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Navy League 2023: Frigate programme ramps up as US Navy works on future ship missile plans

The USN is working on plans to increase missile capabilities of the new Constellation-class guided-missile frigates. (US Navy)

The US Navy (USN) plans to start construction soon on the second Constellation-class guided-missile frigate, Congress (FFG 63), and has plans to award a contract for the fourth ship of the class later in 2023, according to Captain Kevin Smith, USN Constellation programme manager.

The USN is also working with Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to develop a plan for outfitting the frigates with Standard Missile (SM)-6 and Tomahawk missiles, Capt Smith said during a programme update on 4 April at the annual Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2023 conference held in National Harbor, Maryland.

Any vessel modifications needed to incorporate these missiles on the frigates will not be included now on the lead ship, Capt Smith said. β€œIt was made clear to me not to change from the baseline,” he added.

The navy does not want to cause any disruptions to lead ship Constellation's (FFG 62's) construction and delivery.

β€œWe're talking about the second ship, after IOC [initial operational capability],” he added.

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