          • Going by the slides from the Industry day, the Navy is pretty set on EASR and a 57/76mm gun – but I agree that a 5″ gun would be better.

          • Rocco

            Agreed if a Burke DDG can have it why shouldn’t the FFG!! More accommonality !! Making the gun cheaper!!

          • Rocco

            Agreed!! Let’s stick with the 5″ gun!

          • ShermansWar

            I saw an announcement about a week ago after industry day saying they were teaming with Navantia and General Dynamics, but have seen NOTHING on what the ship might be. I’m guessing the F100 class, mayve the F 105 specifically, but there are so many derivative hulls out there right now from navantia competing for dif contracts in Canada, Australia, and god knows where else, along with the Frijold nansens and one other class already based on it, and oh yeah, the Hobarts.

          • DaSaint

            I found some snippets and quotes from BIW’s CEO confirming the teaming arrangement. The F-100/105 is a good class of warship, and already filled to the brim with US-made systems, both electronic and propulsive, so integration is not going to be an issue.

          • ShermansWar

            That’s where I’m at. The FREMM would be fine as well, but I think with too few VLS cells for the money and a high overall price tag to boot.

            I’ve been hoping we would adapt the F 100 hull for a frigate since the first LCS hit the waves years ago.

          • DaSaint

            My personal preference is the Type 26, because I think the Brits are best at ASW-optimized hullforms, and they’ve got hands-down the best hybrid propulsion system afloat. That said, the guts would have to be completely Americanized, from VLS, gun armament to sensors. Lot’s of integration challenges and modifications to make.

            The F-100 is my next choice, as to me it’s already a USN-caliber warship, already outfitted with US-systems and weapons. Easy selection.

            The FREMM would be my last choice, and only the Italian version. Strip it of all the systems, make some mods to the hullform and superstructure, rip out the propulsion system, and voila! Expensive.

          • ShermansWar

            Great minds think alike. Unfortunately the Britisher is a purpose dedicated sub-hunter, and the navy specs out a ship stronger in AA defense, with the sub killing missions passed off to the task force after it’s found, plus, money and adaption make it an unlikely selection, but I agree it’s gonna be the best subhunter afloat.
            That’s not really what the RFP specs out, though. Not that I’d mind selecting it, warts, price tag and all.

          • DaSaint

            There are virtually 3 parallel contests for comparable frigates in a similar timeframe: Canada, Australia, and the US. In all 3 contests, the F-100, the Type 26, and the FREMM variants are all in competition.

            Australia already has 3 Hobart Aegis DDGs based on the F-100/F-105. It will be interesting to see if they go with the F-100 derivative for their 9 planned frigates. They already have a great relationship with Navantia on the Hobarts and on the Canberra LHDs. Can’t see the FREMM winning here, but the Type 26 (Americanized) could have a shot as the Aussies are concerned about increasing submarine activity in the South China Seas.

            Canada has a requirement for up to 15 frigates, and the FREMM and Iver Huitfeldt classes are claimed to be front-runners, with the Type 26 also a possible candidate. Can’t see Canada selecting a Spanish design over either a French, British, or Danish design, so not sure if the F-100 has a chance there.

          • ShermansWar

            Thank you for the informative synopsis.

          • DaSaint

            No problem!

          • Secundius

            There’s also Todd Shipbuilding…

    • WCOG

      I think air warfare capability for this ship should be capped at ESSM, honestly. Would be fine with a 57mm or 76mm gun armament as well if those offer a cost savings over 5″. This design needs to be about quantity rather than quality.

      • Rocco

        The 57mm is useless on an FFG. Canada has them on their FFG’s. I was told by 2 officers that serve on them that the gun is too small to be effective within reasonable distance. Warning shots is all it’s good for! Lol. 5″ gun is what it needs.

        • Curtis Conway

          The Navantia F100 provides the SWaP-C for a 5″ gun. Then we will have a fleet that can all use the new Hyper Velocity Projectiles, and guided rounds (future growth).

          However, if a guided IR round is developed, and DEWs are on board, I could very much support this concept.

          • Rocco

            Sounds good

          • Secundius

            The NEW FFG(X) requirements came out on 10 July 2017 (N0002418R2300). No 5-inch Gun! NO 3-inch Gun!! But 57x438mmR/70-caliber ALaMO (Advance Low Cost and Munitions Ordnance) Gun…

          • Rocco

            Waste of time & money!! Like taking away all standard 9 mm pistols from law enforcement & replacing them with 22cal. Because it’s cheaper!!! Watch how many cops quit or retire early!!!

          • Secundius

            But then again, more people get Shot and Killed by a .22LR than any other Caliber…

          • ShermansWar

            You seem to not understand the RFI or meaning of the phrase ” minimum threshold requirements”

          • Secundius

            You’re point being what?

          • Curtis Conway

            I have the PDF in my computer. One can dream can’t we. The 5″ projectile brings a lot to the table TODAY, and tomorrow will bring so much more with Hyper Velocity Projectiles. Plan for the future as you provide for today.

          • Secundius

            So do I, but the “Powers to Be” keep changing the Profile and the Specifications Requirements. The “Rail Gun” WON’T be deployed anytime SOON because of the “Alloy’s” in the Rail Guns Armature/Barrel WON’T last after only a Few Dozen Shots Fired. And at Present they don’t make a Hyper Velocity Projectile Smaller than 5-inch Caliber. Even though the Actual Projectile is Smaller than 60mm in diameter…

    • Frigates are the 2nd class battleships of today – sure they “save money” but you can’t actually use them in battle. The Burkes are a 30 year old design and represent the minimum for high end warfare. The current USN doesn’t need frigates, it needs more DDG’s and the equivalent of the NSC with a 5″ gun.

      • Curtis Conway

        First off, we are building DDG-51s as fast and efficiently as we can. Second, it cost money to deploy a Surface Combatant anywhere to do anything. The OHP mission set was not met by the LCS, and the DDG-51 is overkill and too expensive. We actually have had CG-47 & DDG-51 embark a LEDET and perform Anti-Drug Operations . . . huge waste of an asset, manpower, and operational budget. We need a smaller Surface Combatant that can perform Independent Steaming Exercises in a contested environment, including the Black Sea, perform Escort of anything, and I hope is capable in the Northern Latitudes. The BIW announcement to team with Navantia Shipyard on the F100 Class vessel is very encouraging. Can’t wait to see HII’s proposal.

        • ShermansWar

          I Concur, sir. Excellent post. I would add, it is very clear from the RFI, in addition to the missions you mention, Navy wants the ability to scout for a CSG and develop actionable intel, without separating a 10,000 ton warship from the task force. And handle an initial clash with an enemy surface combatant and win.

          I submit if our Naval Strategists and tacticians can’t find a use for a warship under 9300 tons, then the problem lies not with the ships, but those employing them.

          • Rocco

            Agreed that’s why they came up with the useless LCS!!

        • 1-2 destroyers a year is as fast and efficiently as we can? In the early days of the program we were building 4-6 a year. However, I agree that we need something cheaper than a CG or DDG. My problem is that a $1b frigate is not cheap – for most countries that’s their frontline warship! Those minor roles are better filled by a $500 million ship with decent endurance and a acceptable self defense suite such as LCS or the NSC.

          Pull back and look at the missions. Steaming operations in contested environments? If the threat level is so high that we can’t send an LCS are we really going to risk an FFG(X)? Escort of what where? The open ocean POS mission that the Perry’s performed is long gone – China has 6 SSN’s and a few dozen copies of a bomber the Russians retired a quarter century ago. The Russians themselves might have more subs and aircraft but who knows how many of them are actually operation and Russia’s not going to fight us anyways given their long list of military fiascos in the post-Soviet period.

          • Rocco

            Agreed on 1st paragraph . Second no!! LCS is nothing more than an expensive modern corvette class ship that we don’t need to be getting involved with in my opinion! Waste of assets here not to mention 2 versions & they break , just like the car!! Get my point! A blue water well rounded Perry class is what we need with a real gun, AA, ASW, & self defense. Also be able to deploy 2 helo’s.

          • Curtis Conway

            We need more ships faster on fewer dollars. This is the best path.

          • Rocco

            Wishful thinking!! We need to keep what we have afloat! & Recommission the remaining Perry class for the time being!!

          • Curtis Conway

            Hey, I’m a OHP reactivation fan even if it were for only a decade. Use them in US waters and 4th Fleet AOR.

          • Rocco

            Agreed

          • Curtis Conway

            You Sir would sacrifice sailors at the drop of a hat, and repeat Pearl Harbor. The Surface Combatant must live up to, and ‘EARN’ the title in the Modern Battle Space, not just go fast and look good with lots of warm showers and large berthing compartments. This Modern Battle Space is full of danger and we should NEVER bow to just providing a Target Rich Environment. Your attitude is NOT that of a Warrior, but a Cheap Politician with ulterior motives. Times have changed over Days of Old. We are on the brink of new technologies (Directed Energy) and we should be ready to take advantage of that eventuality. The 9-RMA SPY-6 is a reality, and the low end platform with SPY-1 capabilities in a much smaller footprint should not be ignored, and that logistical advantage for Fleet Support in the future should be more than ‘just considered’. Every upgrade with the exception of greater ‘power out’ (limited antenna size) would be taken advantage of in the signal processor of this new 9-RMA SPY-6 construct, or its EASR cousin. Directed Energy emplacement would provide very advantageous engagement capability, especially when coupled with RAM/SeaRAM launchers.

          • Curtis Conway

            Check the OPTAR and Fuel burn of these vessels. We can’t afford to send a DDG-51s everywhere. Need some sanity in the ‘Show the Flag’ and ‘Presence’ operations in the COCOM. The Unified Combatant Commanders testimony in Congressional hearings has been loud, specific, and gone un-heeded. Time to change and bring back a replacement for the OHP that meets Modern Battlespace Requirements.

          • William Sager

            Asian countries that get by paying less for 3500 ton Frigates only do so be employing cheap labor and subsidizing the material going into construction.

        • PolicyWonk

          Indeed the Navantia/BIW agreement for an FF(X) variant based on the Navantia Aegis Frigate is an excellent development, and like you I await HII’s proposal. There should be some great options, providing the USN is smart enough to take advantage of them.

          Sadly a lot of time and money was wasted on the commercial-grade LCS sea-frames and their ill-conceived/inconsistent mission and manning profiles (let alone lack of armament/protection), none of which worked out as promised. Yet somehow, the USN was determined to base a new frigate on a design that had proven itself a disaster, until a belated does of reality finally hit them.

          We are however still stuck with this collection of glorified ferries/yachts, the utility of which remains to be seen. We’ve paid for them (resentfully), and have to find some use for these less-than-naval-quality assets. Its a shame to spend that much money and only get a minesweeper for the nearly a billion dollar expense (when you include the cost of the mission package).

          The more conservative approach for acquisition of a class of frigates therefore makes sense, while providing additional power generation capabilities for directed energy weapons.

          Here’s hoping this is what the end result will be.

          • Curtis Conway

            Some of the LCS should move to US waters and 4th Fleet areas. The US Coast Guard would very much like to ride this ship during Anti-Drug, Anti-Piracy, and Fisheries Policing Operations. Several would really come in handy down in Argentina right now with that large flight deck and ASW & Mine Countermeasures Mission Packages.

          • PolicyWonk

            Well, all things being equal I’m inclined to agree the USCG would love to have the coverage the LCS classes might bring to their ever-increasing mission (and painfully small budget, when compared to the other service branches). I also agree that both LCS classes should be kept in the vicinity of the America’s to free up capital assets for duties overseas.

            We do need to find some way to employ these LCS classes, because now we’re stuck with them. So patrolling fisheries, drug interdiction, and anti-piracy missions are fine given their relatively low risk.

            I find your suggestion interesting regarding the USCG: I’ve never seen any evidence that this USCG really wants to deal with the USN’s acquisition errors – especially since they bought the Legend-class NSC’s – which are considerably superior to either LCS class. Have you seen/heard differently?

            And no doubt the large flight decks of the Independence class would prove useful off of Argentina – but as far as I know neither the MCM or ASW mission packages are anywhere near ready for prime-time, and won’t be for at least another 3 years.

          • Curtis Conway

            The US Coast Guard conducted a feasibility study of operating LCS in their patrol areas, and it was exorbitantly expensive. They will not even consider the concept. Can’t afford it. THAT is why they have the force they have.

            Now, if the US Navy were to bring them to home waters, and operate them in 4th Fleet regions, the US Coast Guard would be more than happy to place a LEDET on board. Maybe even bring a helicopter. They could certainly bring boat crews to operate with the Boatswain’s Mates, who would learn a lot in the process. This might even be an option around Anchorage, AK. However, the LCS will have to increase its reliability numbers considerably before that can happen.

          • PolicyWonk

            I’m not at all surprised w/r/t the exorbitant cost of operating LCS (either variant). Small wonder the USCG doesn’t want them.

            The USN, given the amount of political flak they’ve (rightly) endured w/r/t both LCS classes, would be loath to relegate them to the duties that they are really suited for, and prefers to endanger the lives of those manning them rather that admit they really blew it and wasted $36B on two classes of small ships, the value of which are dubious at best.

            At least if the LCS fleets were kept in the Americas, it would be harder for them to get into serious trouble with a major adversary. Finding some face-saving useful duty for these ill-considered sea-frames is the challenge for the USN.

          • Curtis Conway

            Amen on the “the LCS fleets were kept in the Americas” idea. The combat environment they were stated to be designed for never happened, and the proliferation of ASCM (supersonic and otherwise) and TBMs has made them irrelevent. They could serve the Mine Countermeasures Warfare job, and they could support the Marine Raiders and SOF like those special destroyers did during WWII, but I don’t see the US Navy doing that. It makes too much sense. It would improve the effectiveness of those forces, and improve/provide unique support to Amphibious and Littoral Operations. As a Surface Combatant it is not even a Bantamweight Fighter. However, it does have the aviation support area that no other Surface Combatant does, and we should capitalize on that fact.

          • PolicyWonk

            In principal I like the idea of them supporting Marine Raiders and SOF’s – but if the SOF’s considered the Cyclones to be too large – then LCS isn’t likely to be acceptable.

            I look back at the WW2 destroyers, and pound of pound they were vastly more heavily armed than LCS is (lamentably, an LCS in its current state would likely take a shellacking from a Fletcher class destroyer). LCS might benefit from having HIMARS mounts (etc.) added to give ’em some SOF-supporting firepower, but that still doesn’t address the unfortunate problem of LCS construction (or lack thereof).

            I just don’t like the idea of LCS being in harms way – because they aren’t designed to either dish it out OR take it.

            The aviation support aspect of LCS does offer some kind of wildcard capability – maybe using a few Sea Cobra’s…

          • Secundius

            The “Cyclone” class cost ~$8-Million USD “LESS” than a 1942 “Fletcher” class Destroyer at ~$78-Million USD. per Ship…

          • Curtis Conway

            Times a changing and the dollars (or worth thereof) too. That is why the cost figures for the FFG(X) are to be in 2020 dollars. By then the FFG(X) will certainly cost $1Billion.

          • Secundius

            The ONLY way that’s going to Happen is for the Government to FREEZE Production Prices. And Frankly I Don’t See It Happening…

          • Curtis Conway

            Expanded aviation support is the wild card aspect of LCS almost no one talks about in this context.

          • PolicyWonk

            Well… At least there’s the two of us!

            But in all seriousness, this is one of the few features that LCS has, that can offer some real benefit. The question, is in how to leverage that advantage while keeping the rest of the ship (and crew), relatively speaking, out of harms way.

          • Curtis Conway

            I would prefer to keep them out of Harm’s Way in the first place. Helo support is big for SOF. Helo support and the LCS speed capability would be a real boon for the Coast Guard Anti-Drug Operations in the Eastern Pacific and Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean Basin. The exercises in the 4th Fleet Region would be perfect for this platform, and there are lots of shallow water ports for them to call on there too. For showing the flag on an [almost] US Navy surface combatant, that would go a long way in deterence. The West Coast of Africa, and working with the navies from Morrocco to Capetown, SA would be a laudible patrol zone, particularly for the pirates in the Gulf of Guinea with all the fishing, commerce, and oil platforms aswell.

          • PolicyWonk

            I think we agree that the LCS variants should be Americas-based assets (north, central, and south) for the good of their crews. Failing that, the Independence classes are a more advanced design, and having aluminum hulls makes them a better option for forward deployment if/when the MCM mission package ever gets completed.

            Given the neglect over the years in the MCM space, and the all but nonexistent armament of the Avenger class, the Independence class would be a huge improvement (the 57mm gun is a long way from nothing), albeit at a huge price in comparison. Given the failure of the quick change mission package, now they largely become de-facto (dedicated) platforms, which further reduces the utility of what was designed to be a utility ship.

            Anti-piracy, fishery, presence missions, and the other tasks you mention are all tasks that LCS should be able to conduct. But the USN will be loath to concede the obvious waste of taxpayer funds, and we can only hope they won’t risk the crews lives by assigning them missions for which their ships are ill-suited.

          • Curtis Conway

            I wonder if the same US Navy that would “…be loath to concede the obvious waste of taxpayer funds” . . . thought that using an Aegis platform with a US Coast Guard LEDET on board was an efficient use of “taxpayers funds?” We need REAL multi-warfare capable frigates for lower OPTAR operations in all kinds of places, and not place our sailors at risk.

          • PolicyWonk

            1. Excellent question.
            2. Amen!

          • Secundius

            Not exactly true? In 2013 the USCG placed a Order for 12 Freedom class LCS’s as High Speed Interdiction Vessels for Drug Enforcement. The US House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee turned down the Request…

          • William Sager

            The simple truth is it is logical and cheaper to produce our Frigates based in a simplified Littoral Combat Ship chassis without all the horsepower and water jet’s. Any foreign design would just ad two years and force us to pay royalties to some other country. About the only “frill” we should ad is greater electrical generation capacity along with some batteries so as to enable the ships to use unmanned electric drones in the future. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t ad weapons. But anti submarine should be the primary goal.

          • Rocco

            On paper yes!! In reality no!!

          • FactChecker90803

            If the Navantia/BIW bid is selected it should be based on the F105, the last and most modern version of the Alvaro de Bazan F100 class.

            *Displacement:6,391 tons full load.

            *Length:146.7 meters(481 ft)

            *Beam:18.6 meters (61 ft)

            *Draft:4.75 metres (15.6 ft)

            Cost for the F101-104, was $600 million each, the F105 being the sole ship of the class, it’s cost was $1.1 Billion, it’s advanced features will be part of the follow on smaller multipurpose F110 frigate.

            The superstructure of the F105 should be cleaned up, with better integration for improved RCS reduction, the sensor mast should be fully integrated along the design of the follow on F110 frigate, a smaller stealthier multipurpose evolution of the F105 frigate, and since both the FFG(X) and the F110 will have near identical production schedules, BIW should take advantage of the work already done by Navantia-Izar with the F110 program and integrate many of its design features onto our FFG(X).

            The machinery of the F105, should be upgraded from 2 x 1st gen LM2500 rated at 26,500 shp, to the 3rd gen LM2500+ rated at 40,500 shp or better yet the 4th gen LM2500+G4 rated at 47,370 shp and an L-3 Hybrid Drive, with provisions to upgrade to full IPS in future Blocks.

            The onboard electrical generators should be upgraded from the F105, 4 x MTU diesel generators to 2 x Cat C280-16, 4840 ekW Marine Generators and 2 x RR4500 4 MW 4,160 VAC Turbine Generators. This upgraded electrical power system would provide more than enough power to meet the ships present and future Hotel Load, and if there is a need for more electricity, then space should be reserved to install an additional RR4500 if and when it’s warranted.

            If the US Navy, converted to an IPS drive for future Flights, then an LM2500+G4 set up as a Gen Set would produce 33.6MW, of electricity. 2 LM2500+G4 Gen Sets and 2 x Cat C280-16, 4840 ekW Marine Generators would provide about 74MW, providing all the Hotel Load these ships would ever require.

            As for Radars, AN/SPY 6 9RMa, with both S and X bands.

            As to armament, similar to the F105, with hanger capacity for 2 helicopters, and the VLS system upgraded from 1 Mk41 48 round system, to 2 X 32 round Mk41, #1 forward in the current location and #2 located with in the aft superstructure in similer manner to the DDG51, or a 48 round Mk41 forward and 4 x MK 57 PVLS modules located on the aft superstructure.

            Load out should be Standard 2, 3 and 6, ESSM, VL-ASROC, 21 round RAM launcher, 1 x 5/62 gun, 2 x upgraded CIWS hopefully 25mm or 30mm, 2 X MK38 with 30mm gun, 4-6 Sea PROTECTOR or MK49 MODO .50 cal remote weapon stations, 2 X 3 Mk32 torpedo launchers. In the future, DEW’S along with none lethal ADS could be added.

          • Rocco

            Who is the F-105 base off of ? You didn’t mention the tonnage of this ship ot length? The cost would be right up there with a Burke class!!

          • Secundius

            If it’s a Universal Question, I’d say Technically the US’s “Arleigh Burke” class! But Specifically the Japanese “Kongo” class…

      • Rocco

        Not in agreement!! Curtis has it right!!!

        • Curtis Conway

          You know Rocco, it has taken me over a decade of continuing to point out this argument, and hammer it home, but it looks like it is paying off.

          • Rocco

            Copy that sir ⚓️

    • LowObservable

      I still think they should have just gone the two-destroyer class path like the old Spruance/AB setup (with the new class using the AB Flight III template) but minus AEGIS/SPY1 as these Frigates are going to end up costing the same as a destroyer.

      • Curtis Conway

        If the US Navy were to commit to more than twenty, and two yards were to compete like BIW and HII do on the DDG-51, then MYP could go into effect and we could build them for less than $1Billion. However, the ‘guvment’ didn’t set it up that way. Call your congressman. Early DDG-51s will begin to leave the force soon, and they must be replaced. Some could easily be replaced by this vessel if sufficiently capable.

        • Rocco

          They’ll do them early Burke’s like they did the Perry’s class!!

          • Curtis Conway

            Perhaps. They are that valuable. I’m kinda hoping some find there way into some specific Allied hands.

          • Rocco

            Agreed again. UK being one!!

  • DaSaint

    FREMM (both Italian & French (who smartly teamed up for Canada’s offering by the way)), F-100 (and its variants), and NSC (and its variants) all qualify. And we know that Freedom and Independence variants will be submitted. I can’t see any other designs (KDX?) realistically being considered, though we know that 5 will be selected for further development.

    My guess for that selection:
    NSC – Northrop Grumman/Ingalls
    Freedom variant – Fincantieri/Lockheed Martin
    Independence variant – Austal USA/GD
    FREMM – Fincantieri/Naval Group
    F-100 – Navantia

    Notably, the language as written WILL NOT permit the UK’s Type-26 to be considered, as it has not been ‘produced and demonstrated at sea’. We’ll see how much lobbying the RN does to get that reconsidered.

    No new technologies are anticipated, so sorry Curtis, no DEW. Be prepared for ESSM, maybe SM-series with existing sensors and COMBATASS-21.

    • Secundius

      British Type 26…

  • This program is well on its way to being worse than LCS – at least LCS had a defined unique mission set. I mean, they want FFG(X) to be “Robustly defending itself in contested environments” with a RAM launcher and a 57mm gun? Add in the $1b price tag and you are spending significent money on a ship that doesn’t have a real mission and is barely more survivable than an LCS that costs half as much. End LCS at 24 ships and put the money for FFG(X) into more Flight III’s and designing a true next generation DDG to replace the Tico’s and incorporate lasers and railguns.

    • Rocco

      It all started with the Swiss Army knife!! Which I don’t care for!! I prefer a leathermen personally!!!……..All kidding aside The Perry Class had less!

    • Chi Wai Shum

      I suspect any vendor who actually try to submit a design with just a 57mm gun and a RAM launcher will never get selected. What the customer said is not always what the customer wants.

  • Ed L

    Sad just sad

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Some choices gotta be made. Is it to be as capable as other warships, or affordable? Numbers appear to be the driving force here, so affordability is predominant. Much like the LCS was developed to relieve other more capable ships from arduous duties and tasks like those involving drug running and piracy, this program appears to be about producing a class of ships that can relieve other more capable platforms within a battle group of tasks that take away from their prime missions, among other things. The report is quite clear that what is selected will be based on operations in ‘lower threat areas’, and that while an anti-air capability must be built in, that will NOT constitute an ‘area defense’ mission currently occupied by the CGs and DDGs. It will no doubt cost more than the LCS but less than a Burke. There will be no new design process, an existing class of ship will be the basis for it.

    What makes a ship what it is classified as? In other words, what makes a ‘frigate’ a frigate? Is it the size of the ship, or its missions/capabilities? There were some ships called “Destroyer Leaders” in the 60s and 70s, a few of which were nuclear powered, that became ‘Cruisers’ when the Navy changed up and attempted to simplify some of their classification criteria. But in doing so quite a few of those ‘cruisers’ were smaller than the Spruance class DDs that started coming into the fleet in the mid 70s. As has been seen with the LCS, their classification should probably be that of a ‘Corvette’, based on it’s capabilities, rather than its size, even though it is indeed bigger than most ships past and present that have the ‘corvette’ classification assigned to them.

    That the Navy is undergoing this process seems to preclude that the LCS is probably not a viable candidate for an FFG. They are highly specialized, and because of that they have very severe weight limitations, which impacts what kinds and how much new equipment can be installed on them, not to mention the impact it might have on their stealth characteristics. But they ARE an ‘existing’ platform, and the report cites existing platforms as the basis for this new class.

    Given what the Navy desires, I think some investigation should be made into a scaled-back Burke that does not have AEGIS. The cost of AEGIS is quite hefty, though any attempts to get an actual cost assigned appears to be impossible. Some years ago I dealt with a Navy officer in charge of some aspects of AEGIS upgrades that my company was doing, and he told me that AEGIS added something like $500 million to the final costs back THEN. Now, looking up AEGIS online usually presents them as being part of a package that includes its radars and data links and the Mk 41 VLS systems, the CIWS, and some other components. But a scaled-back Burke would have 96 missile cells, a 5 in. gun, CIWS, 2 Seahawk helicopters. a first class sonar suite, and quite a few other things. In addition to those independent operations the Navy desires, they could also function in and contribute to the offensive and defensive firepower in CSGs, much like the Spruances did before they were retired. Perhaps it would behoove the Navy to contemplate the installation of a couple of ‘waist guns’ on them, perhaps 30 mm size, to help with situations that might arise. Even a scaled-back Burke won’t be cheap, but it would certainly be cheaper than a regular one, and meets the criteria set forth in the Navy’s report above. It would certainly provide bang for the buck, and offer a truly capable and robust platform built on a mature design. One thing I did NOT see in the report is any mention of manning requirements. Does the Navy want to keep the size of the crew below a certain number? THAT might preclude adapting a scaled-back Burke, among other considerations. Oh, and certainly, no one would be calling a scaled-back Burke a ‘FFG’.

  • Hey people…the most famous frigate in history USS Constitution. She out gunned her contemporaries, was stronger built, was a faster ship than most, and she had a highly professional crew of officers and sailors. Now all we get is speed. only a 57MM gun, add on missiles systems, not armored to any survivable degree, two classes of ships with different propulsion and combat systems, and crews, blue, gold, and what ever that have allowed many engineering causalities. We should go back to 1780’s and design a frigate that can out fight anyone and have the survival ability of larger ships. As for the crew, training and manning, that starts at the top top, CNO (cover your butt Richardson) and leaks down thru the wardroom, CPO mess right to the lower deck plates. The reports on McCain and Fitzgerald make those facts clear. Maybe the LCR’s should be re-designated PC’s or defense contractor (LM and Austral) benefits programs. Billions for crappy ships and not one cent for real frigates, i.e. warships. This report to the swamp is written in CYA double speak and dose NOT any of the fundamental issues. If you have to ask you are part of the problem. Anyone disagree please email with a rebuttal. MMCS(SW)(SS) USN Ret.

    • Secundius

      That’s because USS Constitution was actually a Heavy Frigate and not a Frigate, having 32-pounders instead of 24-pounders…

      • Rocco

        That was a stupid reply!! He made great points!!

        • Secundius

          A Stupid Reply to a Stupid Question! How many times has the “USS Constitution” been discussed on the “USNI News” forum?

    • Rocco

      Kudos ken!! Well put!! ⚓️🇺🇸

  • John McHugh

    So, my thoughts of a modern day FFG’s origin and mission set are similar to Bill Carter’s. The frigates that were Destroyer Leaders were too big to be considered Frigates, when you consider the mission. Frigates, post WWII, were up-sized DEs. Convoy Escort, Battle Group ASW, Sea Lane patrol and security, etc. Having the capability for prolonged and unsupported open water operation, a reasonable level of AAW self-defense for itself and vessels near it, a robust ASW suite, and the capability for a modest anti-surface projection would seem to be ideal.

    FFG(x) – Escort Leader. Capable of ASW, AAW, ASuW, & EMW. Speed of 30 knots + for implementation within CBG. Upgrade the main plant to two LM6000 MGT modules (42 MW each) for use in conjunction with four Main diesel generators (8-10 MW each) to supply an updated IEP propulsion system. At least 40-48 MK.41 VLS for SM-2, VL-ASROC, ESSM, (should there be a capability for VLS Tomahawk or LRASM ?). Main gun of 76 mm (Oto Melara) or the 127 mm (5 inch MK.45 gun). SeaRAM & Phalanx CIWS fore & aft. Torpedo launchers (3-tube x 2), Harpoon or LRASM ? (separate launcher than the VLS ?). MH60R x 2 (min), (ASW/ASuW Firescout ?), UUW capable. AEGIS required ? Cost / benefit of 1D vs. 1 F. Other non-rotating 3D AAW radar and combat system? The NSC seems below entry threshold? FREMM is near the target, Type-26 unknown, F-100/105/110 is slightly over the threshold ? There would be a 10-unit initial build-up of Flt-I hulls between GD-BIW and HII-Ingalls. Upon completion of the Flt-I vessels, ramp-up production and implement lessons learned, add GD-NASSCO and distribute the follow-on hull builds. These Flt-IA or Flt-II hulls would be spread across the three yards with each yard being allocated 7-10 hulls each for a total class of 31-40 vessels, this number being much closer to meeting fleet needs. Ideally, a safe and scalable Frigate would be to take a DDG-51 Flt-II, remove the aft VLS, downgrade to AEGIS to 1F, enhance the landing pad and hangars to allow for MH-60 x 2 and/or a combination of UAVs such as FireScout, swap the propulsion from four LM2500 to two LM6000 with bigger diesels. Although this vessel would be most capable, the cost avoidance isn’t big enough.

    LSC – Littoral Escort. Truncate LSC program to 24. The LCS Classes are functionally, operationally, and structurally unsound for prolonged engagement in “blue-water” theatres. Restructure the financing for both LM-MM & Austal to address Class design shortcomings. LCS-1 Class – “upgun” this hull using their existing proposals for export vessels with better point defense and add ASW and ASuW capability. Strike length VLS Module for ESSM, Hellfire and VL-ASROC. Implement torpedo tubes and UUW capability. Finalize / update redesign the Littoral ASW skid for permanent installation. Retain capability for SOCOM, patrol, counter-piracy, etc. The LCS-2 Class is to be re-purposed for MCM as it’s primary mission set. Finalize / update redesign Littoral MCM skid for permanent installation. Retain capability for SOCOM, patrol, counter-piracy, etc.

    Having the existing DDG fleet (with incoming Flt-IIIs), 30-40 Frigates, 12-15 LCS-1s (Super-PCs), and the 12-15 LCS-2s (MCMs), it becomes a much more flexible and dynamic fleet whose capabilities are greatly reinforced and expanded. Upgrading the CGs while bringing on a follow-up CD would be ideal. Building a CG / DDG-51 Flt-IV vessels by leveraging the South Korean Sejong Class DDGs would be the simplest manner to expand AAW coverage going forward.

    • Secundius

      From February 1951 to 1955, the term “Leader” applied to a Large Ship of the Specific Class. Example being “Destroyer Leader” or “DL”. After 1955 the term was Dropped, in favor to “Frigate”…

      • John McHugh

        Traditionally, Frigates were described as smaller, quicker, more maneuverable vessels than the “ships of the line”. They aren’t normally armed as heavily as Destroyers and are usually cheaper to build and maintain. The Perry’s were a very good example of this. Everyone had an opinion of them that was less than ideal until we all saw that they could take a punch.

        The DL / Frigates of the 50s don’t fit the traditional role of the Frigates throughout the past. The DL were really Light Cruisers in the modern age.

        • Secundius

          USS Bainbridge keel was laid as a Destroyer Leader Guided Nuclear in 1959, then changed to Cruiser Guided Nuclear in 1962. In 1903 a Cruiser was referred to as a “Bark”. In WWII a Frigate would have referred to as a Destroyer Escort. I’ve Long Given Up “ON” the US Navy’s Reasoning of Classification of Ships…

          • John McHugh

            Agreed. Simple answer. Build in steel, make it an ASW machine, give it some displacement for heavy seas, give it good range, give it a real main gun, give it sufficient AAW and ASuW capabilities. DON’T rewrite the Bible, don’t reinvent the light bulb. Take a page from DDG and put out a strong platform that’s scalable and safe.

  • Ron8200

    2 Ships a year? for 10 Years? We used to build Battleships and Carriers faster then that. How much cheaper would they be at double the production? If the goal is a 350 ship Navy this will not do.

    • Secundius

      Differences was, in 1943 there were 11,000 Shipworker’s working Around the Clock on 5-Duty Shifts 24/6/313. Also Fewer Electronics to Worry About too…

  • Paladin

    This thing will be as toothless as the preceding two classes of vessels the USN experimented with. Give the damn thing some weapons. WWII DEs had 5in. 38s, so this ship gets a 57mm? Put as many VLS cells on that will fit. Like all the escorts before, this ships will be used for every task that needs to be done like ASW, anti-air/surface and gunfire support. The Navy won’t have enough ships to pick and choose which one is optimized; they’ll be asked to do everything.

    • Secundius

      Both the Rudderow and John C. Butler class Destroyer Escorts mounted Two single 5-inch Mk.12 Gun Mounts, while the Evarts, Buckley, Edsal and Cannon classes of the Same design mounted Three single 3-inch Mk.22 Gun Mounts. All burrow the Same Hull Design as the British Flower class Corvette which mounted a Single BL 4-inch Mk.IX Gun Mount. The ONLY Differences between the American Destroyer Escort and the British Corvette were in Propulsion. The British used a Triple Expansion Steam Engine, what the American DE’s were Steam-Turbo Electric Propulsion…

  • David Miller

    dams class DDGs can

  • David Miller

    The ship needs to have the capabilities of a 5″54 gun and a VLS launch system. A robust steel hull and superstructure would be paramount I would think

    • Secundius

      Unlike the South Korean’s which use “Triple Nickel” Steel in their Naval Ships, the US Navy STILL uses “Carnegie Steel” which was introduced in 1901. Which was developed in 1892…

  • michael aller

    The US. Navy desperately needs at least twenty new , modern, long range, high endurance Guided Missile Frigates. That can screen Surface Task Forces as they sail across the globe and escort convoys all the way across the vast pacific ocean. What we do not need is a sneaky corrupt program to extend the weak LCS program by twenty more LCS ships !