Navy awards Fincantieri $1B for fifth and sixth Constellation-class frigates

By Nick Wilson / May 24, 2024 at 10:53 AM

The Navy has awarded shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine a $1 billion contract option to build the fifth and sixth vessels in the Constellation-class frigate program, according to a Pentagon announcement.

The company began construction of the lead ship in this new class of small surface combatants in 2022 with a fiscal year 2026 delivery target. However, the program is facing schedule challenges driven by design maturity issues and labor shortages at the shipyard.

A recent Navy evaluation of shipbuilding programs found that the lead vessel is running about three years behind schedule.

The Navy’s latest budget request includes an additional $1.2 billion to procure another frigate in FY-25, but House authorizers have moved to eliminate this funding in their version of the defense policy bill.

Given spending constraints imposed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, zeroing out frigate funding frees up money that lawmakers can channel into other areas of the budget, including $1 billion to support the purchase of a second Virginia-class submarine.

But yesterday, seapower and projection forces subcommittee Ranking Member Joe Courtney (D-CT) told reporters the frigate funding reduction was driven by program issues rather than spending constraints and indicated a temporary procurement pause is not expected to seriously impact the program.