The Constellation-class frigates herald a new era for the United States Navy, embodying agility, technological sophistication, and lethal potency in a compact, multi-mission platform. Designed to dominate in both open ocean and near-shore environments, these frigates seamlessly blend advanced anti-submarine warfare (ASW), air defense, and surface warfare capabilities.

As the latest bearers of a storied legacy, the Constellation-class stands ready to safeguard maritime interests and project power across the globe’s contentious waters, ensuring the US Navy remains at the forefront of naval superiority.

From Legacy to Next-Gen: Replacing the Oliver Hazard Perry-class

The Constellation-class frigates are slated to succeed the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, which served as versatile mainstays in the Navy from the late 1970s through the 2010s.

Named after the 1812 War hero, the Perrys, while valiant in their service, lacked the capabilities required for the modern maritime landscape. Eventually, they were decommissioned from US service, with the last one being the long-hulled USS Simpson (FFG-56) in 2015. Although many units continue to serve with international navies, underlining their enduring design and versatility.

The Constellation-class addresses the technology gap of the Perrys with a significant increase in displacement (over 7,200 tons fully loaded) and a feature-rich design that surpasses its predecessor in nearly every aspect.

Constellation-class design
An artist’s rendering of the final Constellation-class design. (Image source: US Navy/Wikimedia Commons)

Multi-Mission Mastery: A Jack-of-All-Trades for the High Seas

Like its predecessor, the true strength of the Constellation-class lies in its versatility. These frigates are designed to dominate across a wide spectrum of naval operations, including:

Air Defense

Equipped with the advanced Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) and Baseline Ten (BL10) Aegis Combat System, Constellation-class frigates can effectively detect, track, and engage enemy aircraft and drones, forming a vital part of any layered air defense network.

Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)

These frigates boast next-generation sonar systems like the Thales CAPTAS-4 low-frequency variable depth sonar (VDS) for superior underwater surveillance. Furthermore, they are equipped with launchers for torpedoes and other ASW weaponry, allowing them to hunt and neutralize enemy submarines.