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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Keel Laid for US Navy's First Constellation Frigate

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

April 15, 2024

(Photo: Fincantieri Marinette Marine)

(Photo: Fincantieri Marinette Marine)

The U.S. Navy on Friday celebrated the keel laying of the lead ship of the Constellation class of guided-missile frigates, the future USS Constellation (FFG 62), at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, Wis.

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti participated in the ceremony along with Wisconsin governor Tony Evers and Fincantieri Marine Group CEO Marco Galbiati.

Hundreds of FMM shipbuilders gathered with guests inside the shipyard’s massive new climate-controlled Building 34, where large portions of a ship are connected and the vessel is erected.  The building is part of Fincantieri’s recently completed facility $350 million in improvements and new construction.

“This yard is teeming with activity,” said Sec. Del Toro. “Americans…from all walks of life coming together to build warships is a demonstration of our industrial might, showcasing the talents of the skilled workforce that our nation must expand during this critical period in our world's history.”  Del Toro added that “it takes a nation to build a navy, and the collaboration between industry and our Department [of the Navy] that is on display at the shipyard symbolizes the teamwork required to do so.”

Melissa Braithwaite was named the ship’s sponsor. She is the wife of former Navy secretary, Kenneth Braithwaite.

Fincantieri Marinette Marine welder Jean Wagner completed the authentication process by tracing Mrs. Braithwaite’s initials onto the plate. Wagner is the first female FMM welder to earn this responsibility.

“This is truly a great Navy day,” said the top Navy officer, Adm. Lisa Franchetti. “Today, we are laying the keel for the Navy's next generation small surface combatant, the future workforce of our fleet.  It's an agile multi-mission warship with increased lethality and survivability, capable of the operations of both blue water and littoral combat environments. This ship will be critical to putting more players on the field, players that the Navy needs to promote our nation's prosperity and security, to deter aggression and to provide options to our nation's leaders every single day.”

Fincantieri Marinette Marine received a contract for $795 million in April 2020 for the lead ship and nine additional vessels. If the Navy exercises all of the options, the contract is valued at more than $5.5 billion. To date, the Navy has five frigates on order with Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with five additional options remaining on the original contract.

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