US Navy Confirms $1B Order to Fincantieri for Two Constellation Frigates

Constellation frigate
Navy confirmed the orders for the fifth and sixth ships of the class (Fincantieri)

Published May 24, 2024 2:47 PM by The Maritime Executive


Fincantieri’s U.S. subsidiary, Fincantieri Marinette Marine confirmed that it has been notified that the U.S. Department of Defense has exercised the option for the fifth and sixth Constellation class frigates. The Pentagon listed the contracts as of May 23 reporting a value of $1.044 billion as a fixed-price incentive contract for FFG 66 and FFG 67 saying they are expected by April 2030.

It is the latest advancement on the contract that Fincantieri won in April 2020 in a hotly contested bidding. The contract was for the first vessel and has options for nine additional ships. The first contract was for $795 million with the shipbuilder reporting if all the options are exercised the contract is valued at more than $5.5 billion. The contract includes post-delivery availability support and crew training.

“The team at Fincantieri Marine Group is committed to support the U.S. Navy, and the Constellation program will be the centerpiece of our portfolio for decades.  Along with our partners and suppliers, we are going to deliver world-class warships,” said Marco Galbiati, CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group.

The design for the vessel is based on the FREMM frigate platform, which Fincantieri highlights as the most technologically advanced vessel. They note that it is also the backbone of a 10-unit program for the Italian Navy which Fincantieri is completing at its Italian yards.

The vessels will have a length of 496 feet (151 meters) with a lightship displacement of just over 6,000 tons. They will have a plant consisting of a gas turbine and electric propulsion motors providing more than 48,000 hp. The ships are designed for a complement of 200, including 24 officers. The Navy highlights a multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, and electromagnetic maneuver warfare. These capabilities include an Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR), a Baseline Ten (BL10) Aegis Combat System, and a Mk 41 Vertical Launch System.

The keel laying ceremony for the first of the vessels, USS Constellation (FFG 62) took place in Wisconsin at the shipyard on April 12. The Navy however has indicated that the vessels are behind schedule and that elements of the design are still to be finalized. The first ship was expected in 2026 but could be as late as 2029 according to reports.

The Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced yesterday during Fleet Week in New York that FFG 67 will be named USS Hamilton. The other ships in the class are USS Constellation (FFG 62), USS Congress (FFG 63), USS Chesapeake (FFG 64), and USS Lafayette (FFG 65).

The project is expected to be a major contributor to the yard for years to come. Fincantieri notes that it invested $350 million in improvements and new construction at the yard to prepare for the work. It included the massive new climate-controlled Building 34 where large portions of the vessels will be assembled. Since 2009, Fincantieri has invested more than half a billion dollars into enhancing its American shipyards.