Bath Iron Works. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik

Bath Iron Works, working with Spanish ship designer Navantia, on Monday displayed for the first time its proposed design for the guided missile frigate FFG(X) at an industry convention in Maryland.

The frigate design, based on the F100 by partner Navantia, was presented during the annual Sea-Air-Space industry exposition.

Reporter Chris Cavas tweeted images of the design Tuesday night, noting, “The flight deck and hangar appear smaller than those on existing destroyers and LCS [littoral combat ships].”

Cavas noted the design “certainly looks big — over 7,000 tons” and features a bow sonar dome and fin stabilizers.

The Navy has said the frigate will relieve larger ships from “the stress of routine duties during operations other than war.”

Bath Iron Works is among five companies — alongside Austal USA, Fincantieri Marine, Huntington Ingalls Industries and Lockheed Martin — awarded $15 million contracts to modify an existing “parent” design that has been tested at sea to create a conceptual design for the new frigate.

The estimated cost of the lead ship was released in March as part of the Navy’s $205.6 billion fiscal year 2020 budget request.

Earlier in March, the Navy issued a draft request for proposals for the frigates, which is open to any shipbuilder that can meet the Navy’s requirements, including that the new frigate be based on an existing U.S. or allied “parent” ship.

The lead ship will cost an estimated $1.3 billion, with follow-on frigates to be closer to $950 million and, ideally, nearing $800 million, the Navy has said.

The construction contract would reportedly be worth about $15 billion to the company that wins it.

Both the Navy and industry analysts have said BIW is well-positioned to win the contract, in part because the Bath shipbuilder held the lead ship construction contract for the Oliver Hazard Perry class of guided missile frigates, and delivered 24 of the vessels between 1973 and 1988.

But on Monday, industry trade journal The War Zone reported that an incident in November in which the Norwegian guided missile frigate Helge Ingstad, also based on the F100 design, sank “may have adversely impacted its chances.”

“This comes from a preliminary Norwegian investigation into that accident that suggested design flaws may have exacerbated the damage, a claim that Spain’s Navantia — the shipbuilder — disputes,” The War Zone reported.

Also on display Monday were a design by Fincantieri Marine, based on that company’s European Multi-Mission Frigate, and Austal USA’s model, based on the Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship, according to The War Zone. Neither Lockheed nor Huntington Ingalls’ designs were reportedly made public.