Report to Congress on U.S. Navy Next-generation Frigate (FFG(X)) Program
April 17, 2018 7:34 AM
The following is the April 6, 2017 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Frigate (FFG(X)) Program: Background and Issues for Congress.
From the Report
The Navy in 2017 initiated a new program, called the FFG(X) program, to build a class of 20
guided-missile frigates (FFGs). The Navy wants to procure the first FFG(X) in FY2020, the
second in FY2021, and the remaining 18 at a rate of two per year in FY2022-FY2030. The
Navy’s proposed FY2019 budget requests $134.8 million in research and development funding
for the program.
Although the Navy has not yet determined the design of the FFG(X), given the capabilities that
the Navy’s wants the FFG(X) to have, the ship will likely be larger in terms of displacement,
more heavily armed, and more expensive to procure than the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships
(LCSs). The Navy envisages developing no new technologies or systems for the FFG(X)—the
ship is to use systems and technologies that already exist or are already being developed for use
in other programs.
The Navy’s desire to procure the first FFG(X) in FY2020 does not allow enough time to develop
a completely new design (i.e., a clean-sheet design) for the FFG(X). Consequently, the Navy
intends to build the FFG(X) to a modified version of an existing ship design—an approach called
the parent-design approach. The parent design could be a U.S. ship design or a foreign ship
design. The Navy intends to conduct a full and open competition to select the builder of the
FFG(X). Consistent with U.S. law, the ship is to be built in a U.S. shipyard, even if it is based on
a foreign design. Multiple industry teams are reportedly competing for the program. Given the
currently envisaged procurement rate of two ships per year, the Navy envisages using a single
builder to build the ships. . . .