US Navy looking to enhance Frigate armament, hull numbers

Austal has already introduced their Frigate design capable of fielding 16 over-the-horizon missiles,and a 16-cell vertical launch system. Photo. Austal

The U.S. Navy wants to increase the anti-air warfare capabilities of the future frigate and is looking at having more than the current two hull designs for consideration, according to several media reports.

The new plans would break away from previous ones that included simply up-gunning and up-sizing the two littoral combat ship designs currently being inducted into the navy.

A newly established frigate requirements evaluation team will examine current plans for a frigatized LCS with added anti-surface and anti-submarine capabilities, and consider how to include anti-air firepower into the designs.

In addition to improved armament, the U.S. Navy will be evaluating a greater number of hull designs, in addition to the current Lockheed Martin and Austal designs used for littoral combat ships.

The plans were first reported by Defense News who wrote that a draft document pointed to plans of doubling the number of Block 2 Evolved Seasparrow Missiles from eight to 16, or incorporate a Mark 41 vertical launch system with at least eight Standard Missile-2s.

“We see an opportunity to increase our AAW (anti-air warfare) capability, which falls under the category of lethality, within a reasonable trade space for our future frigate,” Defense News quoted secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley as saying.

Both Austal and Lockheed Martin, the two companies previously asked to provide designs for the future frigate, have worked out their designs around the frigatized LCS versions and it now remains to be seen how they will adapt to the revised requirements.

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