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Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) has announced that they have commenced construction of the first CONSTELLATION class guided missile frigate for the US Navy in Marinette, Northeast Wisconsin. Following the completion of a Production Readiness Review (PRR) of the frigate design on 20 July, production of the future USS CONSTELLATION (FFG 62) has now begun in earnest, as the shipbuilders have started cutting steel for the ship.

The announcement comes two years after the US Navy selected FMM to build the first three of its CONSTELLATION class frigates, which the Navy has named CONSTELLATION, CHESAPEAKE, and CONGRESS, in a historical nod to three of the original six frigates commissioned by the Navy in the late 1780s. The contract also includes an option for a further seven ships if required. Under current Navy plans, at least 20 frigates are to be built in the near future.

According to the US Navy, the CONSTELLATION class frigates will be a key component in the Chief of Naval Operations Navigation Plan (NAVPLAN) 2022, which envisions a future hybrid fleet composed of 350 manned ships and approximately 150 unmanned ships FMM used the European FREMM frigate design as the basis for their CONSTELLATION class design, taking a vessel already in service and adding modifications to meet US Navy requirements. The company has also stated that their Marinette shipyard received extensive upgrades and new facilities to build these vessels.