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Construction for guided-missile frigate Constellation set to begin

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.

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

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

He added, β€œWe are trying to gain as much design maturity as possible before starting construction because it is important to our customer in terms of efficiencies and risk. We've invested USD300 million to build two frigates each year, so we are excited to get started this summer on Constellation, and then on Congress [FFG 63] and the recently awarded Chesapeake [FFG 64] shortly thereafter.”

The USN on 16 June exercised its option to acquire Chesapeake, the second option for the Constellation-class frigate programme, the service confirmed.

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