The U.S. Navy’s newest surface combatant has Italian heritage, the Navy announced Thursday.
In a major win for Wisconsin’s Marinette Marine shipyard, the Navy selected Fincantieri’s so-called FREMM design, an acronym that stands for “European multi-purpose frigate,” in its original Italian. The shipyard, which is also on the hook for building the remaining mono-hull littoral combat ships and a frigate version of it for Saudi Arabia, is now a major player in U.S. Navy shipbuilding.
The detailed design and construction contract, worth $795.1 million, covers the design work and the first ship, as well as options for up to nine others. The total value of the contract if all options are exercised will be $5.58 billion. The contract is expected to be rebid after the first 10 ships.
The Navy is providing a significant portion of government furnished equipment, including a variant of the AN/SPY-6 radar destined for the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers under construction, and those costs are not included in the $5.58 billion.
Fincantieri campaigned hard to win the contract, bringing the FREMM to the United States to show it off and work with U.S. ships off the coast. The victory beats out challenges from Huntington Ingalls Industries, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works with Navantia’s F100 design, and Austal USA with an up-gunned version of its trimaran littoral combat ship.
According to the the Navy 2021 budget documents, the service is planing for it to take six years to complete design and construction of the ship, which should be finished in 2026.
The second frigate is expected to be ordered in April 2021, and from there it should be delivered about five and a half years after the award date.
Read more: Defense News