Something for the Coast Guard as “Navy Squeezing Costs Out of FFG(X) Program as Requirements Solidify”–USNI

The US Naval Institute News Service has provided an update on the FFG(X) program, based on a Jan. 15, 2019 presentation at the Surface Navy Association Symposium, by Regan Campbell, Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants, which provides both a projected lower unit cost approaching $800M for follow on units (not a lot more than the Coast Guard was paying for its National Security Cutters) and a list of minimal equipment to be included in each ship

There is one particular item on the list of equipment that may be significant for the Coast Guard, “57mm gun (with ALaMO)”. That means the Advanced Low Cost Munition Ordnance” or ALaMO program to provide guided projectiles for the 57mm Mk110 gun is still on track. Apparently ALaMO uses the same guidance system developed for the Hyper-Velocity Round

The FFG(X) will also share, in common with all the NSCs, the Mk160 Gun Fire Control System, and with the later NSCs, the Mk20 Electro-Optic Sensor System (Mods may be different). This means we can expect continued Navy support of these systems over the long-term.

Request for Proposal is to be issued Q4FY2019. Contract award is expected Q4FY2020.

I note there is still no image available for Huntington Ingalls proposal which may be based on the National Security Cutter.

Below is a list of equipment for the FFG(X) found on page three of the presentation. I can not claim to recognize all the acronyms. Interestingly there is space and weight reservation for a 150 kW Laser Weapon.

Guided Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) Capabilities


3x3x3 fixed-face EASR (Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar)
Mk41 VLS (32 cell)
ESSM Blk 2
21 cell RAM launcher (Rolling Airframe Missile)
CEC (Cooperative Engagement Capability)


SLQ-32(V)6 (SEWIP Blk II) w/ HGHS and Specific Emitter
Identification (SEI)
Spectral (Follow on to SSEE Inc F)
AOEW (on airborne asset)
SWAP-C reservation for SLQ-32C(V)7 (SEWIP Blk III Lite)
SWAP-C reservation for 150kw laser


7m RHIB (x2)


57mm gun (with ALaMO)
Mk160 GFCS
Mk20 Mod 1EOSS
OTH fire control system
OTH 2x4 (T)/ 2x8 (Obj)
50 caliber machine guns
iStalker w/3600 coverage

Organic MH-60R (x1)
Organic MQ-8C (x1)
Secure & Traverse Aircraft Handling
Horizon Reference System
Night Vision Device Compatibility

AN/SQS-62 Variable Depth Sonar
or Low Band Hull Array
AN/SLQ-61 Lightweight Tow or
ADC (Torp CM)
Mk41 VLS supports VLA (Vertical Launch ASROC) for allwx stand-off ASW weapon
SVTT – Shipboard Torpedo
Launch (Obj)

Frigate Weapon
System (FWS)
Advanced Cyber

How Much Would it Cost to Add ESSM to NSC?

The US Naval Institute reports the Chilean Navy is planning to upgrade three of their British Built Frigates, with Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) replacing their existing Sea Wolf weapon systems. Since ESSM was planned as a possible upgrade for the National Security Cutter, I thought the information might be of interest.

The US is providing the equipment under a Foreign Military Sales contract valued at $140.1M that will include three sets of Tactical Length Mk41 VLS (vertical launch systems), 33 Evolved Seasparrow Missiles (ESSMs) Six Evolved Seasparrow Telemetry Missiles, “Ten (10) MK25 Quad Pack Canisters; Five (5) ESSM Shipping Containers; Five (5) MK-73 Continuous Wave Illumination Transmitters, One (1) Inertial Missile Initializer Power Supply (IMIPS); spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, technical assistance, installation and integration oversight support, logistics, program management, packaging and transportation.”

These figures include only the additional equipment. They do not include the yard work necessary to prepare the ship for installation and the installation of the equipment. Still I think this constitutes most of the cost of the upgrade of the three ships.

I would note that it is not clear how many VLS cells will be installed on each ship, but they are always installed in groups of eight. If we assumed eight cells on each ship, then each ship could theoretically support 32 missiles since they can be “quad packed,” that is four missiles can be placed in each cell. Chile is buying only 33 “war-shot” missiles and ten quad pack canisters. That is barely more than enough to fully arm one ship with eight cells, so it appears there will be some cells either left empty or filled with other types of weapons, which might include ASROC which also fit the tactical length Mk41 VLS.