Mothballed Oliver Hazard Perry frigates will not be reactivated, US Navy decides

The US Navy has decided not to reactivate old Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, according to an USNI News report which cites an internal service memo.

The main driver for the decision is likely the cost of bringing the ships – the last of which was decommissioned in 2015 – out of mothballs.

According to USNI News, the reactivation costs would be counted in the hundreds of millions.

The idea of Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates being used for anti-trafficking missions in the US Southern Command was first proposed by US Navy secretary Richard V. Spencer. Spencer suggested the frigates could be brought back into service as a low-cost platform for basic tasks like near-shore operations and drug interdiction.

As the option has turned out to be less cost-effective than previously thought, Spencer is now suggesting the use of littoral combat ships and expeditionary fast transports for the drug trafficking roles. The internal memo quoted by USNI News reveals that the navy secretary called for at least four ships, equipped with unmanned aerial vehicles, to be deployed in support of the Joint Interagency Task Force next year.