Fincantieri Lays Keel of US Navy’s Lead Constellation Frigate

Fincantieri Marinette Marine has laid the keel of the US Navy’s first Constellation-class guided-missile frigate (FFG 62) in Wisconsin.

The event formally started the construction of the lead vessel, which, according to the navy, is designed to sail in multiple domains and play a critical role in national security.

“Laying the keel of the future USS Constellation marks a pivotal moment in not only the life of the ship, but for the whole class to follow,” Constellation Frigate Program Manager Capt. Andy Gold remarked during the ceremony.

“Much as the original six frigates relied on a strong oak keel to perform their mission, so too does FFG-62’s keel signify a foundation of advanced capabilities, versatility and strength, all necessary to provide maritime superiority in an era of evolving threats.”

Fincantieri received the contract to build the FFG 62 in 2020. Two years later, the company started associated works for the ship’s completion following an infrastructure upgrade to its Wisconsin facilities.

Last year, the US Navy unveiled digital designing capabilities supporting the bridge (pilot house) construction of the future fleet.

The FFG 62’s construction is expected to be finalized by fiscal year 2029.

The Constellation-Class Frigate

The US Navy plans to leverage the Constellation for surface, anti-submarine, and electromagnetic maneuver warfare.

Each ship in the class measures 151 meters (496 feet), has a beam of 5.5 meters (18 feet), and can accommodate up to 200 personnel.

It is powered with combined diesel-electric propulsion for a maximum speed of 26 knots (48 kilometers/30 miles per hour) and a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 kilometers/ 6,900 miles).

Constellation-class frigate
US Navy Constellation-class frigate to be built by American shipbuilding firm Fincantieri Marinette Marine. Photo: US Navy

A Constellation vessel is armed with cruise, anti-ship, guided, and rolling airframe missiles, machine guns, automatic naval guns, vertical launch systems, surveillance radar, and an electronic warfare suite.

The ship has a hangar for an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter and an MQ-8C Fire Scout aerial drone, as well as spaces for rigid hull inflatable boats.

In 2021, Fincantieri partnered with Lockheed Martin to design the Constellation warships’ combat management systems.

“The Constellation-Class Guided-Missile Frigate (FFG 62) represents the Navy’s next-generation small surface combatant,” the US Navy wrote on the frigate’s fact sheet.

“This ship class will be an agile, multi-mission warship capable of operations in both blue-water and littoral environments, providing increased combat-credible forward presence that provides a military advantage at sea.”

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