The U.S. Navy is coming full circle with its newest class of frigates—naming the first of these futuristic ships after one of the first frigates ever, USS Constellation.
USS Constellation (FFG 62) is the first in the new Guided Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) class of ships. It will be able to operate independently or as part of a strike group, boasting an Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR), Mk 41 Vertical Launching System, and Baseline 10 (BL 10) Aegis Combat System. The FFG(X) class brings the Navy closer to its goal of 355 battle force ships. It’s expected to be complete in 2026.
The original Constellation, by contrast, was a 38-gun frigate built in Baltimore in 1797. It remained in service until 1853. The second was a sloop-of-war launched in 1854, the last sail-only warship designed and built by the U.S. Navy.
The most prominent ship by the same name is the Kitty-Hawk class aircraft carrier commissioned in 1961. It overcame several major fires on board, supported operations during the Vietnam War, the first Persian Gulf War, and in the response to 9/11 before decommissioning in 2003.
The 1854 Constellation served the country for 100 years, and currently remains afloat as a museum in Baltimore. It was aboard this floating museum where Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite announced the name of the new Guided Missile Frigate.
“As the first in her class, these ships will now be known as the Constellation Class frigates, linking them directly to the original six frigates of our Navy, carrying on the traditions of our great service which have been passed down from generation to generation of Sailors,” said Braithwaite. “While providing an unmatched capability and survivability for the 21st Century, Constellation Class Frigates will honor our Navy’s historic beginnings as we continue to operate around the world in today’s era of Great Power Competition.”
Constellation Class Frigates will be built at Marinette Marine Corporation in Marinette, Wisconsin with the first ship scheduled for delivery in 2026.
-Meg Walburn Viviano