The US Navy awards Fincantieri the fourth Constellation-class frigate.

According to a press release published by Fincantieri’s US subsidiary, Marinette Marine (FMM), on May 19, the firm has been awarded a $526 million contract by the Department of Defense to build the fourth frigate of the Constellation class for the United States Navy.

This contract is part of a larger deal signed in 2020, which includes the main frigate and nine other optional ships, for a cumulative total value of $5.5 billion. The contract includes support for post-delivery availability and crew training.

Fincantieri’s success in this prestigious tender sets it apart from other prominent US shipyards, as its project is considered highly innovative and cutting-edge.

The company’s proposal is based on the technologically advanced platform of the FREMM frigate, which is recognized worldwide and forms the core of a 10-unit program that Fincantieri is executing for the Italian Navy.

Construction of the first frigate, named USS Constellation, began in late August of last year in Marinette, Wisconsin. Fincantieri is scheduled to deliver this vessel to the US Navy in 2026.

About the class of frigates

With a displacement of 7,291 tons fully loaded, the Constellation class measures 151.18m in length and has a beam of 19.81m.

Its propulsion system includes a CODLAG configuration with a General Electric LM2500+G4 gas turbine, two electric propulsion motors, four diesel generators for servicing the ship, and an auxiliary propulsion unit.

It can reach speeds in excess of 26 knots (30 mph) and has a range of 6,000 nautical miles at a speed of 16 knots (18 mph), using electric propulsion.

On board, she can accommodate two rigid-hulled inflatables and accommodate up to 200 people, including 24 officers and 176 ratings.

The frigate is equipped with advanced sensors and processing systems such as the Aegis Baseline 10 Combat System, AN/SPY-6(V)3 EASR, AN/SPS-73(V)18 Surface Search Radar, and a variety of sonars and submarines warfare systems. Its electronic warfare capabilities include two SLQ-32(V)6 SEWIP Block 2 and four Mk53 Nulka decoy launch systems.

The ship’s armament includes 32 Mark 41 VLS airframes that can carry BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, possibly RIM-162 ESSM Block 2 and/or RIM-174 Standard ERAM missiles, and the projected RIM-66 Standard SM-2 Block 3C missile.

It also has 16 over-the-horizon anti-ship weapons, RIM-116 Rolling Airframe missiles, a Mk 110 57mm gun with ALaMO shell, and several M240 or M2 machine guns.

Alain Henry de Frahan