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Gibbs & Cox takes aim at light frigate market with International-class design

A model of the Gibbs & Cox International-class light frigate displayed at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space exposition in April 2024. (Janes/Jeremiah Cushman)

Gibbs & Cox, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, has developed a platform to meet global demand for smaller frigates, William Cowardin Jr, vice-president for global ship design, Gibbs & Cox, told Janes in April during the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2024 global maritime exposition in National Harbor, Maryland. What the company calls the International class began as an internal research and development effort to develop a next-generation hull and test it to determine how big or small it could be and various mission packages that could be integrated, he said.

The design is simpler to construct so that it can be produced by smaller shipyards or yards that have not previously built warships. It employs mature technologies, such as the GE Aerospace LM2500 gas turbine with a basic combined diesel-electric and gas (CODLOG) propulsion architecture, Cowardin Jr said. Gibbs & Cox brings significant experience in working with shipyards, including being able to tailor production packages to meet a yard's specific needs.

It is a sort of follow-on to the US Navy's (USN's) Oliver Hazard Perry class, which Gibbs & Cox designed, that served in the USN for 40 years and remains in service with several countries, Cowardin Jr said. The International class has a displacement of 3,500 tons, slightly less than the 4,000-ton Oliver Hazard Perry class.

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