The US Navy has exercised the second contract option for the third ship, USS Chesapeake (FFG 64), under the Constellation-class (FFG 62) guided-missile frigate programme.

The frigate FFG 64 is the third Constellation-class vessel to be constructed by Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM).

The latest announcement follows the completion of a critical design review in May.

The programme will now proceed to the production readiness review stage, after which the production of the Constellation-class lead ship, USS Constellation (FFG 62), will begin.

FMM secured the contract for the design, construction and delivery of the first ten FFG 62 class frigates in April 2020.

Once constructed, the new Constellation class frigates will serve as highly survivable multi-mission platforms.

The Constellation-class ships can perform anti-submarine warfare (ASW), electronic warfare, air warfare, surface warfare missions and information operations.

FFG 62 frigates can operate both independently and as part of the carrier/ expeditionary strike group or a surface action group. It is designed and armed for conducting US Navy’s composite warfare and joint maritime missions.

The frigates will have an enterprise air surveillance radar (EASR), baseline ten (BL10) AEGIS combat system and communications systems.

The ships also feature a Mk 41 vertical launch system (VLS) and have added capability in the electronic warfare/information operations (EW/IO) area, and come with design flexibility for future growth.

In October last year, BAE Systems received a contract from the US Naval Sea Systems Command Integrated Warfare Systems 3C (NAVSEA IWS) to deliver MK 110 57mm Gun Weapon Systems (GWS) for the Constellation-class ships.

The US Navy named the first vessel FFG 62 as USS Constellation in October 2020 while the second frigate FFG 63 was named as USS Congress in December 2020.