Austal USA, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Fincantieri Marine and Huntington Ingalls were each awarded approximately $15 million for conceptual design of the Guided-missile Frigate (FFG(X)) project.
The US Navy will evaluate the work of the five companies over the next 16 months before a final request for proposal in 2019 and a contract award in 2020, a US DoD contract announcement said.
A total of seven US, European and Australian firms are understood to have submitted initial bids. The two which have been left out were not named.
“The conceptual design effort will inform the final specifications that will be used for the detail design and construction request for proposal that will deliver the required capability for FFG(X). The conceptual design phase will reduce cost, schedule, and performance risk for the follow-on detail design and construction contract,” the announcement said.
“The contracts based on these requirements will facilitate maturing multiple designs during the 16 months of the conceptual design phase, and will allow the Navy to better understand the cost and capability drivers across the various design options. Furthermore, this will inform the final specifications for a full and open competition with a single source award in FY20 for Detail Design and Construction (DD&C) of the FFG(X), the announcement added.
Each design the Navy selected was based on a “mature” parent design that is already in production for the U.S. or foreign navies and that could incorporate a laundry list of systems the Navy will require for the FFG(X). Foreign designs required a partnership with a U.S. shipyard for construction. The Navy expects to pay anywhere from $800 to $950 million per hull for the next-generation frigate, further reporting by USNI News said.