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NEWS | March 1, 2023

Navy-Industry Event Highlights Digital Tools for Frigate Bridge Design

By Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO – Constellation class frigate (FFG) principals from across the surface Navy force, Naval Sea Systems Command engineering directorate and program offices, and industry gathered at the Mariner Skills Training Center Pacific in San Diego, California, in February to demonstrate the value of digital tools for providing real-time design feedback of the future Constellation class (FFG 62) pilot house arrangements.

By reutilizing design artifacts, the Constellation class frigate program office constructed a live, virtual bridge environment to provide the first glimpses into the general pilot house arrangements and how crews will interact with those arrangements under differing watchstanding conditions. Post-command representatives from in-service surface ship classes, including Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and Zumwalt (DDG 1000) class guided missile destroyers, San Antonio class amphibious transport docks (LPD 17), and Freedom variant littoral combat ships (LCS), conducted the bridge validation event to gather design and operational feedback.

This event shows the continuing partnership between the FFG acquisition community, its industry partners, and the eventual fleet operators.

“Shipbuilding is hard, and shipbuilding is a team sport,” said Capt. Kevin Smith, Constellation class frigate program manager.  “By providing the forum and the tools to receive and incorporate feedback, we are able to expand the program’s reach and the depth of experience to ensure we deliver a world-class warship with world-class safety in navigation and operation.” 

The frigate program office is undertaking a transformational approach to ship design, production and sustainment. 

“Within the program office, we recognize that the data we generate from day one has a purpose and utility that will be carried through the life of the program,” said Jonas Brown, director of product support and readiness for the frigate program. “This event was a showcase that demonstrates how we connect detail design and production artifacts together with manpower, training and sustainment concepts to create a digital engineering capability that modernizes Navy shipbuilding processes.”

As the program matures, the expansion of digital offerings will include design, production, test and logistics support information, ultimately setting the roadmap for the management of lifecycle data and a virtual model throughout the entire service life of the frigates.

The Constellation class frigates is being built at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, and will deliver in 2026.

Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC) oversees the Constellation Class Frigate program office (PMS 515) charged with the design, development and construction of the Navy’s newest warship class.