Proving the depth of efforts to internationalize business, the Advanced Frigate Consortium (AFCON) announced its intention to design, develop and market a new class of corvette-size ships to meet the emerging needs of international navies. The main players in the consortium include IZAR of Spain
, Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works of the U.S.
The corvette ship class will be designed with advanced platform, propulsion and combat systems including
superior anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
The AFCON team will work with international navies to design and develop an affordable, high-performance warship tailored for use in a nation's anti-air, anti-submarine, and anti-surface warfare operations. Though smaller than a frigate, the 2,600-ton design has excellent survivability with a focus on susceptibility and vulnerability that is typically limited to heavier displacement hulls. This fast vessel will be equipped with advanced features such as the SPY-1K phased-array radar, modern hull-mounted sonar system, helicopter facilities, MK 41 Vertical Launching System and options for a variety of propulsion systems. Additionally, the corvette has been designed to minimize lifecycle costs while incorporating advanced automation features to reduce the crew size.
The agreement signifies AFCON's plans to continue its expansion into the corvette-class market. AFCON was formed in 1999 to pursue international surface ship opportunities. Today, its portfolio includes the IZAR-designed F 100 and F 310-class frigates and the DDG 51 class destroyer. All are equipped with the Aegis Weapon System. AFCON continues to build upon the relationship that produced the F 100 program, which incorporates an integrated combat system and SPY-1D radar, the most modern class of surface combatant for the Spanish Navy. This success led the Royal Norwegian Navy to focus on this type of vessel, ordering five new F 310 frigates, currently being designed and built by IZAR and incorporating Lockheed Martin's new frigate-size SPY-1F radar.
This alliance benefits from the IZAR-Bath Iron Works' 450 years of combined experience producing a full spectrum of naval vessels, including aircraft carriers, destroyers and frigates. Lockheed Martin NE&SS has produced advanced combat systems for more than 40 years, including the Aegis Weapon System, the SPY-1 family of radars, and the MK 41 Vertical Launching System.