The US Navy has released a request for proposals (RFP) for the guided missile frigate FFG(X) design and construction contract for the first 10 ships.

The RFP provides for a full competition and will result in a contract awarded to one company in fiscal year 2020.

“The guided missile frigate is an agile, multi-mission platform designed for operation in blue water and littoral environments”, says the RFP.

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

Responders to the contract solicitation must propose an FFG(X) design based on a parent ship design that has been through production and demonstrated in full scale at sea.

To reach the US Navy’s full requirement of 20 FFG(X)s a second contract is planned closer to fiscal year 2025 for the next 10 ships to ensure more accurate pricing on out-year ships.

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BB85
BB85
1 year ago

It’s a pity the design must have already been to sea. If T26 hadn’t been delayed to the extent is has it would realistically only be going to sea now so still not qualify.

OldSchool
OldSchool
1 year ago
Reply to  BB85

Personally I wonder if that wasn’t done specifically to keep the T26 out of the running. It would have made a strong contender vs US designs….

Callum
Callum
1 year ago
Reply to  BB85

It’s possible they’d have made an exception if Glasgow was already in the water. After all, the USN was actually the one that suggested a common frigate, or at least some commonality between classes, for the USN, RN, RAN, and RCN. Now that exact thing has happened but the US has effectively ruled it out.

Paul T
Paul T
1 year ago
Reply to  BB85

To be honest when I saw the pic I thought it was a T26.

Cam
Cam
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

It’s ugly as hell, just like the yank littoral ships are ugly as hell and Zumwalt destroyers, the bridge windows look terrible on the littoral ships, I know looks don’t mean jack but it’s nice to have good looking ships to look at. I do like the look of the American AB destroyers though and they are nice multi purpose destroyers unlike our 45s unfortunately, I hope we get the fitted for but not installed MK41 silos put in in the near future, doubt it though.

dan
dan
1 year ago
Reply to  Cam

I think the Zumwalt is one very cool looking ship. Too each his own I guess.

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 year ago
Reply to  Cam

I think there’s more chance of the Type 45’s to be fitted with Sylver A70 cells, which can launch Tomahawk, SCALP, Aster 30 Block 1&2(NT)(BMD).

Cam
Cam
1 year ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Wonder why the type 26 frigates are getting the mk41 then

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 year ago
Reply to  Cam

Cam,
I think it is because Mk. 41 VLS can launch
anti-submarine torpedos.

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
1 year ago

I suspect the Canadian version of T26 is exactly what the USN needs. Shame it is not even under consideration.

4thwatch
4thwatch
1 year ago
Reply to  JohnHartley

In some quarters in the US there is a lingering suspicion of the RN. It is probably historical from 1776.

SD67
SD67
1 year ago
Reply to  4thwatch

There’s a good joke on one of the boards
“Last time the USN acquired a British frigate they paid rather less than a billion …”

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 year ago

Excuse my ignorance, but are they saying that the first ten are expected to be built by 2025?

David Barry
David Barry
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

America can bang out resorces and have more than one yard…

Dern
Dern
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

No, they mean they will sign a contract for 10 more ships in 2025. Doesn’t mean the first 10 have to be done by then.

GWM
GWM
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

I doubt it, the U.S. congress has thrown a curved ball into this demanding a lot of the support equipment is sourced in the US.This means a lot of new development work to qualify replacement equipment from local suppliers.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Thank you for responding! I came across a video which suggested the first in service would be 2023 and armed to the teeth no doubt.

Apparently being considered for the GMF: Joint Strike Missile (JSM)
https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/joint-strike-missile-jsm/

Quite an achievement when you consider the Type 26’s timeframe and numbers.

Pathetic in comparison.

Elliott
Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

I would expect probably 3 in service by 2025 with another 2 in service trials if all goes well.

Steve
Steve
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

It’s all about resources and political will.
They have it, we don’t.

4thwatch
4thwatch
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

Our Politicians have never been more clueless. I blame the Treasury for the inability to see the benefits of a vibrant and comprehensively equipped RN that might contribute by rebuilding our Shipbuilding Industry.

Bryan
Bryan
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

They plan on having the 9th and 10th ship start building in ’25, with 19th and 20th started in ’30. The plan has already slipped one year due to budgeting. With what we call the terrible ’20’s on our doorstep I suspect there will much more, “slipping” here in the U.S.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 year ago

Would be interesting to see Babcock bid with an Arrowhead 140 variant. Iver Huitfeldt is already in the water after all :-). I’ll go and put my coat on…..

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 year ago

Some of the choices available in some detail.

“SNA 2018 Day 2: FFG(X) designs by GD BIW, TKMS/Atlas NA, Austal, Fincantieri”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31YL7i4OQPo

peter Shaw
peter Shaw
1 year ago

Is there any likelihood that the US navy might reconsider the type 26? It seems crazy that Canada, Australia, the UK use the same platform but the US opts for something that is an older design….maybe the logic of interoperability might dawn on US navy planners. I think they should reconsider the type 26 in my opinion.

BIG D
BIG D
1 year ago
Reply to  peter Shaw

Thought I came across an article a while back were someone within the US department was saying the very thing that the USN should be looking at the t26 even though they are not in service yet, because of their modern design & adaptability, the commonality of having the model of ships throughout these navies that work so close together. So maybe they may look again & adapt the conditions for the competition.

Animal
Animal
1 year ago
Reply to  peter Shaw

Go tell them then.

Cam
Cam
1 year ago
Reply to  peter Shaw

I agree but yanks are to proud to pick a British design.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
1 year ago
Reply to  Cam

But not too proud to pick an Italian or Australian design? Just another ignorant anti-American cheap shot. Grow up,

Steve R
Steve R
1 year ago
Reply to  Cam

Not too proud to pick a British design; after all, the US Marines have for years and still use Harriers. No, they’ll use other nation’s designs; they’ll just insist on them being built in the US to protect their own shipyards and workers and industry. Which is fair enough, and what we should be doing. It’s not just about size and the clout they have; they have the will. Our government don’t. They just care about spending as little as possible. We’ll likely get all 13 Type 26 ships in the end but by the time the last one enters… Read more »

Rob Young
Rob Young
1 year ago
Reply to  peter Shaw

One problem with that is that, once a spec is issued with this type of restriction, a change would result in everybody that put something forward under that restriction would sue the US government if they lost to one of the newcomers.

GWM
GWM
1 year ago
Reply to  peter Shaw

No BAE have all ready said they won’t bid as they are not compliant with the requirements.

Simon
Simon
1 year ago

Let them run the competition, decide they don’t like any of them, delay for 12 months, and then buy T26.

Chris H
Chris H
1 year ago

That description of “multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare and information operations” sounds like a smaller AB. It seems the USN are still hooked on the concept of having every ship a jack of all trades but none as masters of anything in particular. Its especially confusing given as others have said the USA has the money and political will (let alone the industrial capacity) to build and operate specialist ships. The UK may indeed have smaller numbers but in their own individual spheres of operation they are each the best in the world.… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris H

Indeed, so ( in the RN) what is the relevance of a ‘general purpose’ frigate? Just asking….
Ought not the T31 x 5 program actually produce +2 ASW ships, + 2 AAW ships and another River 2 OPV?

Chris H
Chris H
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

@ Paul P – My understanding is that the GP Frigates would relieve more capable Frigates for the ASW and Carrier support work. Having said that I suspect the new Rivers would be as capable as a GP Frigate on those more ‘Littoral’ and enforcement duties (although I am happy to be corrected by Gunbuster and other ex Andrews). But to your point: the 5 x T31s are budgetted @ £1.25 Bn, a T26 @ £1 Bn each and a T45 @ £1 Bn in 2000 money. So with the best will in the world we lose 5 x GPs… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris H

Well I confess I was playing at being the Devil’s advocate. Your point on costs is well made and does suggest to me that the the Arrowhead 140 might be the best choice for R31, sort of along the same lines of thinking as the Italian navy PPA idea – a 140m OPV ffbnw the ability for midlife upgrade – VLS to AAW and / or electric ‘good enough’ ASW drive. One could argue that Arrowhead at 140m, is just 9m short of what the RN really wanted…another 5 Type 26 without the expensive gold plated ASW engine drive sound… Read more »

Bob
Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

The Italian PPA idea is interesting. 10 identical hulls, 3 equipt as frigates, 3 as corvettes and 4 as OPV. €3.9B for the first 7 is quite expensive though.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob

Yes, if you carve out ASW and AAW as specialised ( and expensive) ships ( Fremm/ Freda/ T26/ T45/ Horizon) then it seems they have defined everything else as a GP hull.
In a way I think that BAE would like the fairly successful Khareef /River 2 hull to be the basis of similar family of vessels but they are coming at the concept very late, decades behind Blohm and Voss with the Mekos.
Arrowhead 140 could be our PPA.

Paul T
Paul T
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob

At roughly £500 million per ship for the first 7 id say that it represents good value – yes they are being built with different equipment levels but it will be interesting to see how they perform once in service.A comparison is the order for the first 3 Type 26 Frigates is in the same ballpark.

Elliott
Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris H

The problem with specialist ships is they have a disturbing habit of never being in the right place. This was true in the past and is true today. For an example when recently has the RN consistently deployed T45s and T23s in concert with each other? There is the argument that the USN could procure more of each type, but that falls apart when you think about how many more responsibilities the USN has. Then of course you have to ask the question what is during a engagement (or even during transit due to a accident/engineering casualty)the ship that is… Read more »

Frank
Frank
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris H

My take on it is that with the numbers the USN fleet has they can afford to have specialist escorts, but with our tiny fleet we simply cannot afford to have anything but good all-rounders.

We should’ve moved heaven & earth to get the T26 into the running by cracking on with the 1st RN T26 so it could’ve qualified.

4thwatch
4thwatch
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank

‘We should’ve moved heaven and earth’. When did that ever happen in Treasury World especially under Hammonds dead (weight) hand?

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris H

I do agree with you Chris, I would have thought that the USN is lacking in specialist ASW warships, including all that hull quieting tech, which the AB’s don’t have. An USN ASW frigate would need to be able to defend its self when operating alone ahead of carrier battle fleets. Is this what the role of an ASW frigate be, searching for submarines some distance, ahead of fleets, Not escorting CBG like RN doctrine? Would a fleet of Type 26 frigates fulfill that rrequirement? It would be very interesting to know how the USN would arm a Type 26… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T
1 year ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Both the proposed Australian and Canadian versions seem to be equipped with mainly American systems and Weapons so I wouldn’t expect there to be much difference to an imaginary USN variant.

Joseph R
Joseph R
1 year ago

would be very interested to see more on what mission requirements and what corresponding specifications of critical hardware to support those. It was my understanding that the LCS ended up being a lesser valuable and somewhat vulnerable asset; the predecessor Perry class FFGs were also regarded as somewhat vulnerable. One wonders what is in store for this eventual replacement – and why the US Navy would bother with it, when it already fields large numbers of the very capable Arleigh Burkes (the gold standard in multi-mission combat platforms). No doubt there is a doctrinal reason behind it – but I… Read more »

Elliott
Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Joseph R

The doctrinal reason is the USN never intended for patrol, anti-piracy, freedom of navigation patrols and presence missions to be done by DDGs. Back in the 80s and 90s the Navy didn’t have to send a Burkes and Spruance/Kidd class DDGs worse Ticonderoga CGs all over the place doing what amounts to busy work. Doing that puts wear on the platforms and crews. In addition to playing hell with finding the escorts for CSGs and ships capable of launching meaningful cruise missile strikes when used in concert. The current state of affairs was caused by the lack of frigate construction… Read more »

Joseph R
Joseph R
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott

good answer, Elliott – thanks for that. and I agree with you on the LCS – I was just trying to put it in kinder language.. on the flipside though, despite having had DDGs / CGs deploy for this type of tasking – we have also seen FFGs ending up deployed in higher threat environments, in which they have suffered capability shortfalls. on paper I agree with the doctrinal explanation you cite – however in practice I guess you’ll never know exactly what you’ll be running into.. no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy. at least it’s a… Read more »

Helions
Helions
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott

Apparently the USN has finally come to the (very) belated recognition that the LCS in its current configuration is a non player in pretty much any role outside of the most low threat missions. This Hellfire package will be useful against small boats and patrol craft but for anything else is effectively useless. Note however, that the USS Montgomery which is an Independence class (and the most successful design) LCS has apparently deployed with the Kongsberg NSM. If so, it’s a very good step in the right direction. Face it, the LCS should be heavily armed, high speed, and unfortunately… Read more »

T.S
T.S
1 year ago

My concern is this is the USA’s low end platform. Our T31 would be lucky to be accepted as a coastguard vessel over there yet we will be sailing it all over world and into dangerous areas. Italy building the PPA, an OPV that will totally outclass the T31. As I’ve said before, if the role of T31 is anti piracy and flag waving then River 2 is plenty so just build more of these and save some money. If not, the T31 should be something similar to what the USA are considering with this frigate. No outright specialities but… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 year ago
Reply to  T.S

I suspect you have just enunciated how it went down. Act 1 Scene 1 RN..we would like 13 T26 8000 ton Arleigh Burkes MOD : you can only afford 8 RN : ( sighing) well ok, but the other 5 need to be 4000 ton ‘credible’ frigates MOD: they can’t cost more than £250m each. BAE -smiling aside to audience ( good job we spent that design money hardening Amazonas/ Khareef hull for that overpriced R2) BAE : we have just the thing…Avenger… A bargain at £250m apiece. MOD: not a credible frigate and anyway your reputation is &&ite BAE:… Read more »

OOA
OOA
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Very good..

Helions
Helions
1 year ago
Reply to  T.S

In line with your post T.S.,

I really believe the FREMM is going to be the winning design for the USN. To meet requirements as you outline above, the design is receiving major armaments and capabilities upgrades.

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/07/05/fincantieris-fremm-frigate-design-bulks-up-for-the-us-ffgx-competition/

Cheers!

Elliott
Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Helions

I agree that the FREMM is the most likely winner. For two reasons the first being it is the largest and most capable option (and more expensive) all of which appeal to the Navy. The second reason is political and industrial. Austal likely has more transport contracts in the future. Bath can keep building Destroyers till the next class comes on line. HII is always busy. But Fincantieri’s Marinette Marine shipyard would be left without any likely orders in the future. Not something usually done in a swing state or when the Navy (and Congress) is desperate to keep as… Read more »

Helions
Helions
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott

That’s been one of my points in past posts as well Elliot, all of the other yards involved here would have continuing contracts while Marinette would have neither the FFGX or GD’s Freedom class LCS.

Cheers!

Helions
Helions
1 year ago