The RFI lays out a ship that opens the door to almost any existing design that can be adapted to the Navy’s needs, which extends beyond just the two LCS hull forms being built by Lockheed Martin and Austal USA.
The Navy is looking to avoid “sticker shock,” said Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, the service’s director of surface warfare, said in a Monday telephone interview, and engage with ship builders about what trade-offs the Navy would have to make to get the most capability from the ship.
“This is an effort to get the design right up front,” Boxall said. “We’re looking to have a dialogue with industry to get the most capability for the best price.”
Boxall did not say how much the U.S. Navy is willing to spend but said the RFI was intended to draw out what the U.S. Navy could get for its shipbuilding dollar.
- Kill surface ships over the horizon
- Detect enemy submarines
- Defend convoy ships
- Employ active and passive electronic warfare systems
- Defend against swarming small boat attacks
- A fixed, phased-array radar
- An “AEGIS-derivative” combat system that uses a common source library
- The ability to launch a single MH-60R Seahawk helicopter
- Four canister launched over-the-horizon weapons
- MQ-8C Firescout
The U.S. Navy intends to award the contract for the first FFG(X) in 2020. It will buy one in 2020 and one in 2021, followed by two each year after that. The U.S. Navy’s requirement is for 52 small-surface combatants, the bulk of which will be LCS.
You can read the entire RFI here.
This story is developing. Check back later for more coverage, including a Q&A with Rear Adm. Boxall on the new design.