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NEWS | Sept. 7, 2023

Program Executive Office (PEO) for Unmanned and Small Combatants Hosts a Facility Overhaul Commencement Ceremony for Constellation-class Frigate (FFG 62) Land Based Engineering Site (LBES)

By Joseph Fontanazza

Program Executive Office (PEO) for Unmanned and Small Combatants hosted a Facility Overhaul Commencement Ceremony for the Constellation-class Frigate (FFG 62) Land Based Engineering Site (LBES) at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) on Aug. 24, 2023.

The site will support the FFG 62 class throughout its life, conducting full-plant system integration, control systems development and testing, crew training, fleet operational support, modernization, and risk mitigation.

The FFG 62 LBES capabilities will consist of vessel-representative equipment, the ability to simulate or emulate propulsion configurations of the ship and replicate operational parameters, and will allow crews to train on a live plant prior to their own ship’s commissioning. Additionally, the site will be able to support future modifications or updates to ship systems and equipment throughout its life.

NSWCPD Commanding Officer Capt. Joseph Darcy provided the opening remarks for the commencement.

“Today, as we embark on the overhaul of our land based engineering site, we add another strong link in the chain of naval excellence. We add another preeminent test site to Philadelphia’s storied history as the Navy’s machinery experts, and now continuing that history with integrated electric propulsion on FFG 62,” Darcy said.

He added, “In our business, designing, building, repairing, deploying, and disposing of ships, the work we do here ensures that our Sailors and their tools remain affordable and relevant. It allows us to establish and exploit our advantage in a rapidly evolving world.”

NSWCPD adds the FFG 62 LBES to the fold along with the Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) LBES, which has supported the fleet for over 30 years, and the recently opened DDG(X) Next Generation Guided-Missile Destroyer Land Based Test Site (LBTS).

The Command officially opened the Advanced Weapons Elevator (AWE) Land Based Engineering Test Site (LBETS) as well in April 2022.

U.S. Navy Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Unmanned and Small Combatants Capt. Kevin R. Smith characterized the FFG 62 as “an agile, multi-mission platform designed for operation in littoral and blue water environment,” with the ability to operate independently or integrated with a task force to conduct offensive and defensive Surface, Anti-Submarine, and Air Warfare” in his 2021 program description of the frigates.

Smith, who was recently selected for promotion to rear admiral, was the commencement’s keynote speaker, and his enthusiasm for his work was only matched by his appreciation for those who contributed to the project in any capacity.

“The only way we made it here today in this record time is the everyday collaboration between all stakeholders that are in this room right now. That collaboration continues to be the keystone of this project’s success. One team. One fight,” Smith said.

“All of you standing here today are part of that team. You are partners in bringing our ‘ship in a bottle’ to life and establishing this critical capability to serve our Navy for decades to come,” he continued.

The program’s procurement began in Fiscal Year 2020 with the lead frigate being dubbed USS Constellation in honor of the first USS Constellation. The original USS Constellation was one of the Navy’s first six frigates designed by Joshua Humphreys along with USS United States, which was built in Philadelphia by Humphreys and launched in 1797.

NSWCPD employs approximately 2,800 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team does the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery, ship machinery systems, and related equipment and material for Navy surface ships and submarines. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.