Report to Congress on the Constellation-class frigate program (FFG-62)

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The following is the month of March. 2, 2022, Congressional Research Service report, Navy Constellation-class frigate (FFG-62) (formerly FFG[X]) Program: Context and challenges for the Congress.

From the report

The Navy began procuring Constellation-class frigates (FFG-62) in fiscal year 2020 and wants to procure a total of 20 FFG-62s. Congress funded the first FFG-62 in fiscal year 2020 at a cost of $1,281.2 million (or approximately $1.3 billion) and the second in fiscal year 2021 at a cost $1,053.1 million (approximately $1.1 billion). The Navy’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget calls for $1,087.9 million (i.e. approximately $1.1 billion) for the procurement of the third FFG-62, and $69.1 million dollars in Advance Procurement (AP) funding for the fourth and fifth FFG-62s, which are scheduled for procurement in one or more future fiscal years.

Four industry teams competed for the FFG-62 program. On April 30, 2020, the Navy announced that it had awarded the FFG-62 contract to the team led by Fincantieri/Marinette Marine (F/MM) of Marinette, WI. F/MM has been awarded a fixed price (firm target) incentive contract for the Detailed Design and Build (DD&C) for up to 10 program vessels – the lead vessel plus nine option vessels. The other three industry teams that would have competed for the program were led by Austal USA of Mobile, AL; General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works (GD/BIW) of Bath, ME; and Huntington Ingalls Industries/Ingalls Shipbuilding (HII/Ingalls) of Pascagoula, MS.

As part of its action on the Navy’s FY2020 and FY2021 budgets, Congress passed provisions for U.S. content requirements for certain components of each FFG-62 class ship, as well as a provision requiring the Navy to conduct a ground test program for the FFG-62 engineering plant (i.e. its propulsion plant and associated machinery).

The FFG-62 program presents several potential oversight issues for Congress, including the following:

  • new Navy force level targets for frigates and other surface combatants;
  • the accuracy of the Navy’s estimated unit procurement cost for the FFG-62s, particularly in comparison to known unit procurement costs of other recent U.S. surface combatants;
  • the potential impact of the COVID-19 situation on the execution of military shipbuilding programs in the United States, including the FFG-62 program;
  • whether to build FFG-62s in one shipyard at a time (Navy Basic Plan), or in two or three shipyards;
  • whether the Navy has correctly defined the required capabilities and room for growth for the FFG-62s;
  • whether to take further legislative action regarding US content requirements for the FFG-62 program;
  • technical risk in the FFG-62 program; and
  • potential impacts on the industrial base of the FFG-62 program for shipyards and suppliers in the context of other Navy and Coast Guard shipbuilding programs.

Download the document here.

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