Construction for guided-missile frigate Constellation set to begin

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy recently exercised an option to acquire the guided-missile frigate Chesapeake (FFG 64). (US Navy)

Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) is set to start building the first Constellation-class guided-missile frigate (FFG 62) close to the scheduled construction-start time, programme sources confirmed.

FMM and US Navy (USN) sources say Constellation work will begin during the US summer – that started 21 June and ends 22 September – but a source familiar with the programme told Janes the shipbuilder will likely begin construction in August.

That start is a bit later than the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) had indicated in its annual report on major Pentagon acquisition programmes, released on 8 June.

“The [FFG 62] programme office confirmed that the programme delayed the start of lead ship construction planned for April 2022,” the GAO reported. “The official said that the programme now plans to begin construction in July 2022.”

Officially, though, FMM spokesperson Eric Dent told Janes, “We are planning to start construction of the lead ship, the future USS Constellation, this summer.”


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New Dutch expeditionary survey vessel enters service

by Kate Tringham

The Dutch navy's new ESB Hydrograaf entered service on 21 November. (RNLN)

The Royal Netherlands Navy's (RNLN's) new expeditionary survey boat (ESB), HrMs Hydrograaf (H 8021), has officially entered service.

The mini hydrographic survey vessel was formally handed over to the RNLN by the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) on 21 November.

Hydrograaf was designed and built by Damen Shipyards Den Helder (DSDH) under a contract awarded by the DMO in 2019. Laid down in February 2020 and launched in January 2021, the vessel was delivered to the DMO in May 2021 following the successful completion of sea-acceptance trials.

A spokesperson told Janes the planning schedule for the delivery of the boat to the navy to start operations has been impacted by a range of factors, including delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, time needed for crew training, additional seaworthiness certification activities, and the supply of documentation and spare parts by Damen.

Hydrograaf


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ZEUS scopes combat system retrofit for DDG 1000 destroyers

by Richard Scott

USS Zumwalt arrives in Yokosuka, Japan, in September 2022. The ZEUS programme is considering opportunities to improve supportability and interoperability of the DDG 1000 destroyers by replacing unique components and systems with analogous systems common with other USN surface combatants. (US Navy)

Plans are being developed by the US Navy (USN) that would see key parts of the combat suite equipping the three DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers swapped out for command and sensor systems common to other US surface combatants.

The concept – dubbed the Zumwalt Enterprise Upgrade Solution (ZEUS) – is considering replacing a number of mission system components, including the ships' combat system software and undersea warfare suite. A sources sought notice was released by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) on 17 November, just days after first-of-class USS Zumwalt completed its maiden three-month deployment to the Western Pacific.

The three DDG 1000 destroyers – USS Zumwalt , USS Michael Monsoor, and the future USS Lyndon B Johnson


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PA-Ng carrier design matures ahead of definition phase transition

by Richard Scott & Xavier Vavasseur

A helicopter operating spot has been introduced on the starboard quarter. In addition, a maintenance area – occupied by an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye on the model – has been added aft of the island. (Richard Scott/NAVYPIX)

The design of the French Navy's next-generation nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN) is continuing to evolve, with the latest iteration revealing a series of refinements to the ship's flight deck layout and island superstructure.

The Porte-Avions Nouvelle Génération (PA-Ng) programme, intended to replace the French Navy's current CVN Charles de Gaulle from 2038, was given the official go-ahead by President Emmanuel Macron in December 2020. The Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) and industrial prime contractor MO Porte-Avions (a joint venture of Naval Group and Chantiers de l'Atlantique) are undertaking systems/architecture design activity intended to mature the design baseline ahead of a transition into the definition phase in the first half of 2023.


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Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) is set to start building the first Constellation-class guided-mis...

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