ARLINGTON, Va. — The secretary of the Navy is bullish on the future Constellation-class guided-missile frigate (FFG) and said it may be a possible candidate for sale to the nation’s allied and partner navies.
In an Oct. 28 webinar discussion with retired Rear Adm. Frank Thorp IV, president and CEO of the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., Navy Secretary Kenneth J. Braithwaite sees the potential for service in many nations’ navies for the FFG, liking the potential of sales to the large number of customers for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
“Why can’t we create a Joint Strike Frigate?” Braithwaite mused. “Why can’t we take that same platform and offer it to our allies and partners around the world? After all, it is an amalgamation of an Italian-U.S. joint effort to build that ship in a U.S. shipyard. It’s already got an international footprint.”
Thorp pointed out a comment Oct. 26 from National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien at the Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin, where the Constellation, will be built, that building two frigates would not be enough.
“We’re going to need two, three, four frigates built a year to get to the numbers of where we want to be,” O’Brien told employees during a visit to the shipyard, reported Paul McCleary in the Breaking Defense website. “This yard has the capability to build two or three of them itself.”
“It’s great to have that kind of support in the White House and I’d love to see us build [more],” Braithwaite said. “I’m a huge fan of that ship. It is an incredibly capable vessel. … I spent a lot of time picking the name for that ship to make it fit into the culture piece of who we are and what we are as the United States Navy.
Braithwaite noted that the Navy’s FFG program of record calls for 20 to be built but predicted that “we’ll build more than 20 of those.”
He also noted that many navies operate ex-U.S. Navy Knox- and Perry-class frigates, which could be replaced by new frigates.