May 1 (UPI) -- The Navy this week awarded Marinette Marine Corp. with a $795.1 million contract this week for construction of up to 10 Guided Missile Frigatesek.
According to the Navy, the Guided Missile Frigate, or FFG(X), is intended to be the next generation of small surface combatants. The vessels will have multi-mission capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare and information operations.
The new ships will also include Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar, Baseline Ten AEGIS Combat System, a Mk 41 Vertical Launch System, communication systems and MK 57 Gun Weapon System countermeasures.
"The Navy's Guided-Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) will be an important part of our future fleet," Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said in a statement. "FFG(X) is the evolution of the Navy's Small Surface Combatant with increased lethality, survivability, and improved capability to support the National Defense Strategy across the full range of military operations."
"It will no doubt help us conduct distributed maritime operations more effectively, and improve our ability to fight both in contested blue-water and littoral environments," he added.
The acquisition process for the Guided Missile Frigate began in 2017, with the Navy issuing a final request for proposals for the first 10 ships in June 2019.
In 2018, the Navy awarded five companies $15 million each for development of the next-generation frigate: Huntington Ingalls Industries, Austal USA, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Fincantieri Marine -- of which Marinette Marine is a subsidiary.
According to the contract announcement, 52 percent of work on the deal will be performed at Marinette's worksite in Marinette, Wisc., with other work being carried out at various sites throughout the United States.
If all options are exercised, work will be completed by May 2035.