The U.S. Navy is expected to choose from among shipbuilding firms, including Austal USA and Fincantieri Marinette Marine, to construct up to 20 FFG(X) next-generation frigates by 2030, AL.com reported Sunday.
Austal's concept for the frigate modifies the littoral combat ship's design to include missile cells for the Vertical Launch System and diesel and propeller-based power systems.
The Navy plans to release a final request for proposals for the guided-missile frigate in the coming months and award a contract next year ahead of the first ship's delivery by 2026.
Craig Perciavalle, president of Austal, said the company has a “very sound strategy“ to build the vessel and that the Navy may issue orders for modified LCS ahead of the service's scheduled delivery date for the new frigates.
Austal expects to deliver its 14th expeditionary fast transport vessel to the Navy in 2022 and its last LCS 38, the future USS Pierre, by 2025.