US Combat Ship Decision Coming in 'Very Near Future'

Gestart door jurrien visser (JuVi op Twitter), 09/11/2014 | 10:32 uur


Wel fijn om te lezen dat de Amerikanen dingen evengoed weten te verneuken als wij dat kunnen.
"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion" US secmindef - Jed Babbin"


Navy's New Constellation Class Frigate Is A Mess  ( oeps ...  :omg:  :confused:  )

Endless changes to the base FREMM design have contributed to major delays and now "unplanned weight growth" could lead to a loss of speed.

The U.S. Navy's future Constellation class frigates could see their top speeds cut back to help mitigate unexpected growth in their overall weight. The Navy and shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine otherwise continue to grapple with the impacts of major changes in the ship's configuration compared to its Franco-Italian Fregata Europea Multi-Missione (FREMM) parent design. The entire purpose of basing the Constellations on an existing in-production frigate was to help reduce costs, delivery times, and risk, but they have shaped up to be larger, heavier, and now years behind schedule.

New details about weight growth, design instability, and other issues with the Constellation class frigate came in a report the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), a Congressional watchdog, published yesterday. Just last week, the Navy awarded a new contract to Fincantieri Marinette Marine, valued at just over $1.04 billion, for another two of the frigates. The service now has six Constellations on order, the first of which is currently under construction.

At the same time, the Navy has already confirmed that it now the first Constellation class frigate may not be delivered until 2029, three years behind schedule. This would also be around nine years after Fincantieri Marinette Marine received its initial contract for the frigates and some seven years after the start of construction of the USS Constellation.

As another data point about the current state of the initial Constellation class ship, "the Navy reported that, as of September 2023, the shipbuilder had completed construction of only 3.6 percent of the lead ship as compared to the 35.5 percent it was scheduled to have completed by that point," GAO reported.

"A complicating factor in assessing new dates for frigate deliveries is the shipbuilder's October 2023 reporting of unplanned weight growth in the frigate design – an increase of over 10 percent above the shipbuilder's June 2020 weight estimate," according to GAO. "The Navy's decision to approve construction with incomplete elements of the ship design – including information gaps related to structural, piping, ventilation, and other systems – and the underestimation of adapting a foreign design to meet Navy requirements have driven this weight growth."

It's worth noting here that by 2021, it had already become clear that the Constellation class design would be 24 feet longer and just over three and a half feet wider along the waterline compared to its FREMM parent. In addition, the Navy said at that time that the Constellation's displacement had grown by around 500 tons "for margins and future growth."



RAND: What Does The U.S. Navy Need In Its Future Combatants?

Naval News asked the RAND Corporation for their opinions on what the U.S. Navy's next-generation destroyer, the DDG(X), should have in terms of designing the plug-in Payload Module. The DDG(X) Payload Module option is a hull insert that can accommodate, for example, additional vertical launch missile cells to a Mission Module Bay to additional interior rooms.

A notional design concept of how the next-generation DDG(X) destroyer might appear.

Retired U.S. Navy captain, Dr. Bradley Martin, director of the RAND National Security Supply Chain Institute, and a senior policy researcher at RAND, answered Naval News' media inquiry. Dr. Martin has been featured on Naval News before with his comments on the DDG(X) and for "What the U.S. Navy Really Needs."

As Dr. Martin states in his commentary, the U.S. Navy's next-generation destroyer, the DDG(X) is still in its very preliminary design stages, and at this time, it is unknown if DDG(X) will even incorporate the Destroyer Payload Module Option hull insert as a future capability. Therefore, Dr. Martin instead provided a commentary on what criteria the U.S. Navy should follow for its future surface combatants and if the Destroyer Payload Module Option is even needed.

What Does the U.S. Navy Need in its Future Combatants?  By Dr. Bradley Martin, RAND.

"Recent events in the Red Sea have shown the unique value of capable surface combatants. Looking at the environment where surface combatants operate, billions of tons of cargo on tens of thousands of ships move goods around the world every day. Enabling the continued movement of that shipping is a fundamental mission of a Navy, particularly one like that of the United States which includes among its missions protecting the global commons. In the Red Sea, U.S. Navy Burke-class destroyers are providing air and surface defense in ways few other joint force capabilities can provide. Surface ships are not the best capability everywhere, but they remain for the most part highly useful and effective platforms across a spectrum of missions and conflict scenarios.

"The original question posed to me by Naval News was which modules should be developed for the prospective DDG-X class, given the possibility that modular development might become the preferred course. Although I understand the desire for some level of certainty on preferred combat systems, this seems to me an unduly specific question at this point. I've accordingly modified the question to one about requirements, specifically capability requirements and then have added an additional question about numbers needed to be effective.

"Too often, individual systems have been developed to very high levels of capability but were then so expensive that only a few could ever be developed. There are times when only a few very capable platforms are the best choice to meet threats and challenges. But, for ships, they can only be in one place at once. The questions cannot be just "what," but also "how many"?

What do surface ships do for the Navy?

"Far back into antiquity and likely well into the future, the majority of ships in the Navy are surface ships. These ships may have widely different purposes and armaments. Aircraft carriers are surface ships just as surely as are minesweepers. Surface combatants are defined primarily by missions they are capable of performing using the weapons and systems installed. U.S. Navy surface combatants are generally multi-mission and have systems to carry out anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare. All can land and refuel helicopters; many can host and maintain helicopters. For our purposes, we will identify surface combatants as guided missile cruisers (CGs), guided missile destroyers (DDGs), guided missile frigates (FFGs), and littoral combat ships (LCS).

"Every surface combatant except LCS is multi-mission, in the sense that each ship has systems allowing it to conduct several different warfare missions, ranging from multi-domain defense of the whole force to strikes against land targets. The ships are also able to carry out more than one mission at a time. For example, CGs and DDGs have simultaneously launched strikes and performed area air defense, and could conceivably conduct anti-surface warfare at the same time. Embarked helicopters could also be carrying out anti-submarine warfare in conjunction with ship systems. In short, a single ship can perform a wide variety of missions, either by itself or as part of a larger task force. These ships can, moreover, protect themselves, participate in command and control networks, receive and process intelligence, and carry out electronic countermeasures. The FFG-62 class now under construction is also conceived as multi-mission, although with a smaller ordnance load and with the understanding that it will not have the same capacity as DDGs or CGs.

"Ability to carry out a variety of missions is facilitated by the system for weapons load-out. U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers keep their strike, anti-air, and anti-surface weapons in vertical launching cannisters, which allows considerable variation in mission package load-out. This same system will be used in the Constellation-class guided missile frigate. However, these weapons have to be connected to some kind of weapons direction system. Spruance-class destroyers were equipped with the vertical launching system, but were not equipped with a three-dimensional air defense radar system, which meant there was little point in putting anti-aircraft missiles into the launching cells.

"LCS differs from other combatants in being configured to carry out one primary mission at a time. Each platform has self-defense and basic control and mobility systems and can embark helicopters. But, the mission modules are for single missions – which equip the ship for anti-surface or mine countermeasures missions – and there is no means to allow a rapid shift of mission focus. If, for example, an LCS receives a mine countermeasures mission module, that is the mission that the ship is likely to perform for years following. This concept is to a degree different than the original mission module conception, which implied that modules could be changed with relative ease, even in expeditionary conditions. Delays in module development and recognition that integrating new modules would be a time-consuming process seem to have forced a change to effectively make these ships either escorts or mine countermeasures vessels for their service lives.

A force structure mix

"Whatever a warship's capability might be, it can only be in one place at one time, and there are situations where only parts of a warship's capability are essential. For example, during the "tanker wars" of the late 1980s, several surface ships were involved in escorting oil tankers and natural gas carriers through the Persian Gulf to Kuwait and then back. The ships needed anti-air and anti-surface capabilities, but the major consideration is that they needed to be in the area. The key was not to have one or two ships with perfect capability, but enough ships with sufficient capability to carry out a mission that was likely to take several months with many Persian Gulf transits.

"For many years, from the 1970s until after the Cold War, the U.S. Navy sought a "high-low" mix of surface combatants, in which there were both very capable combatants that were assessed as able to perform specific warfare missions effectively and a large number of smaller ships. The smaller ships might be less inherently capable than the high-end combatants, but they would be sufficient and, most importantly, they would be available.

"The Navy moved away from this concept for several years as the Perry-class frigate went out of service and the LCSs continued to experience program delays. DDGs came to be not just a capable high-end combatant, but also an all-purpose deployer for situations requiring far less in terms of capability. This high use has created material readiness problems for these ships as they were deployed for a whole variety of missions, sometimes at the expense of scheduled maintenance. There were a few cases where the Navy failed to meet presence missions because ships were not available. Considerable body of evidence indicates that ships, specifically surface combatants, were experiencing lengthy delays once in maintenance periods due to issues caused by lengthy deployments.

"So, what seems clear is that there probably is no single ship that can meet the complete spectrum of demand. Different threat circumstances require different capabilities, and trying to fit all these capabilities on to one platform is unrealistic, at least at any kind of realistic cost. Even if we were hoping to create a modular design allowing substitutions of different capabilities, the fundamental issue is that any ship can only be in one place at one time. So, the Navy cannot realistically separate capability development from force structure requirements.

What should the overall surface force structure look like?

"There are several key characteristics that should be considered in the surface combatant force structure. Note that these should be thought of as applying across the force: that's not to say the whole force has identical characteristics, but that in totality, ships exist in sufficient quantity with sufficient capability to meet the range of missions.

"There are several characteristics that every ship should possess. These key common core characteristics should include:

- Ability to be produced in sufficient quantity to meet world-wide presence demands. This implies the procurement cost is within the nation's ability to pay for and produce.
- Closely related is the ability to be sustained over a long period. This requirement implies that the manning requirements must be in line with the nation's demography, that the maintenance requirements not be as onerous as they've historically been, and that ease of maintenance and repair is built into the platforms.
- Sufficient self-defense capabilities against every class of threat so that ships do not become easy targets. For example, a ship might not be able to serve as an area air defense platform, but it should have the ability to provide point defense to protect itself.

Ability to securely connect with and routinely use world-wide communications and intelligence networks. Although ability to securely communicate has long been a requirement for deploying Navy ships, current requirements are for nearly continuous communication and future requirements are likely to grow. There are vulnerabilities associated with being part of a network, which can be even more acute when there's a requirement to transmit, but the world will likely not return to a place where ships could rely on broad and infrequently transmitted orders.

- Ability to embark a helicopter or comparable unmanned aerial system. This should also be considered a key common feature, enabling multiple different mission areas, and indeed sometimes providing a capability the ship by itself could not effectively deliver.
"After all these other basic requirements are met, the issue of capability to meet broader mission requirements comes to the fore. Here, very real tradeoffs between costs, capabilities, and numbers are encountered. We will examine these tradeoffs in more detail.

"As in the Red Sea, threats to international shipping can come from a variety of different sources, but the threat from air and missile sources seem particularly acute, with aerial drones, for example, becoming particularly widespread. That suggests that area air and missile defense is a particularly critical mission. However, making a ship capable in this area adds considerably to the cost when we consider the sensors and weapons direction capabilities required. To illustrate, an LCS class without such systems costs about $700 million while a Constellation- class frigate, similar in size to LCS but with a SPY radar for air defense, will likely cost over $1.3 billion. This makes clear that including the capability for area air defense would mean there would have to be fewer ships. Making a ship into a capable air defense platform is the equivalent of half a ship without such equipment. If simple numbers are part of the calculus, air defense capability for a large number of ships is likely out of reach. The exact number of ships that should have this capability requires more analysis than we can provide here. But, we can say that not every surface combatant can have this capability, not if there's to be a sustainable and sufficiently numerous surface fleet.

"It's important to consider the question of numbers because there are other missions surface ships might reasonably have to provide. If we look at Red Sea operations, the threat is not just from missiles and drones but also from boarding teams harassing transiting ships. Looking at other theaters, unmanned surface vessels (USVs) have attacked and sunk Russian combatants in the Black Sea. Air defense capabilities would not be relevant in defending against these threats. Indeed, trying to do operations against boarding teams or USVs while also providing air defense across a wide area might be incompatible. A ship could possess both sets of capabilities, but the reality is that doing more than one thing in more than one area would take two ships. In fact, the overall capability might best be served by having several ships with different capabilities than a small number with multiple capabilities.

"We should note here also that the U.S. Navy is developing its own USVs, which can to a degree add capability and capacity for many of these missions. USVs can be networked, armed a variety of different ways, and could be an important addition to surface ship force structure and capability. Their potential roles have some limitations – visit, board, search, and seizure, for example, requires a boarding team – but their potential capabilities and missions require as much consideration as those of larger manned platforms.

So, how to establish the requirements?

"The U.S. Navy regularly conducts a force structure assessment to arrive at a number of ships needed to meet a set of planning and presence requirements. This assessment, however, assumes a set of capabilities and does not attempt to balance numbers against systems capabilities. There is a complete joint process for the validations of capabilities requirements – the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System. This system has long been criticized for being cumbersome, but the issue in this particular instance is that the focus on capabilities may cause insufficient focus on numbers.

"The most complete answer is to first consider the most likely missions, which are not necessarily the ones requiring individual platforms and the most advanced capabilities. Those mission could then be associated with a number that could then be connected with a set of capabilities residing in a joint and fleet architecture.

"That approach could yield a better mechanism for determining the capabilities particular ship classes might require. A modular approach might be effective in some cases. A ship could conceivably have modules that augment its ability in one scenario and then have them replaced by some other augmentations in another.  Some examples might be ballistic missile defense or advanced electronic attack or intelligence collection. In some cases, the modular augmentations might not be difficult, but in some others, they could be extremely complicated and might require shipyard periods to complete. The history with the LCS modules does not suggest that this will be an easy process. Modules also do not solve the problem of force structure. However a ship is configured, it can still only be in one place at one time.

"However, an architectural approach where numbers are considered as well as capabilities across a spectrum of use, from steady state to global protection of trade routes to intense warfare, might illuminate when a modular approach is the best. There likely will be times when a rapid change-out of modules might be the most effective way to keep a credible presence. However, what has not to date been designed is a force that together creates a flexible and effective capability. Such a force would likely include a mix of ships, large and small, sophisticated and simple, multi- and single-mission, manned and unmanned."


Does The Navy's New Constellation Class Frigate Have Enough Vertical Launch Cells?

Recent events in the Red Sea again raise questions about whether 32 vertical launch cells is adequate for the Constellation class frigates.

As the U.S. Navy continues to wend its way toward acquiring its first batch of Constellation class frigates, a major question remains: is 32 vertical launch system cells enough for these ships?

Debates about the Constellation's vertical launch capacity reflects broader concerns, including how these cells might be reloaded at sea in a major conflict, across the Navy as a whole. The underlying issues here have come into sharp relief recently as the service's vessels have been shooting down dozens of Houthi anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles and drones and launching strikes on the group in Yemen.


Frigate program delayed as shipyard is a 'few hundred' workers short

The U.S. Navy's first Constellation-class guided-missile frigate will arrive late amid workforce shortages, a program official said Thursday.

Fincantieri's Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin won a contract in April 2020 to build the first 10 ships. Construction on the first frigate began in September 2022, and four ships are now on contract.


The surface Navy should design for competition, rethink fleet make-up

The Hudson Institute's Bryan Clark argues in this op-ed that balancing tight budgets with global demands should push the Navy to rethink how it's buying ships.

s top naval officials, industry titans and sailors of all stripes gather soon for the Surface Navy Association's annual conference, the future of the surface fleet is sure to be top of mind. In this op-ed, the Hudson Institute's Bryan Clark argues that it's time for the service to look hard at how to get the best bang for the surface fleet's buck — and to change its acquisition plans.

The US Navy's surface warriors should be proud of the fleet's performance as they meet this week in Virginia for the annual Surface Navy Association symposium. Destroyers in the Red Sea defend Israel and commercial shipping against Houthi air attacks. Littoral Combat Ships steam alongside Philippine allies to protect fisheries from Chinese harassment and poaching. And the Bataan amphibious ready group patrols the Eastern Mediterranean to prevent escalation of Israel's war with Hamas. American sea power is on display literally around the world.

But in the background, the Navy's budget tells a different story. In its last shipbuilding plan, the Navy described plans to shrink the surface fleet over the next decade as cruisers (CG), dock landing ships (LSD), and minesweepers age out and the LCS fleet is reduced to 21 hulls from an original 35. Ship construction, consisting of two destroyers (DDG) and up to two frigates (FFG) per year, will not be enough to stem the losses. And with 13 surface ships planned for retirement next year, stress on the fleet will only grow.

Navy leaders need to reassess their future plans by getting real about the operational and budgetary pressures that lie ahead and embracing the surface fleet's recent successes as a tool for deterrence and diplomacy. A good start would be rethinking how the Navy pursues its acquisition of DDG(X).

Getting Real About Resources

The surface fleet is shrinking, which the Navy intends to arrest in the mid-2030s through continued DDG and FFG production combined with a pause in retirements. But this plan faces multiple challenges.

The first is construction costs. Starting in 2032, the Navy wants to buy the new DDG(X), estimated to cost about $3.3 billion compared to $2.1 billion for today's Arleigh Burkes. Navy leaders argue the 40 percent larger DDG(X) is needed to carry the lasers, long-range hypersonic missiles, and improved sensors needed to fight China.

To build DDG(X), the Navy will need to grow its surface combatant spending from about $6 billion today to about $9 billion in the 2030s. The end of Columbia ballistic missile submarine procurement in 2035 could free up these dollars, but the new SSN(X) attack submarine, estimated to cost nearly twice that of today's Virginia-class boats, will likely consume most of the budgetary slack. And if there is any spare funding, the Navy might use it for the large payload submarine planned to follow Columbia.

The second challenge is operations and maintenance spending. The Navy's reasonable argument for retiring surface vessels today is rising repair costs. Although new ships like the Ford-class carrier are showing how automation and digitation can lower maintenance costs, the emerging generation of DDGs, FFGs, LPDs and LCS are so much more complicated than their minesweeper, LSD, or CG predecessors that it seems unlikely surface fleet sustainment will get cheaper. The Navy's shipbuilding plan bears this out by estimating that operations and maintenance spending will grow even as the fleet shrinks.

The third challenge will be personnel. The Navy missed its recruiting goals by almost 20 percent in FY 2023, although retention remains strong. The Navy may not have enough surface sailors to crew a larger fleet and attracting and keeping talented personnel will demand funding that will further pressurize Navy budgets.

Embracing The Navy's Role In Diplomacy And Deterrence

The solution for some navalists is to raise the Navy's budget so it can grow the fleet and address an expanding set of peacetime challenges and wartime demands. This approach worked well during the last decade, and Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro deserves praise for advocating that the Navy's contribution to diplomacy and deterrence demands appropriate funding.

However, the Navy's budget increases could be reaching their limit. Overall defense spending is likely to remain roughly flat through FY25 based on the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the impact of rising interest rates on federal deficits. And within the DoD, it is unlikely lawmakers will accept further cuts to the Army to buy more Navy.

The Navy's leaders need a plan to arrest the slide in surface fleet capacity that does not assume a future budgetary windfall.

Surface leaders should base a new course for the surface fleet's design on its role in the peacetime promotion of US national security and prosperity, as directed by Section 912 of the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. These operations — on display now in Europe, the Middle East, and western Pacific — require sustained presence that can only come through a combination of capacity, readiness, and forward basing.

Before devoting more than half its amphibious ship and surface combatant funding each year to buy a single DDG(X), the Navy should reconsider if the surface fleet's best use is fighting China on day one of a war over Taiwan. Submarines, bombers, and unmanned systems might be better tools for those initial engagements.

With a less-ambitious DDG(X), the Navy might be able to continue buying two destroyers and two frigates each year — or grow the fleet faster by buying a single DDG(X) and four or more FFGs. Rethinking DDG(X)'s requirements would also enable the Navy to prioritize its lifecycle affordability, which will be essential to ensure readiness dollars are available to keep fleet's unmanned vessels, LCS, amphibious ships, and frigates forward where they support campaigning and competition.

The surface Navy could also better shape its unmanned system programs by prioritizing competition over conflict. For example, the Large Unmanned Surface Vessel (LUSV), intended as an auxiliary missile magazine to help DDGs fight China, may not be useful in day-to-day competition and the need for surface combatants to protect and supervise LUSVs could make them a liability. However, by making LUSVs optionally unmanned and equipping them to host small crews, the Navy could use LUSVs as additional small combatants and reduce the need for them to be escorted by destroyers or frigates. This additional cost could be funded by savings from DDG(X).

Like the other military services, the Navy faces increasing pressure to be relevant in a fight with China. However, not every naval community needs to be able to stop a short-notice invasion across the Taiwan Strait. The surface force, including the amphibious fleet, is the Navy's most visible and versatile tool for day-to-day competition, diplomacy, and conventional deterrence. Its leaders should embrace that role to succeed in an increasingly challenging fiscal and operational environment.


Start of construction of future US Navy DDG(X) next gen destroyers postponed to 2032

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a nonpartisan federal agency that provides economic and budgetary analysis to the United States Congress, has released its assessments and projections on the U.S. Navy's revised shipbuilding plans, including the updated schedule for the next-generation DDG(X) destroyers.

The U.S. Navy's 2024 shipbuilding plan presents a comprehensive vision that seeks to balance the exigencies of present-day naval warfare with the imperatives of future threats and technologies. The Navy's roadmap encapsulates an intricate blend of upgrading existing platforms and commissioning advanced vessels to ensure sustained maritime superiority.

The DDG-51 Flight III Destroyers remain a pivotal part of this plan, with their improved ballistic missile defense capabilities positioned as a key countermeasure to evolving threats.

The integration of the AMDR system represents a quantum leap in surveillance and detection, purportedly offering a nearly 100-fold increase in radar power over existing systems. The ability to generate more electrical power and the enhanced cooling systems are technical modifications that reflect the Navy's commitment to maintaining a technological edge.

As the Navy transitions towards the future, the DDG(X) program stands out. It symbolizes the Navy's next stride in destroyer evolution. The design goals for the DDG(X) outline a vessel that not only exceeds the combat capabilities of the DDG-51 Flight III but also emphasizes a larger hull, which is expected to provide substantial benefits in terms of power, stealth, and future upgrade capacities.

This move anticipates the need for vessels that can adapt to emergent weapon systems and other operational capabilities that may become essential in future maritime confrontations.

The financial implications of the DDG(X) and other new platforms remain a contentious issue, with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projecting costs notably higher than the Navy's estimates.

The experience with the Zumwalt class destroyers serves as a cautionary reference, where initial cost projections significantly underestimated the final expenditure. The DDG(X)'s reliance on the proven combat systems and radar of the DDG-51 Flight III may temper some of these financial risks, but the ambitious nature of the project implies that actual costs could deviate from early estimates.

The strategy for small surface combatants, represented by the Constellation class frigates, remains relatively stable across the different alternatives of the plan. These frigates are expected to play a versatile role, bolstering the Navy's capabilities in areas like escort operations, anti-submarine warfare, and surface engagement. The potential upgrade to a Flight II version hints at incremental advancements in combat and weapon systems while retaining the size and fundamental design characteristics.

In the amphitheatre of amphibious warfare, the Navy appears to be re-evaluating its stance. The introduction of new LSMs, light amphibious warships capable of supporting a variety of missions, reflects a shift towards a more dynamic and rapid response force. This evolution in thinking aligns with the broader strategic shifts towards distributed lethality and the need for agile force projection in multiple theatres.

Cost estimates for these ships, particularly the new amphibious assault ships, again illustrate a disparity between the Navy's projections and the CBO's higher estimates. The cost growth factors incorporated by the CBO take into account the historical trends in the shipbuilding industry, suggesting that the Navy's estimates may be optimistic. This difference emphasizes the inherent uncertainty in forecasting costs for such complex and technologically sophisticated vessels.


US Navy states fourth Constellation-class frigate to commission in 2029

The US Navy has stated that the fourth Constellation-class guided missile frigate will be named USS Lafayette (FFG 65), with the vessel scheduled to commission in 2029.

A total of three previous vessels have been named Lafayette in US Navy service: a sidewheel ironclad ram, a transport ship (AP 53), and a ballistic missile submarine (SSBN 616), according to the US Navy.

The other named ships in the Constellation-class programme are the USS Constellation (FFG 62), USS Congress (FFG 63), and USS Chesapeake (FFG 64). The Constellation class will have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare, and information operations.

Specifically, the class includes an enterprise air surveillance radar, Baseline 10 Aegis combat system, a Mk 41 vertical launch system, communications systems, Mk 57 gun weapon system countermeasures, and added capability in electronic warfare and information operations with design flexibility for future growth.

Having opted to dispense with guided missile frigates with the retirement of the Oliver Hazard Perry class in 2010s, the US Navy had sought to develop the two-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) programme to fill the capability gap.

However, difficulties with the LCS programme have seen a number of ships retired after only a handful of years of service, with questions over the suitability of the platforms and their survivability in contested maritime environments.

The difficulties experienced by the LCS also appear in part to have been the motivation behind the US decision to initiate the FFG(X) programme, now known as the Constellation class, which will deliver up to 20 frigates into USN service.

At between $500-600m per ship, the Constellation class is around 50% more expensive per ship than the LCS, although as a much larger warship (7,200t fully loaded) than the LCS Independence variant (3,400t full loaded) and Freedom variant (~3,500t), it necessarily has greater capability, and crucially, survivability.

US Navy: Construction of the Constellation class begins

(artikel vertaald via Google Translate)

De Amerikaanse Fincantieri-Konzern, Fincantieri Marinette Marine, op 31 augustus met de Bau van de eerste Fregatte van de Constellation-Klasse op de konzerneigenen Werft in Wisconsin begonnen. Als de persconferentie van het project is begonnen met programma's voor de Amerikaanse marine, staat Baunummer 1 op "USS Constellation" (FFG 62) en wordt in 2026 vrijgegeven. De klasse is de naam van de eerste Schiffes die als FFG 62 en FFG(X) wordt gebruikt.

Vergeleken met het Italiaanse Fremm-ontwerp dat als basis dient, zal de Constellation-klasse 7,13 meter langer zijn (151,20 meter) en 1,10 meter breder aan de waterlijn (18,1 meter), waardoor het tonnage met ongeveer 520 ton toeneemt (7.400 ton).

Het begin van de "USS Constellation" is snel begonnen met de financiering van de financiering in april 2020 in de Zuschlag. Het programmaverantwoordingswerk dat begint met de start van de start, zal eerst in mei 2022 worden voltooid. De Amerikaanse marine en financiële instellingen gaan de Italiaanse FREMM-fregatten gebruiken, dus de Fregatten van de Constellation-Klasse met US-systemen met Aegis Baseline 10 en C4I-systemen worden klaar.

Terwijl de beste kwaliteit van de onderneming wordt toegepast, is er een nieuwe manier om de standaarden van de Amerikaanse marine te implementeren en de normen van de Amerikaanse marine te benutten. Het is een kwestie van tijd in Anspruch nahm. Letztendlich signalisierte de Werft im July 2022 grünes Licht für den Produktionsbeginn. Gegenüber dem als Grundlage dienden Italiaanse Fremm-Design, wird die Constellation-Klasse 7,13 meter langer (151,20 meter) en op de hoogte van de waslijn 1,10 meter breiter sein (18,1 meter), waar de tonnage een rund is 520 ton erhöht (7.400 ton). Het geluid van de bug komt terecht in de achtermast van de Fremm.

Een vergelijking van een FREMM-fregat met de fregatten van de Constellation-klasse. De Italiaanse FREMM is blauw gemarkeerd.

Het eerste fregat van de Constellation-klasse zal beschikken over vier dieselelektrische aandrijvingen van MTU. Fincantieri Marinette Systems (FMM) heeft Rolls-Royce de opdracht gegeven om de aandrijfeenheden te leveren ( ESUT gerapporteerd ). De generatorsets zijn gebaseerd op de motoren van de typen MTU 20V 4000 M53B, die een gesamtleistung van Zwölf MW voor de Antrieb en de bordstroomversorgung liefern.

In de tussentijd heeft de Amerikaanse marine FMM-contractopties verleend voor twee extra eenheden van de klasse. Meest recentelijk voor het derde fregat, USS Chesapeake (FFG-64) in juni 2022. De bestelling voor het "USS Congress" (FFG-63) werd in 2021 geplaatst.

De fregatten van de Constellation-klasse vormen een essentieel onderdeel van het Chief of Naval Operations Navigation Plan (NAVPLAN) 2022 van de Amerikaanse marine. Er wordt een hybride vloot van ongeveer 50 onbemande en 355 bemande schepen overwogen, waaronder 20 fregatten van de Constellation-klasse. Volgens de huidige begroting (boekjaar 2023), die de boekjaren tot en met 2027 bestrijkt, plant de Amerikaanse marine een inkooppercentage van 1-2-1-2. Het oorspronkelijke plan was om twee schepen per jaar te hebben. Zoals uit insiderrapporten blijkt, komt de aanbestedingsprognose overeen met wat de scheepswerf de komende vijf jaar zou kunnen bouwen. Het vooruitzicht van een tweede scheepswerf wordt opgeschort totdat alle risico's zijn geanalyseerd en de documentatie is voltooid door Fincantieri Marinette Marine. Het Amerikaanse Congres heeft opdracht gegeven tot een pauze in het selectieproces. Volgens rapporten van het US Naval Institute zouden zowel Ingalls Shipbuilding van Huntington Ingalls Industries als Austal USA worden beschouwd als veelbelovende kandidaten voor de gunning van nog meer nieuwe schepen in de Constellation-klasse. Het General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works-consortium, dat tot de drie Amerikaanse industriële teams behoorde die zich naar verluidt voor het programma hadden aangemeld, blijft onvermeld.

Een rapport aan het Amerikaanse Congres schat de kosten van de eerste eenheid op 1,281 miljard dollar. Bouwnummer 2 zal naar verwachting $1,053 miljard kosten, bouwnummers 3 en 4 zullen naar verwachting elk $1,09 miljard kosten. Het verschil tussen de eerste en de andere eenheden komt voort uit het feit dat in het Amerikaanse begrotingssysteem de Amerikaanse marine de ontwikkelingskosten in de eerste eenheden meeneemt. De verschillen vanaf bouwnummer 2 worden verklaard door de algemene prijsontwikkeling. De uitrustingsaandelen zijn opgenomen in de budgetinformatie. Toen het USS Chesapeake-contract daarentegen aan de scheepswerf werd gegund, werd de contractwaarde op $ 537 miljoen gesteld.

Fincantieri heeft een aantal recente successen geboekt. Deze omvatten de levering van fregatten van de Fremm-klasse aan Egypte, de onderscheiding in Indonesië voor de levering van zes eenheden van dezelfde serie en de modernisering en verkoop van twee fregatten van de Maestrale-klasse, inclusief logistieke ondersteuning voor beide programma's. De Italianen werken ook samen met Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) aan het conceptuele ontwerp van het nieuwe vliegdekschip 'CVX' voor de Zuid-Koreaanse marine.


Citaat van: Harald op 26/04/2022 | 11:32 uur
Zumwalt Destroyers' 155mm AGSs' Removal Fates Undetermined  ( geen kanonnen, maar VLSen )
The U.S. Navy has confirmed that the three stealthy DDG 1000 Zumwalt destroyers' inactive and never-fired 155mm Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) will be removed for the installation of the Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) hypersonic missile vertical launch tubes in their places. But what is unknown is what will become of the AGSs, two per tumblehome destroyer, once they are removed. Naval News asked the U.S. Navy and received a reply.
Peter Ong  25 Apr 2022

The U.S. Navy's Chief of Information (CHINFO) department replied to Naval News in mid-April 2022.  Naval News asked CHINFO if the three Zumwalt class destroyers' 155mm Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) will be:

Dismantled, saved and stored in a Navy warehouse for possible future use in another new class of ship.
Dismantled, saved and stored at the manufacturer's location for possible future AGS modifications and upgrades.
Dismantled and stored by the U.S. Navy for future scrapping and destruction.
Dismantled and destroyed in the removal process for Hypersonic missiles.

Lt. Lewis Aldridge, CHINFO News Desk Officer, replied via email;

Ik zat hier nog eens over te denken maar een schip wat niet gezien moet worden, had je dan niet beter voor subs kunnen gaan  :angel:

Master Mack

Ik vind die sleepboot boeg echt verschrikkelijk lelijk


Citaat van: Master Mack op 13/04/2023 | 19:41 uur
Doe mij dan maar gewoon de nieuwe Italiaanse DDX Destroyers. Mooie schepen en zwaar bewapend

Daar zal dan ook wel een ander prijskaartje aan hangen vermoed ik.
"The only thing necessary for Evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"- Edmund Burke
"War is the continuation of politics by all other means", Carl von Clausewitz, Vom Kriege/On War (1830).

jurrien visser (JuVi op Twitter)

Citaat van: Master Mack op 13/04/2023 | 19:41 uur
Doe mij dan maar gewoon de nieuwe Italiaanse DDX Destroyers. Mooie schepen en zwaar bewapend

Met een vernederlandste versie zou ik zeker kunnen leven als FuAD/AWWF al gaat de vergelijking met een Amerikaans fregat versus een Italiaanse destroyter stevig mank als je ziet wat de Amerikanen in gedachte hebben voor hun aanstaande DDG(X)


Citaat van: Harald op 13/04/2023 | 16:48 uur
First Constellation-Class Frigate Set For August Keel Laying

Wat mij vooral opviel is dat deze fregatten dus geen boegsonar krijgen, qua wapen systemen (behalve de 57 mm) mogen we daar wel jaloers op zijn als we naar onze ASWF's kijken.

Master Mack

Doe mij dan maar gewoon de nieuwe Italiaanse DDX Destroyers. Mooie schepen en zwaar bewapend


Citaat van: Huzaar1 op 13/04/2023 | 16:59 uur
Ze hebben er iig weer een lelijke boot van weten te maken.
Lelijk, maar zwaar bewapend en een sterker casco. Het is maar waar je prioriteit ligt.