Lockheed Martin will not be pitching an upgraded version of its Freedom-class littoral combat ship for the US Navy’s next-generation guided-missile frigate FFG(X) competition.
This was first reported by USNI News, who further said the company informed the navy about its decision on May 23.
Lockheed Martin is withdrawing from the competition despite being one of five companies down-selected to provide designs for the future frigate program. All contenders received $14.9 million contracts from the navy to complete their proposals by June 2019.
With Lockheed out of the race, the remaining contenders include fellow LCS builder Austal, Huntington Ingalls Industries with its offshore patrol cutter-based frigate design, Fincantieri Marinette Marine with the FREMM frigate-based bid and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works who has teamed with Navantia to propose a design based on Navantia’s Aegis frigate family.
According to USNI News, Lockheed felt the Freedom design was not adequate for all the capabilities that have emerged. Instead of competing for the main contractor role, the company said it would focus on the development of its COMBATSS 21 for the future frigate’s combat system, in addition to vying to supply other systems and platform integration.