Fincantieri FREMM Frigate: A True Global, Capable and Proven Warship

By Francesco Valente, Fincantieri Marine Group's President & CEO
A few days have passed since the last stop of FREMM Alpino in Boston, and the frigate is now on her way to Italy after two months in which the Italian Navy showcased the features and capabilities of the FREMM design to the many people that had the chance to visit her in Norfolk, Baltimore, New York and, of course, Boston.

Fincantieri FREMM Frigate A True Global Capable and Proven WarshipThe ITS Alpino receives an escort into Norfolk from the USS Gonzales. FINCANTIERI picture.

ITS Alpino is the fifth FREMM ship delivered by Fincantieri to the Italian Navy and the fourth in the ASW variant. As such, she is fitted out with the latest high-technology systems. From my perspective, she is the most modern and well proven frigate to be found at sea today. State-of-the-art, lethal, survivable, designed for Sailors, she has the added advantage of being in service now. FREMM provides a superior platform for the U.S. Navy FFG(X) competition and can offer superior combat capabilities to the U.S. Navy in the near term and beyond.

A wholly American team will develop a U.S. variant of the FREMM design, which, in case of award of the construction contract, would be built at Fincantieri shipyards in the U.S., where, over the past 9 years we have developed an ever growing force of highly skilled workers, an extensive supply chain and expertise in building ships to exacting U.S. Navy standards.

Several testaments from the Italian Navy confirmed the reliability and modernity of this frigate and the U.S. Navy had the chance to observe this directly throughout the Alpino’s American tour, via joint exercises and visits on board.

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The ITS Alpino and the USS Constitution in Boston. FINCANTIERI picture.

ITS Alpino's visit to the United States provided a great opportunity to introduce this ship to Navy leadership and warfighters. The design’s inherent adaptability has been demonstrated with several variations in service for the Italian and French Navies and more developed to accommodate the needs of several International Navies. Not only has the design the ability to evolve and grow to serve the U.S. Navy's future needs, but it is also low-risk, representing as it does a highly capable, proven warship which has already been “debugged” and delivered on schedule and at an affordable cost. FREMM class ships are built with global industry best practices in design and construction, delivering superior performance quickly and affordably with a strong focus on providing a high operational availability.

The U.S. Navy is looking for a mature design: 7 FREMM frigates are in service with the Italian Navy and have successfully completed multi-role missions world-wide. The U.S. Navy urgently needs a highly capable warship that can both operate forward confidently on independent patrols as well as integrate seamlessly with larger Strike Group operations when needed. FREMM provides the necessary foundation to quickly deliver the U.S. Navy's next frigate. The FREMM's design will enable it to grow over its service life with the U.S. Navy while keeping upgrade costs low.

The units of the FREMM class have also been chosen in Australia for the final stage of the SEA5000 tender to acquire 9 Anti-Submarine Warfare Frigates for the Royal Australian Navy, a further demonstration that FREMM is globally recognized as one of the best designs in the world, the only one at sea today. Fincantieri’s participation in two of the largest naval programs in the world is testament to the superiority of the FREMM platform and to Fincantieri’s global leadership in the design and construction of the most technologically advanced vessels. FREMM is the only ship competing in both the SEA5000 and FFG(X) program that is proven in combat, making it a global, powerful warship. It also means potentially better interoperability between the Allied navies. Finally, FREMM is acknowledged as the leading ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) frigate today and is actively engaged in conflict situations.

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Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard. FINCANTIERI picture.

In summary, this ship is a technical marvel and a no-risk design, ready to be built from day one. Every FREMM so far was delivered on budget and on time by Fincantieri. We have proven to be a reliable and trusted partner, not just for Italy, but also for the United States, where we already employ more than 2,000 people. We are fully committed to America, where we have created hundreds of jobs in the MidWest, developed a supply chain that spans across the United States and invested almost USD260M; today our Wisconsin and Michigan workforce is active building the U.S. Navy LCS Freedom program, as well as ships for a number of domestic commercial and government customers.

We at Fincantieri are looking forward to the opportunity to engage further with our customers worldwide to explore the outstanding features of the FREMM design.