The U.S. Navy’s Constellation-Class Frigates Pack a Real Punch

Athough the frigates will not be the most advanced ships in the United States Navy’s fleet, they’ll still play an essential role.

The United States Navy began the Constellation-class procurement process in 2020 and would ultimately like to acquire twenty Constellation-class ships.

Rather than a from-scratch design, the Constellation-class ships will be a modification of an existing design. In addition to reducing development costs, the strategy is low-risk and would, in theory, result in a quicker delivery of ships. A low-risk design is particularly important for the Navy, which has suffered recently from several high-profile failures.

The Constellation-class design is derived from a similar Italo-French design, the FREMM (Fregata Europea Multi-Missione) frigate. That ship comes in two variants, one for the French Navy and another similar ship for the Italian Navy.

Generally speaking, the American version is larger, features a redesigned propeller for better acoustics, a more powerful generator, and a modified bow design.

“The Navy has chosen to elongate and widen the hull of its next-generation Constellation-class frigate relative to the [FREMM] parent design, but the officer overseeing its production says the internal layout will largely remain the same,” the Congressional Research Service explained.

“The Italians did a very good job in the design of the internal spaces, and the flow of a lot of those spaces,” Capt. Kevin Smith, program manager for the Constellation-class, told attendees at the Sea Air Space exposition on Monday, August 2. “You could say we bought a bigger house, [but] from a modeling and simulation perspective, it’s exactly the same.”

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