The US Navy has awarded a contract to Marinette Marine for the design and production of the next generation small surface combatant, the Guided Missile Frigate (FFG(X)).

The contract encompasses detail design and construction (DD&C) of up to ten guided missile frigates, including one base ship and nine optional ships.

The multi-mission FFG(X) will have the capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare and information operations.

It will specifically include an Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) radar, Baseline Ten (BL10) AEGIS Combat System, and a Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS).

The small surface combatant will feature communications systems, MK 57 Gun Weapon System (GWS) countermeasures, and added capability in the EW/IO area.

Features of the vessel are designed to be flexible for future growth.

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US Navy research, development and acquisition assistant secretary James Geurts said: “Throughout this process, the government team and our industry partners have all executed with a sense of urgency and discipline, delivering this contract award three months ahead of schedule.

“The team’s intense focus on cost, acquisition, and technical rigor, enabled the government to deliver the best value for our taxpayers as we deliver a highly capable next generation frigate to our warfighters.”

Since the acquisition process for the frigate started in 2017, the navy has worked closely with industry to balance cost and capability.

The early industry involvement of the frigate acquisition programme has accelerated six years compared to normal shipbuilding programmes.

Proposals for the FFG(X) DD&C Request were released by the US Navy in June last year.

Following that, technical proposals and cost proposals were received in August and September, respectively.