The Navy’s program manager for the new FFG(X) future frigate program said the service expects the follow-on units to cost close to $800 million.

“We started closer to the $950 [number], we are trending very close to the 800 [number] now. So we have taken some very significant costs out of the average follow-on units,” Regan Campbell, FFG(X) program manager, said at the annual Surface Navy Association Symposium on Thursday.

The future USS Sioux City (LCS-11) finishing acceptance trials in Lake Michigan in May 2018. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Campbell declined to provide a cost value for the lead ship, but she noted it will be reflected in the president’s upcoming FY 2020 budget request “so you will see that shortly.”

At last year’s symposium, Rear Adm. John Neagley, Program Executive Officer for Unmanned and Small Combatants, said while the follow-on frigate units would have a maximum cost of $950 million, the Navy’s objective was around $800 million (Defense Daily, Jan. 16, 2018).

Campbell noted about one-third of the frigate’s cost will be government-furnished equipment (GFE).

When asked if the one-third GFE value was derived from the $800 million or $950 million cost estimate, Campbell said it was about halfway between the two but the upcoming FY 2020 budget request will have a more precise number.

The lower figure per ship is partially due to cost reduction candidates the Navy looked at, like commonality of systems across naval platforms, Campbell said.

“We also have taken a very hard look at our GFE systems to make sure we understand those costs. We’re taking full advantage of having common systems with other ships in the Navy.”

“Things like, there are ways to utilize block buy on those systems, are we getting the proper learning curve on those systems, things like that,” she continued.

Campbell also disclosed the Navy expects to release the FFG(X) draft request for proposals (RFP) in the spring “and I would trend towards earlier spring than late spring.”