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Navy evaluates sensors, design and weaponry for new frigate

Lockheed Martin received a $15 million conceptual design contract from the U.S. Navy to mature his Frigate design.

(Lockheed Martin)

The Navy is now strengthening and extension of the conceptual design deals with shipbuilders charged with the refinement of the structures and the presentation of options for a new Navy multi-mission Guided Missile Frigate – building ready for the open warfare on the oceans of the world by the middle of 2020.

Marine provides the Frigate, FFG(X), are capable of enemy targets from great distances, the fire of the next generation of precision weapons, the use of new networks and ISR technologies, working unmanned aerial systems and succeed against technically advanced enemies in the open or “blue” water fight, according to the service instructions.

Earlier this year, Naval Sea Systems Command chose five shipbuilders to advance designs and technologies for the ship, awarding development deals to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Austal usa, Huntington Ingalls, Marinette Marine Corporation and Lockheed Martin.

The service is now changed to these existing agreements, first announced in February, to enable the shipbuilders to continue their conceptual design of the work and the “adult of their proposed design of vessels to meet the FFG(X) Specification of the System,” according to the deal changes.

The Navy expects the new weapons and sensors we will be better able to destroy the ship swarming small boat attacks, support carrier strike groups, conduct dis-aggregate activities, attacks enemies with an over-the-horizon missile and go in advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare, service instructions give.

“This Conceptual Design awards will reduce the FFG(X) risks by enabling the industry to mature their designs in order to meet the approved FFG(X) power requirements. The Navy has not changed its FFG(X) power requirements,” Alan Baribeau, spokesman for Naval Sea Service Command, told the Warrior Maven.

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The Navy hopes to accelerate the development for the award of a production contract in 2020, and ultimately to deploy the new ship in the early to mid-2020. For this reason, the tenderers were required to submit designs that are “demonstrated at sea” and is already associated with a shipyard for a quick production, according to the previous service request.

“The Conceptual Design work will establish the final specifications that will be used for the Detail Design and Construction Request for Proposals which deliver the power required for the FFG(X),” the Navy contract announcement said.

Service developers seem to be a strong emphasis sensor networks, integration of weapons and focus on technology when it comes to this next phase of development.

“The FFG(X) is small surface combatant will extend blue force sensor and weapons influence more information to the total fleet tactical picture, while challenging adversary Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Tracking (ISR&T) efforts,” Naval Sea Systems Command FFG(X) documents stated.

The “blue force sensor” language is explained by the Marine developers as an integral part of the Navy is Divided Maritime Operations Concept, as is evident from its name, seeks to enable a more distributed and network fleet suitable for dis-aggregate activities as needed.

Also, by extension, a greater range of sensors to enemy attackers are now equipped with long-range precision strike weapons and activate command and control over vast distances of open water, and coastal patrol areas.

The Navy vision for the ship, also gives this, and says that the “FFG(X) will be able to support the creation of a local sensor network using passive sensors on board, started the aircraft and increased/tethered systems and unmanned aerial vehicles to gather information and then act as a gateway to the fleet tactical grid with resilient communication systems and networks.”

Along these lines, the Navy, the FFG(X) (Request for Proposal) identifies a need for a net-sensor technology called Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC).

CEC is an integral aspect of the most important emerging ship-defense techniques, focusing on the “netting” sensors and radar technologies to better identify and destroy approaching threats such as anti-ship missiles, drones and hostile aircraft.

“The CEC is a sensor netting system that significantly improves battle force anti-air warfare capability by extracting and distributing sensor-derived information, in such a way that the extension of this data is available to all participating CEC units,” a Raytheon statement said.

The current analysis is no longer limited to the idea of loosely basing the “hull design” on the LCS, as was previously the case, Navy officials say.

Designs for the vessel is no longer enough to make the eyes a more “survival” variant of LCS. Previous FFG(X) demands analyses that are carried out by a Navy Frigate Requirements Evaluation Team examined the feasibility of making the ship even more deadly and survivable than what previous plans had called for, Navy officials said.

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The existing plans for the Frigate to have considered as “space armor” configurations, a method of segmenting and strengthening of the ship’s armor in certain segments, to enable the ship to continue operations in the event that an area is damaged by an enemy attack. The discussions for the Frigate technologies are included in the plans for a MH-60R helicopter, Fire Scout drone and ship defense technologies such as SeaRAM.

The Navy is already planning for the new Frigate to be integrated with anti-submarine, surface warfare technologies including sonar, an over-the-horizon missile and the surface-to-surface weapons, including a 30mm cannon, and the poet-in missiles such as the HELLFIRE. An over-the-horizon missile chosen by the Navy for the LCS is the Naval Strike Missile by Kongsberg-Raytheon.

Navy plans for the FFG(X) also call for advanced electronic warfare tech, together with both variable depth and lightweight sonar systems.

The new ship may also have seven of the 11-meter Rigid Inflatable Boats for short combat or expeditionary missions, such as visit, search, and on board of other ships.

In addition, Marine developers explain that the ship will be configured in what is called a “modular” fashion, which means that it will be built to accept and integrate new technologies and weapons. It seems realistic that a new, more survivable Frigate could be designed with additional capacity for on-board electrical power, such that it is suitable for a stronger laser weapons as soon as they are available.

The Navy is Divided Maritime Operations Concept builds on the Navy’s much-discussed “distributed lethality” strategy. This strategic approach, in development for several years, emphasizes the need to more fully arm the fleet with offensive and defensive weapons and distribute forces as needed to respond to rapidly emerging near-peer threats.

of the reason is to go back in the direction of open or “blue water” combat capability against near peer competitors emphasized during the Cold War. While the strategic and tactical ability never disappeared, it was stressed less during the last 10 years of the earth wars in which the Navy is focused on combating terrorism, the fight against piracy and things such as Visit Board Search and Seizure. These missions are of course still important, but the Navy wants to significantly increase its offensive “lethality” to discourage or effective against high-tech opponents.

Having longer-range or over-the-horizon, ship, and air-launched weapons is also very relevant for the “distributed” part of the strategy that requires the fleet to have, an ability to distribute as needed. Having a ability to spread out and conduct dis-aggregate activities enables Navy forces less vulnerable to enemy firepower. At the same time, have a long-range precision weapons will enable the Navy to keep potential enemies or threaten to attack if necessary, while preserving safer stand-off distance of incoming enemy fire.

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