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US Navy awards Fincantieri contract for fourth Constellation-class frigate.

| 2023

According to a PR published by Fincantieri's US subsidiary, Marinette Marine (FMM) on May 19, 2023, the firm has been awarded a $526 million contract by the Department of Defense to construct the fourth Constellation-class frigate for the US Navy.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of the Constellation class frigate. (Picture source: Fincantieri Marinette Marine)

This contract is part of a larger agreement signed in 2020, which includes the lead frigate and nine additional optional ships, totaling a cumulative value of $5.5 billion. The contract encompasses post-delivery availability support and crew training.

Fincantieri's successful bid in this prestigious tender sets it apart from other prominent US shipyards, as its project is regarded as highly innovative and cutting-edge.

The company's proposal is based on the technologically advanced FREMM frigate platform, which is globally recognized and forms the core of a 10-unit program being executed by Fincantieri for the Italian Navy.

The construction of the first frigate, named USS Constellation, commenced in late August of the previous year at Marinette, Wisconsin. FMM is scheduled to deliver this vessel to the US Navy in 2026.

About the class of frigates

With a displacement of 7,291 tons when fully loaded, the Constellation class measures 496 ft (151.18 m) in length and has a beam of 65 ft (19.81 m).

Its propulsion system includes a CODLAG configuration with a General Electric LM2500+G4 gas turbine, two electric propulsion motors, four ship service diesel generators, and an auxiliary propulsion unit.

It can reach speeds in excess of 26 knots (30 mph) and has a range of 6,000 nautical miles (6,900 miles) at a speed of 16 knots (18 mph), using electric drive.

Onboard, it can accommodate two rigid-hulled inflatable boats and provide for up to 200 personnel, including 24 officers and 176 enlisted crew.

The frigate is equipped with advanced sensors and processing systems such as the Aegis Baseline 10 Combat System, AN/SPY-6(V)3 EASR, AN/SPS-73(V)18 Surface Search Radar, and a variety of sonar and undersea warfare systems. Her electronic warfare capabilities include two SLQ-32(V)6 SEWIP Block 2 and four Mk53 Nulka decoy launching systems.

The ship's armament includes 32 Mark 41 VLS cells that can carry BGM-109 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, possibly RIM-162 ESSM Block 2 and/or RIM-174 Standard ERAM missiles, and planned RIM-66 Standard SM-2 Block 3C.

She also has 16 canister-launched over-the-horizon anti-ship weapons, RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles, a Mk 110 57 mm gun with ALaMO projectile, and various M240 or M2 machine guns.

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