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Surface Navy 2021: US Navy says land-based FFG 62 test site will lessen risk

The US Congressionally mandated land-based test site for the Constellation-class guided-missile frigate (FFG 62) will help reduce integration and related risks for the ship class, said Captain Kevin Smith, the FFG 62 Programme director, on 12 January, at the virtual Surface Navy Association 2021 National Symposium, which started on 11 January.

β€œIt has the added advantage that if it should come to pass that we ramp up [per-year ship production] sooner rather than later, this could be more risk reduction with that,” Capt Smith said.

According to Capt Smith, the US Navy (USN) started work on the test site in mid–2020 with the intention to start it for testing before delivery of the first ship, scheduled for 2026. Initial Operational Capability, he said, is slated for 2029.

But, he noted, the ship is only now getting started, with critical design review and production readiness review expected during the fourth quarter of 2021.

The Pentagon fiscal year 2020 Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) report, released on 14 January, noted some early concerns about FFG 62 development.

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