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FFG(X) Guided Missile Frigate

Navy awarded a contract to design and produce the next generation small surface combatant, the Guided Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) April 30. The contract for detail design and construction (DD&C) of up to 10 Guided Missile Frigates (consisting of one base ship and nine option ships) was awarded to Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC) of Marinette, Wisconsin, officials announced.

The FFG(X) will have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare, and information operations. Specifically FFG(X) will include an Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) radar, Baseline Ten (BL10) AEGIS Combat System, a Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS), communications systems, MK 57 Gun Weapon System (GWS) countermeasures and added capability in the EW/IO area with design flexibility for future growth.

“The Navy’s Guided-Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) will be an important part of our future fleet,” said Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Gilday. “FFG(X) is the evolution of the Navy’s Small Surface Combatant with increased lethality, survivability, and improved capability to support the National Defense Strategy across the full range of military operations. It will no doubt help us conduct distributed maritime operations more effectively, and improve our ability to fight both in contested blue-water and littoral environments.”

New ships planned for future procurement or for replacement of legacy ships are annotated with (X) until their class has been named, such as FFG(X). The FFG(X) is an agile, multi-mission platform designed for operation in littoral and blue water environment. It would operate independently or integrated with a Task Force to conduct offensive and defensive Surface, AntiSubmarine, and Air Warfare. Evolving threats in the global maritime environment drove the Navy to re-evaluate Frigate requirements and pursue a guided missile Frigate.

FFG(X) leverages the proposed capabilities of the original Frigate (FF) program while adding

  • Increased Air Warfare (AW) capability in both self-defense and escort roles
  • Enhanced survivability (specifically focused on reduced vulnerability)
  • Increased Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare (EMW) capability

Maximizing capabilities while balancing cost, the “High / Low” mix of surface combatant capabilities meets the increased challenges of future operating environment. The Navy is interested in the FFG(X) to provide Combatant and Fleet Commanders a uniquely suitable asset to achieve select sea control objectives and perform maritime security operations while facilitating access in all domains in support of strike group and aggregated fleet operations.

In terms of the Navy's Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) Concept, FFG(X) small surface combatant will expand blue force sensor and weapon influence to provide increased information to the overall fleet tactical picture while challenging adversary ISR&T efforts. The purpose of this type of ship is to (1) fully support Combatant and Fleet Commanders during conflict by supplementing the fleet's undersea and surface warfare capabilities, allow for independent operations in a contested environment, extend the fleet tactical grid, and host and control unmanned systems; and (2) relieve large surface combatants from stressing routine duties during operations other than war.

This platform will employ unmanned systems to penetrate and dwell in contested environments, operating at greater risk to gain sensor and weapons advantages over the adversary. The FFG(X) will be capable of establishing a local sensor network using passive onboard sensors, embarked aircraft and elevated/tethered systems and unmanned vehicles to gather information and then act as a gateway to the fleet tactical grid using resilient communications systems and networks.

During Phase 0 (Shape the Battlespace) operations, FFG(X) will operate independently to develop a Recognized Maritime Picture and Recognized Air Picture, perform presence missions, conduct security cooperation activities, support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) efforts; and conduct security assistance and security force assistance (SFA). This ship will reduce demand on high end cruisers and destroyers that currently conduct ASW, SUW, and Theater Security Cooperation missions; allowing for an increase of more capable assets to maintain a stabilizing presence in regions where tensions with nations that have highly capable naval forces may exist.

During Phase 1 (Deter Aggression) and Phase 2 (Seize the Initiative) operations, the FFG(X) will normally aggregate into strike groups and Large Surface Combatant led surface action groups but also possess the ability to robustly defend itself during conduct of independent operations while connected and contributing to the fleet tactical grid. FFG(X) will perform its missions in complex electronic warfare and anti-ship missile threat environments, and, therefore, when available from other Navy efforts, will integrate hard-kill with advanced soft-kill systems at the combat systems level to enable the most effective offense and defense management of onboard weapons and decoy inventories.

FFG(X) missions during include complement the surface warfare (SuW) capabilities of a Carrier Strike Group and Expeditionary Strike Group with capacity in aggregated operations (e.g., as a pack) to deter or defeat aggression by adversary warships with over-the-horizon anti-ship missiles. Concepts of employment for this type of ship will include integrated operations with area air defense capable destroyers and cruisers as well as independent operations while connected and contributing to the fleet tactical grid. Additionally, this platform must defend against raids of small boats.

FFG(X) would perform anti-submarine warfare (ASW) scout and patrol missions that complement the capabilities of Strike Group and theater operations with enhanced active and passive undersea sensing capabilities. It would support transoceanic logistics movements by serving as a force multiplier to area air defense capable destroyers. If equipped with weapons providing the required capability and capacity, the ship will independently escort logistics ships during transit through low and medium threat regions.

FFG(X) would provide robust electromagnetic sensing and targeting capabilities and contribute to force level electromagnetic spectrum control, and provide electromagnetic information exploitation capabilities and intelligence collection. The FFG(X) aviation capability will include secure and traverse systems for aircraft handling and incorporate the aircraft systems and sensors into an integrated combat system.

To achieve these missions, the Navy desires to use common Navy systems across the radar, combat system, C4ISR systems, and launcher elements. Hull, Mechanical, and Electrical systems commonality with other US Navy platforms is also encouraged. FFG-X will use common Navy systems across the radar, combat system, C4ISR systems, and launcher elements while encouraging hull, mechanical, and electrical system commonality with other US Navy platforms.

Parent Design is a ship design that has been through production and demonstrated (full scale) at sea. Mature parent designs* to produce the most cost effective and capable designs to meet FFG(X) requirements. The Navy provided System Specification that details technical requirements for the FFG(X).

In their final configuration, FFG-7s were about 455 feet long and had full load displacements of roughly 3,900 tons to 4,100 tons. (By comparison, the Navy’s Arleigh Burke [DDG-51] class destroyers are about 510 feet long and have full load displacements of roughly 9,700 tons.) The Fincantieri FFG(X) design is based on Fincantieri’s FREMM (Fregata Europea Multi-Missione) frigate, which has been built in two variants, one for the Italian navy and one for the French navy. The FFG(X) design is based on the Italian variant, which has a length of 474.4 feet, a beam of 64.6 feet, a draft of 28.5 feet (including the bow sonar bulb), and a displacement of 6,900 tons. The F/MM’s FFG(X) design is rather longer and heavier — it has a length of 496 feet, a beam of 65 feet, a draft of 23 to 24 feet (there is no bow sonar bulb), and an estimated displacement of 7,400 tons, about 76% that of a Flight III DDG-51 destroyer. The FFG-X has a displacment more than twice that of the LCS, which had a Full load displacement of 2,800 tons [GD Trimaran] or approximately 3,200 metric tons [LM Semi Planing].

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Page last modified: 01-07-2021 14:52:52 ZULU