“Navy Frigate (FFG[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress,” Updated June 8, 2020, CRS

The Congressional Research Service has updated their analysis of the FFG(X) program. You can view the 38 page pdf here.

The FFG(X) equipment lists, which you might be better able to see here constitutes a list of possibilities for upgrades to the Polar Security Cutters, Coast Guard National Security Cutters, and Offshore Patrol Cutters.


12 thoughts on ““Navy Frigate (FFG[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress,” Updated June 8, 2020, CRS

  1. Seems like they are trying to keep much of the equipment in common between FFGX, NSC, LCS and the OPC. Not 100% of it, but much of it.

    • What would be interesting to know is if the FFGX will have eight or sixteen Naval Strike Missile (NSM) launchers amidships.

      If sixteen, that would give the FFGXs the 48 launch cells that the public and naval experts so wanted. If eight, then that is 40 launch cells. An additional eight freed VLS cells from Anti-ship missile duty can then house LRASM, ESSM, ASROC, Tomahawk, and Standard missiles. Yes, it IS a “Big Deal” to add sixteen NSMs to separate the FFGX from the LCS, NSC, and OPC and give it the punch that it really needs. Many in the public wanted 48 VLS cells and the Navy decided on 32 VLS. The FREMM model shows eight NSM launchers, but the graphic shows sixteen NSMs, so it is unclear what the USN intends.

      Having 24 NSM launchers would be even more incredible and it appears the FREMM decks can accommodate 24 NSM launchers for 56 launch cells.

      • Believe 16 NSM is the current plan. I am starting to see a lot of ships with 16 ASCM launchers, but most of them are not US or European. India, Vietnam, Russia.

      • Adding additional NSM launchers does not free up VLS cells. The US Navy fields no VLS capable ASCM. The 32 VLS cells still must accommodate the same mix of Tomahawk, Standard series missiles, ESSMs and ASROC.
        8, 16, 24 ASCM. Doesn’t matter. If anything, the additional NSM launchers only start to make up for the lost capability from when the Navy ceased fielding Harpoon launchers on new Arleigh Burke-class destroyers two decades ago. That would be the last 39 (of 67) ships commissioned.

        And, please don’t “LRASM” me. Vertical launch LRASM is not a current US Navy program. In fact Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW) Increment 2, the program under which Vert-LRASM would fall, was defunded in 2018.
        The US Navy is currently reevaluating future development programs for both the Next Generation Land Attack Weapon (NGLAW) and OASuW. Personally, I would not expect the Navy to waste another dollar on fielding a new class of heavy subsonic anti-ship missiles.

      • So, I was completely correct.
        1. The Block Va is not fielded. Initial operating capability is not expected until 2023.
        2. It is not a “new class of heavy ASCM” It’s an existing system being modified to engage new target sets. Plus, there were already anti-ship Tomahawks. They were retired two and a half decades ago.
        3. Block IV Tomahawks are “Tactical Tomahawks”

  2. It would have an incredible impact if the new frigates had 40 VLS instead of only 32. 8 extra x 20 ships = 160 more missiles. That’s as many missiles as five extra frigates at the current configuration. Or, it’s like making up for one lost retiring SSGN.
    It would also help reduce the cost per vertical missile on the frigate. A ship costing half a DDG ought to pack half the missiles. Instead, the current plan puts only 1/3 as many onboard. Adding 8 more VLS would help mitigate that problem.

    • Much as I think more VLS are always a good idea, it is only fair to point out the design includes launchers for 16 Naval Strike Missiles. None of the DDGs have more than eight ASCM specific launchers, so the DDGs have at most 88 launch tubes while the FFG(X) has 48.

      • The U.S. Navy could install the horizontal Adaptive Deck Launch System (ADLS) of four MK 41 VLSs in an installment and then mount that on top of each other (8 VLS facing port and starboard) for about 16 more VLSs for 48 VLS total per FFGX in place of the 16 NSM launchers amidships. That would give the FFGX access to the entire arsenal of VLS missiles compared to NSM ASCMs.

        ADLS doesn’t penetrate the hull or deck and just sits on top of it.

  3. Burkes flight 1 have 90 vls +8 Ashm the others have 96 vls no tubes, but there is a lot of empty space in the hangars roof i wont be surpriced if you can install at least 16 Ashm there

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