CNO info paper warns reactivating Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates too costly

By Lee Hudson / November 14, 2017 at 11:53 AM

Four months after announcing the Navy would conduct a cost-benefit analysis on reactivating the 10 remaining Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates to increase the service's fleet size, a chief of naval operations information paper reveals it is too expensive.

The minimum cost for 10 ships across a 10-year service life would exceed $4.32 billion, according to the CNO. Defense News first reported the paper's findings.

The Navy "should instead prioritize resources toward modernization of the existing fleet, enhanced training, and acquisition of a more capable FFG(X)," the Oct. 6 paper reads.

The Perry-class frigates were decommissioned between 1994 and 2015. Most were sold to foreign navies, sunk as training targets or dismantled. The 10 ships that are available would only increase the Navy's fleet size by 3.6 percent, according to the information paper.

"FFG-7 ships, as currently configured, do not meet these required capabilities since nearly every sensor and weapon is obsolete," the paper reads. "Even minor upgrades to support 'low end' missions (e.g. counter-narcotics) are of limited utility as these missions typically receive lower priority for force sourcing."

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told reporters in September he had recently spoken with a company that worked on the Perry-class vessels for Taiwan and quoted a price of $35,000 per ship. Though the quote does not include combat systems, the ship would be navigation- and radar-ready, Spencer said.

Spencer envisioned the frigates would conduct drug interdiction missions. "That's a pretty inexpensive, proven platform right there," he said. "Can you arm it up with Tomahawks and everything? No, but you can put it in a . . . light-threat area."