Navy's FFG-7 Class Frigate Shipbuilding Program and Other Ship Program Issues

Published: Jan 3, 1979. Publicly Released: Jan 3, 1979.

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The FFG-7 Guided Missile Frigate is to become the backbone of the Navy's sea control fleet. The 1973 estimate for a total program of 50 ships was $3.2 billion. By 1978, however, the cost of a 52-ship FFG-7 program was estimated at $10.1 billion because of additional equipment and increased shipbuilding costs. A stern redesign for helicopter landing is planned for ships not already under contract, and the Navy plans to retrofit the changes at a later time for the 26 frigates now under contract; it is suggested, however, that the Navy should incorporate this modification during construction. Cost restraints have led to the selection of a short-range hull-mounted sonar for the FFG-7 and restraints in size and cost of the ship. Two areas of concern are reductions in service life weight margin and the future growth margin. A reduction in size of the ship's crew could result in an inadequate manning level. Since the ship appears to be vulnerable to "cheap kill" and to low level enemy threats, survivability improvements are being evaluated. Issues now being reviewed concerning the Navy's ship acquisition process include: Navy management of change for the FFG-7, the DD-963, and the SSN-688 ship programs; potential for new and innovative shipbuilding techniques; assessment of the Navy's ship procurement process study; and examination of costs.

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