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Fincantieri Marinette Marine starts construction of frigate Constellation

Construction began on the Constellation-class US Navy guided-missile frigates. (US Navy)

Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) officially started construction on the first US Navy (USN) Constellation-class guided missile frigate, Constellation (FFG 62), on 31 August at the FMM shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin, with the first steel cut on the ship.

The USN awarded FMM the Constellation detail design and construction contract in April 2020. The service approved the start of construction after FMM successfully completed the critical design review in May and the production readiness review in July, Rear Admiral Casey Moton, the programme executive officer for unmanned and small combatants, told reporters during a 29 August briefing at the Pentagon.

FMM had surpassed the 80% detail-design objective the USN wanted before the start of construction, Rear Adm Moton said.

Delivery of the first ship is scheduled for 2026. FMM is also on contract to build Chesapeake (FFG 64) and Congress (FFG 63). All told, the USN plans to build 20 Constellation-class ships.

“We invested more than USD300 million into our Marinette shipyard to build many frigates for the US Navy,” Marco Galbiati, CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group, said in a statement. “We stand ready to deliver the two frigates a year the navy requires.”

While the navy initially had planned to build two frigates annually starting in fiscal year (FY) 2023, the FY 2023 proposed budget called for the service to alternate between an annual buy of one per year and two per year.

Any changes in that acquisition plan will depend on funding and industrial base capacity, Rear Adm Moton added.

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