The Navy late last week published a draft request for proposals to build 10 of 20 next-generation guided-missile frigates, dubbed FFG(X).
The March 1 Federal Business Opportunities notice follows a Feb. 22 notice stating the service also intends to hold an industry day following the draft RFP's publication to review the vessel's requirements.
Although the competition will be "full and open," the Navy previously issued design maturation contracts to five major shipbuilders. Austal USA, Fincantieri Marinette Marine, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Huntington Ingalls Industries and Lockheed Martin have all received such contracts.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said late last year the service has not ruled out splitting FFG(X) production between multiple shipyards.
"What we want to avoid is a spike," Spencer said at a December Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. "When [those ships] all go through regular maintenance cycles and every one comes due within two or three or four years, it gets very crowded."
Navy acquisition executive Hondo Geurts told Congress last year he anticipates the lead ship's cost will be $1.2 billion. This year at the Surface Navy Association symposium FFG(X) program manager Regan Campbell said the cost of follow-on ships was pushed down from $950 million "closer to" $800 million as a result of industry's cost-saving suggestions. Campbell declined to comment on how those suggestions may have changed the lead ship's cost.
A final RFP is anticipated in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year, and a contract award is expected next year. The current acquisition profile for FFG(X) has the Navy procuring one ship in fiscal year 2020 and FY-21, and then two ships per year throughout the future years defense program.