President Trumps’ goal of fielding a 355 ship American Navy has led officials to reconsider the decommissioning of Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates that were retired from service in the 2000s. The frigates were retired early in an attempt to reduce costs, but they could technically be returned to duty for a decade or more of service.
The Perry-class frigate was designed as an escort ship intended to accompany Nimitz class aircraft carriers as a part of the ten carrier strike groups currently in use around the globe. At a comparatively light 4,100 tons, the Perry frigates proved to be formidable naval vessels, with their Mark 13 guided missile launchers capable of firing SM-1MR surface to air missiles and Harpoon anti-ship missiles via 40-round internal magazine. In fact, the Perry class frigate’s anti-ship capabilities could prove invaluable to existing carrier strike groups, as they can carry more anti-ship missiles than the Navy cruisers currently in use, which are limited to eight.
Plans are underway to convert some Tomahawk missile platforms into an anti-ship variant in hopes of bolstering the American Navy’s ability to engage in ship to ship warfare, but bringing back the Perry frigates could also serve the same purpose.
The Perry class frigates also came equipped with an Italian-made 3-inch rapid-fire gun, six anti-submarine torpedo tubes, a Phalanx close-in weapon system for last-ditch defense, and carried a single SH-2 Seasprite or SH-60 helicopter.