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Fincantieri Lands $1B Deal for US Navy’s Fifth, Sixth Constellation Frigates

Fincantieri Marinette Marine has secured a $1.04-billion contract to build two more Constellation-class frigates for the US Navy.

The deal, announced by the US Department of Defense on May 23, highlights the service’s ongoing efforts to modernize its naval fleet amid increasing tensions with China.

The Wisconsin-based shipbuilder will produce the FFG-66 and FFG-67, the fifth and sixth vessels in the class.

Most work for the contract will be undertaken at company facilities in Wisconsin and New Jersey, with an expected completion date of April 2030.

US Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro announced last week that the FFG-66 will be called USS Hamilton in honor of US Coast Guard founder Alexander Hamilton.

“(Hamilton) understood that we, as a maritime nation, needed to establish ourselves from the outset as a maritime power,” he said. “[The new vessel] will sail around the world, representing the freedom and ideals its namesake spent his life advocating for.”

Problematic Program

The contract award to Fincantieri comes despite the shipbuilding firm failing to fulfill its promise of delivering the lead ship in the class by 2026.

The FFG-62 is now slated to be handed over to the navy by December 2027, more than seven years after the production contract was awarded in April 2020.

According to a recent US Navy review, the construction of the first Constellation-class frigate is already 36 months behind schedule.

“Maybe if the Constellation, if that had not been underbid during the previous administration and hadn’t been delayed from the very beginning … we’d be in a better place with regards to the frigate,” Del Toro said.

A spokesperson for Fincantieri recently admitted to USNI News that the program has been challenged by “post award realities,” which he did not elaborate on.

Once delivered, the Constellation-class frigates will support anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, and electronic warfare missions in a littoral environment.

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