Todd Seattle Lays Keel For Guided Missile Frigate —FFG-10 Is First In A Multi-Ship Navy Program
Keel-laying ceremonies for the first guided missile frigate (FFG-7 Class) follow-on ship was held April 29 at Todd Shipyards, Seattle (Wash.) Division. This ship, designated FFG-10, is the first in a multi-ship Navy program which may run through the next 10 years.
The principal speaker for the keel-laying ceremonies was Capt. John D. Beecher, U.S. Navy Ship Acquisition project manager for the FFG Program. Captain Beecher stressed that this ship begins Phase II of the FFG Program. He pointed out that April has been a month of Navy-Todd significance. April 1958 saw keellaying of the USS Towers, the first of Todd Seattle's prior destroyer contracts. In April of 1972, Todd was awarded a design support contract for the FFG Class.
Todd-Seattle Division general manager Carl R. Meurk gave orders for the keel, which had been held eight feet in the air, to be lowered onto the ways. The Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, USN, Seattle, Capt. Vincent R. Manara, cut the symbolic ribbon.
Captain Manara praised Todd as being a "Premier Shipbuilder." In his remarks, he pointed out that in 76 years of Naval shipbuilding Todd has constructed all types of vessels, from submarines to a battleship, but is especially noted for producing destroyers, latest of which are the FFGs. A highlight of the ceremony was presentation to Mr. Meurk by the Navy of a validation letter for being only the third major shipbuilder in the nation to qualify for acceptance and validation of its system to comply with DoD 7000.2 Cost/Schedule Control System performance monitoring. An initial contract for six ships to be built by Todd (three in the Seattle yard and three in Los Angeles) was awarded in February 1976. A second contract for five ships with an option for additional vessels was awarded in February of this year. The Navy recently announced that its planning now encompasses the construction of 74 USN ships of this class. In addition, similar ships will be constructed for certain of our allies. Thus far, awards have been made by the Navy for the construction of 18 USN ships and two ships for the Royal Australian Navy. Todd has received 11, the five at Seattle including two for Australia, and six at its Los Angeles Division. Based on present planning, at least 56 more of those ships will be constructed, and Todd expects to continue to be the builder of a majority of these ships through the next 10 years.
Seattle Division general manager Meurk stated that the present contracts which amount to $250 million represent a fresh start for the shipyard. Seattle's employment picture will materially benefit from the manpower requirements resulting from contract performance. The 800 craftsmen now employed in the buildup construction force will grow to a total of approximately 1,500 by year-end. At the end of 1978, it is expected employment should increase to well over 2,000, and by 1980 it is estimated that the work force may grow to about 3,000 personnel.