Austal USA and Lockheed Martin officials said they are offering basic designs for the new US Navy (USN) guided-missile frigate FFG(X) that closely match those of their Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) templates with some key differences to increase lethality, survivability, and multimission potential.
Representatives from both companies told Jane’s on 10 January at the 30th annual Surface Navy Association National Symposium that they used their basic LCS schematics for the FFG(X) proposals they submitted in December to meet the USN’s stipulation to use existing parent designs for a small surface combatant that can be modified to accommodate FFG(X) requirements. By “mature parent designs” the USN said it means a ship design that has been through production and “demonstrated [full scale]” at sea.
Another shipbuilder also vying for the FFG(X) is Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), which has mature parent designs for existing ship programmes. However, HII officials declined requests to speak about the frigate completion.
Austal USA officials noted that one of its existing ships, USS Coronado (LCS 4), has already proved it can be more lethal – the USN installed a launcher and fired a Harpoon Block 1C missile from the ship during recent deployment and testing.
For its frigate proposal, Austal USA has scaled-back the size of its stern flight deck, while creating more berthing and 'office' space in the cavernous mission bay beneath that deck. The company initially included the voluminous space to house LCS mission module equipment, which will not be needed for the multimission frigates.
The company also added a forward and aft vertical launch system (VLS) to the basic LCS design, Timothy McCue, Austal USA vice-president of LCS programmes, told Jane’s , and the ship has improved antisubmarine warfare (ASW) systems.
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