A Congressional Research Service report says the U.S. Navy intends to buy the first guided-missile frigate in fiscal year 2020 but does not have enough time to produce a “clean-sheet design” for the proposed FFG(X) program, USNI News reported Wednesday.
The service intends to procure a total of 20 ships under the FFG(X) program with a plan to buy the second frigate in FY 2021 and the remaining ships at an annual rate of two vessels from FY 2022 through FY 2030.
The Navy also requested $143.5 million in fiscal 2018 research and development funds for the FFG(X) program and plans to develop the frigate using the “parent-design approach” or a modified version of a frigate based on an existing U.S. or an international ship design.
The military branch also plans to select a single shipbuilder to build the frigates through a full-and-open competition, according to the Nov. 9 report.
The report also noted that there are potential congressional oversight issues over the FFG(X) program and those include the Navy’s acquisition strategy, decision on whether to reject, pass or modify the service’s FY 2018 budget request and the program’s potential implications for the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
The CRS report also cited the initiative’s potential implications for the capability of the service’s destroyers and cruisers and the Navy’s identification of mission requirements and capability gaps as other oversight issues.