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New Corvette-Class Ship to be Designed For the Worldwide Market
International Team Includes IZAR of Spain and Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works of USA
PRNewswire-FirstCall
WASHINGTON

The Advanced Frigate Consortium (AFCON) announced today its intention to design, develop and market a new class of corvette-size ships to meet the emerging needs of international navies. The AFCON team -- comprising worldwide surface ship industry leaders IZAR of Spain, Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works of the United States -- signed a cooperative agreement to develop a corvette ship class with advanced platform, propulsion and combat systems including superior anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

The AFCON team will work with international navies to design and develop an affordable, high-performance warship tailored for use in a nation's anti-air, anti-submarine, and anti-surface warfare operations. Though smaller than a frigate, the 2600-ton design has excellent survivability with a focus on susceptibility and vulnerability that is typically limited to heavier displacement hulls. This fast vessel will be equipped with advanced features such as the SPY-1K phased-array radar, modern hull-mounted sonar system, helicopter facilities, MK 41 Vertical Launching System and options for a variety of propulsion systems. Additionally, the corvette has been designed to minimize lifecycle costs while incorporating advanced automation features to reduce the crew size.

The agreement signifies AFCON's plans to continue its expansion into the corvette-class market. AFCON was formed in 1999 to pursue international surface ship opportunities. Today, its portfolio includes the IZAR-designed F 100 and F 310-class frigates and the DDG 51 class destroyer. All are equipped with the Aegis Weapon System. AFCON continues to build upon the relationship that produced the F 100 program, which incorporates an integrated combat system and SPY-1D radar, the most modern class of surface combatant for the Spanish Navy. This success led the Royal Norwegian Navy to focus on this type of vessel, ordering five new F 310 frigates, currently being designed and built by IZAR and incorporating Lockheed Martin's new frigate-size SPY-1F radar.

AFCON is a convergence of expertise. The team has extensive experience working with a host country's shipbuilding industries, and has designed and completed numerous technology transfer programs around the world. Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems (NE&SS) provides the Aegis-equipped combat system design and the MK 41 Vertical Launching System, while shipbuilders IZAR and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works are responsible for future platform system design, construction, and integration.

This alliance benefits from the IZAR-Bath Iron Works' 450 years of combined experience producing a full spectrum of naval vessels, including aircraft carriers, destroyers and frigates. Lockheed Martin NE&SS has produced advanced combat systems for more than 40 years, including the Aegis Weapon System, the SPY-1 family of radars, and the MK 41 Vertical Launching System.

IZAR, the ninth largest shipbuilding group in the world, was formed with the merger of Bazan and Astilleros Espanoles. Established in 1742, Izar is fully dedicated to design and construction of vessels for both the Spanish Navy and the international market. IZAR can be considered as a compendium of Spain's long history of shipbuilding. IZAR is made up by four main business areas-shipbuilding, repair and refit, propulsion and energy, and systems and weapons-and 16 production centers with more than 11,000 employees. The company's capabilities include design and construction of diesel submarines, surface combatants, amphibious vessels, aircraft carriers, and auxiliaries.

Bath Iron Works of Bath, Maine, a leader in surface combatant design and construction, employs 7,000 people. It is a subsidiary of General Dynamics with headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. General Dynamics has leading market positions in shipbuilding and marine systems, land and amphibious combat systems, information systems, and business aviation. The company employs 52,000 people with 2001 sales of $12 billion.

Lockheed Martin NE&SS provides surface ship and submarine weapon systems; anti-submarine warfare and ocean surveillance systems; missile launching systems; radar and sensor systems; ship systems integration services; and other advanced systems and services to customers worldwide. NE&SS is a unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation . Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services.

For additional information on the AFCON partners, please visit these websites:

   AFCON at http://www.afconships.com/
   IZAR at http://www.izar.es/
   General Dynamics Bath Iron Works at http://www.generaldynamics.com
   Lockheed Martin Corporation at http://www.lockheedmartin.com

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SOURCE: The Advanced Frigate Consortium

Contact: Miguel Angel Martinez Guerrero, IZAR, +34-91-308-70-47,
mamartinez@izar.es; Susan Pierter, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works,
+1-207-442-1149, mobile - +1-207-720-0007, susan.pierter@gdbiw.com; or Andrea
J. Lawrence, Lockheed Martin, +1-856-722-4922, mobile - +1-609-304-3890,
andrea.j.lawrence@lmco.com