Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) has commenced the construction of the US Navy’s lead Constellation-class guided missile frigate, the future USS Constellation (FFG-62).

The beginning of FFG-62’s construction was marked by a steel-cutting ceremony at the company’s shipyard in the Northeast Wisconsin, US.

It was attended by officials from the US Navy, FMM shipbuilders, representatives of elected officials, and other community leaders.

The latest developmental stage comes after the culmination of a successful production readiness review (PRR) milestone was conducted by the US Navy on 20 July.

It involved a detailed assessment of the design’s maturity and readiness of the shipyard to start the construction.

The design, development and construction of the FFG-62 is being managed by the Constellation-class frigate programme office (PMS 515).

FMM CEO Mark Vandroff said: “We continue to work extensively with the navy’s programme office to complete first ship design to give navy the ship they want.

“We are better than 80% complete on ship design prior to starting construction, which is consistent with best practices across the naval shipbuilding industry.”

The Constellation-class frigates are crucial components of the recently released Chief of Naval Operations Navigation Plan 2022.

According to the plan, the new Constellation frigates will be capable of “defending the fleet, striking adversary forces in all domains, and expanding interoperability with allies and partners”.

PMS 515 programme manager captain Kevin Smith said: “The frigate programme has worked diligently to minimise risks by selecting non-developmental systems and proven programme of record equipment to meet our requirements, and by conducting this rigorous PRR.”

Once constructed, the Constellation frigates will assist the US Navy fleet in undertaking a wide range of missions including anti-submarine warfare, air warfare, surface warfare and electromagnetic warfare/information operations.