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Report: Navy Seeks to Add Anti-Air Warfare Capability to Future Frigates

The U.S. Navy has started to consider updating the design of its future frigates in an effort to safeguard from aerial threats its Combat Logistics Force ships used to supply ammunition, food, fuel and spare parts to other combat vessels, Defense News reported Monday.

Christopher P. Cavas writes the service branch established a requirements evaluation team to study how to transition the current frigate design – FF – into guided-missile frigate ships, FFG design, in order to integrate the anti-air warfare capability.

The Navy aims to integrate with the FFG frigate a Mark 41 vertical launch platform with over 8 Standard SM-2 missiles or increase by twofold the loadout capacity of Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles Block 2 to 16, according to a draft document obtained by Defense News.

RET also considers the integration with the updated frigate design of an Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar variant that Raytheon currently builds for large-deck amphibious ships and Ford-class aircraft carriers as well as a networking system – Cooperative Engagement Capability – designed to combine weapons and sensors into a single fire control platform.

The study team also aims to provide recommendations for the FFG design by the end of May with a plan to move the acquisition of the first frigate from 2019 to 2020 in order to provide enough time to assess design alternatives and mature the design, the document added.

Sean Stackley, acting Navy secretary, told the publication that the military branch seeks to release the request for proposals for the FFG design before fiscal 2017 ends.

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