FincantieriÂ has begun to upgrade its facility used to launch ships at its Marinette Marine businessâ€™ shipyard in Wisconsin as the U.S. Navyâ€™s decision on its future frigate program nears, Defense News reported Wednesday.
Competition for the FFG(X) frigate program is slated to commence in the summer of 2019 once the service completes a series of design assessments with top five proposers.
The Navy intends to procure the first FFG(X) frigate in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the report.
Fincantieriâ€™s upgraded facility would slowly float the ship instead of launching them sideways into the sea.
â€œYou canâ€™t recognize the yard now from what it was a few years ago. But due to the size of FFG(X) and, mainly, due to the added the workload for [multi-mission surface combatants], we needed to improve our capacity,â€ Enrico Bonetti, a senior vice president at Fincantieriâ€™s international business unit, told the publication.
The report noted that two of the proposed ships for the future frigate program â€“ Finantieriâ€™s European Multi-Mission Frigate and Lockheed Martinâ€™s littoral combat ship variant â€“ would be developed at Marinette.