US Combat Ship Decision Coming in 'Very Near Future'

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


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.


Citaat van: Huzaar1 op 13/04/2023 | 16:59 uur
Ze hebben er iig weer een lelijke boot van weten te maken.
;D de Amerikanen maken van de mast altijd zo'n palmpasenstok van ...


Ze hebben er iig weer een lelijke boot van weten te maken.
"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion" US secmindef - Jed Babbin"


First Constellation-Class Frigate Set For August Keel Laying

"American FREMM" - Scale model of the future USS Constellation (FFG 62) on Fincantieri booth at Sea Air Space 2023

Fincantieri confirmed to Naval News during Sea Air Space 2023 that the keel laying ceremony for the future USS Constellation is ?projected for August 2023?.

Three ships of the class have been awarded to Fincantieri: The Constellation (FFG 62) in 2020, the Congress (FFG 63) in 2021, and the Chesapeake (FFG 64) in 2022. A contract for construction of the fourth ship-in-class, the yet to be named FFG 65, is expected sometime this year.

The future USS Constellation (FFG 62) is the lead ship of the US Navy?s newest class of warships. Construction of the first-in-class ship is underway. The shipyard, Fincantieri Marinette Marine officially began construction of the first Constellation-class frigate last summer. The shipyard which used to produce Freedom type LCS, and is about to launch the last and final one on Saturday, went through an extensive upgrade of its facilities to support the frigate program. These capital Improvements at the yard are set to be completed in 2023.

In a recent social media post, the shipbuilder explained that it is already planning for the future:

This new acquisition program is changing things up by prioritizing the sustainment of these ships. Here are some key points:

- The USS Constellation is being built by Fincantieri, using several cost-saving measures to reduce risk and improve efficiency.
- Unlike previous ships, the Constellation will be built to 90% completion before transferring into the water, saving time and providing better access to the ship.
- The Constellation-class frigates will be used for various operations, including anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine, electromagnetic warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

It?s clear that Fincantieri is taking a strategic and innovative approach to building and maintaining these new ships. We can?t wait to see what they accomplish with the Constellation-class frigates!

During a NAVSEA briefing on the program during Sea Air Space 2023, Capt. Kevin Smith, FFG 62 Program Manager, explained the US Navy is still working through a timeline to meet a congressional mandate to add Standard Missile 6 and the Tomahawk Cruise Missiles to future Constellation-class guided-missile frigates.

The FFG 62 class is based off the Italian Navy variant of the FREMM multi-mission Frigate.