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US Navy notes progress on Constellation frigate, hypersonics

The US Navy (USN) is on track to deliver its new Constellation-class FFG 62 guided-missile frigate and surface-ship hypersonic-missile capability by the middle part of this decade, according to Admiral Michael Gilday, chief of naval operations (CNO).

“FFG 62 is in a really good place,” Adm Gilday said on 13 May at the virtual McAleese and Associates FY2022 Defense Programs conference. “We're going to start bending metal at the end of the year on that hull.”

The CNO added, “That workforce understands how critically important the on-time delivery of that ship is.”

Likening the ship programme to a successful commercial space-development venture, Adm Gilday noted, “Success begets success. That has to be our SpaceX: FFG 62. We have to get that right.”

The USN says the initial ship, Constellation , is due for delivery in 2026.

A year before that, the USN hopes to go to sea with its first operational hypersonic weapons on the Zumwalt-class guided-missile DDG 1000 destroyers.

“It's our goal to get hypersonics on the Zumwalts by 2025,” he said, adding that that is when the USN hopes to get initial operational capability (IOC) for the weapons.

“We believe that that's a platform that we can field hypersonics on,” he said, pointing out the US Army plans to field its hypersonic weapons in 2023.

“That's an area where the services are working really closely together,” he said. “Industry's been a huge help as well. That's going to be a good news story for the country.”

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