The US Navy has awarded a US$795m (A$1.23bn) design and construction contract to Fincantieri to build a design based on its FREMM frigate to fulfil its future frigate (FFG(X)) requirement.
The win is also a major coup for the Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin which is owned by Fincantieri and is where the frigates will be manufactured. Marinette is where the Lockheed Martin Freedom class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is also built, and a frigate derivative of the LCS will be built for Saudi Arabia.
The FREMM-based design beat out competing designs from Austal which offered a version of its Independence class trimaran LCS, Lockheed Martin with a Freedom class LCS derivative, GD Bath Iron Works with a design based on the Spanish F100 frigate, and Huntington Ingalls with a version of its new US Coast Guard national security cutter.
The first vessel is expected to be ordered in late 2020 for delivery in 2026. It will utilise a smaller variant of the AN/SPY-6 radar which will be used by the new Flight III Arleigh Burke class destroyers, the Aegis combat system, and 32 vertical launch tubes.