Fincantieri to build the 2nd Constellation-class frigate, USS Congress (FFG 63)

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The U.S. Navy awarded a contract option to Fincantieri Marinette Marine to build its second Constellation Class Guided Missile Frigate.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced that the Navy is exercising an approx. 555 million dollars option to have Fincantieri U.S. subsidiary, Marinette Marine (FMM) build the second Constellation-class guided-missile frigate, Fincantieri announced.

FMM is currently working on the detailed design phase of building the first-in-class USS Constellation. Construction is planned to start at the end of this year with the frigate expected to be delivered in 2026.

“The Navy Program Office is pleased to award the option for the USS Congress (FFG 63) to our industry partner Fincantieri Marinette Marine,” said Capt. Kevin Smith, major program manager for Constellation Class Frigate (PMS 515). “As the second ship of the Constellation Class Frigate Program, the USS Congress will provide a highly capable, next-generation surface combatant that our Navy and Nation need.”

The “Constellation” program was awarded to FMM in 2020, through a contract for the first-in-class frigate and the options for further 9 ships, as well as post-delivery availability support and crew training, with a cumulative value for Fincantieri amounting to 5.5 billion dollars. The U.S. Navy plans to build 10 additional vessels as part of the program, for a total of 20.

Fincantieri succeeded in such a high-profile tender, distinguishing itself among several major U.S. shipyards thanks to a project considered as the most advanced and cutting-edge. The Group’s proposal is based on the FREMM frigate platform, globally recognized as the most technologically advanced, and the backbone of a 10-unit program for the Italian Navy which Fincantieri is currently completing.

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An artist rendering of the U.S. Navy Constellation Class guided-missile frigate FFG 62 (Image: Wikipedia)

The future USS Congress (FFG 63) will be built at FMM’s shipyard in Marinette, Wisc. where preparations are being made to begin construction on lead ship USS Constellation (FFG 62). Like its sister ship, FFG 63 will have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare, and information operations. Shipboard systems will include an Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) radar, Baseline Ten (BL10) AEGIS Combat System, a Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS), communications systems, MK 110 57mm Gun Weapon System (GWS) and added capability in the Electronic Warfare/Information Operations area with design flexibility for future growth.

The Constellation Class Frigate will be an important part of the Navy’s future Fleet. It represents the evolution of the Navy’s small surface combatant force with increased lethality, survivability, and improved capability to support the National Defense Strategy across the full range of military operations. It will help conduct distributed maritime operations more effectively and improve the Navy’s ability to fight both in contested blue-water and littoral environments.

FMM is the spearhead of Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG), which controls two other shipyards also located in the Great Lakes (Wisconsin) – Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and Fincantieri Ace Marine. The company serves commercial and government customers in the US, including the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. In addition to the Littoral Combat Ships program, FMM is building 4 Multi-Mission Surface Combatants (MMSC) to be delivered to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as part of the US Foreign Military Sales program.

Check out Naval Library App to find out the specifications of Constellation-class guided-missile frigates.

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