Beyond LCS: Navy Looks To Foreign Frigates, National Security Cutter « Breaking Defense
[UPDATED with Sec. Stackley comments] WASHINGTON: The Navy is seriously considering derivatives of foreign designs and the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter for its new frigate, after three years pursuing an upgraded version of its current Littoral Combat Ship. The shift has shaken up the industry, panicking some players, while others quietly reposition:
- Wisconsin’s Marinette Marine, which currently builds the 3,500-ton Freedom variant of the LCS, may instead offer an Americanized version of the FREMM, a 6,000 to 6,700-ton frigate built for the French and Italian navies by Marinette’s parent company, Fincantieri. If so, Marinette would probably part ways with its current prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, and contract directly with the Navy.
- Maine’s Bath Iron Works (owned by General Dynamics) will probably revive a previous partnership with Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, whose 5,900-ton F-100 family has the same Aegis radar and air defense system as American destroyers. That makes it the most sophisticated but also probably the most expensive contender, unless they deliberately downsize the radar to cut cost.
- Mississippi’s Ingalls — whose parent company, HII, also owns Virginia’s massive Newport News — is dusting off proposals to militarize itsLegend-class Coast Guard National Security Cutter as a 4,675-ton Patrol Frigate, the smallest and likely the cheapest competitor. Offering the only alternative to LCS that’s invented in America, Ingalls has a definite edge.
- Alabama’s Au....