The first Constellation Class Guided Missile Frigate, a highly capable and survivable multi-mission warship, began construction Aug. 31 at Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin. The start of construction follows a detailed Navy assessment of the maturity of the design and readiness of the shipyard to begin construction through a successful production readiness review (PRR) milestone on July 20.

The future USS Constellation (FFG 62) is the lead ship of the Navy’s newest class of warships.

Constellation Class Frigates are a key component of the recently released Chief of Naval Operations Navigation Plan (NAVPLAN) 2022, which envisions a future hybrid fleet composed of 350 manned ships and approximately 150 unmanned ships.

The Constellation Class Frigate will “be capable of defending the fleet, striking adversary forces in all domains, and expanding interoperability with allies and partners,” according to the NAVPLAN.

“Our team has worked tirelessly with industry partners to develop an innovative acquisition approach to efficiently procure and produce a 21st century frigate. The start of Constellation’s construction marks a key milestone on our path to build and deliver this new capability to the fleet,” said Rear Adm. Casey Moton, Program Executive Officer, Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC).

PEO USC oversees the Constellation Class Frigate program office (PMS 515) charged with the design, development and construction of the Navy’s newest warship class.

The new frigates are designed to operate in both open ocean and littoral environments, as part of a Carrier or Expeditionary Strike Group or a Surface Action Group. The ships will be equipped with proven technologies and systems already in use today, which will accelerate the timeline to get this new capability to the fleet.

“The Frigate program has worked diligently to minimize risks by selecting non-developmental systems and proven program of record equipment to meet our requirements, and by conducting this rigorous PRR,” said Capt. Kevin Smith, PMS 515 Program Manager.

The ships will aid the fleet by executing an array of missions, including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Surface Warfare, Electromagnetic Warfare/Information Operations (EW/IO) and Air Warfare.

“I am proud of the Government acquisition professionals and industry teammates for all their hard work to get the Constellation program to this milestone as we transition from design development to building the ship,” said Smith. “Building a first of a class warship is an exciting moment.”