A regular contract award notice issued by the US defense department on July 17 indicated that the lead ship of the new class of FFG(X) frigates would be named USS Brooke, after the Confederate navy officer John Mercer Brooke.
This “decision” quickly resonated on social media where many took issue with such a choice for the name of a ship at a time when the Pentagon itself is banning Confederate flags on bases altogether.
What is more, naming the lead ship USS Brooke would mean that the entire class of ships would be referred to as the Brooke-class. This would make little sense as the navy already operated Brooke-class frigates between the 1960s and 80s. This class was succeeded by the Oliver Hazard Perry-class.
FFG(X) is a completely new class of frigates which will be built by Fincantieri under a contract from April this year.
The contract announcement which pointed to the possibility of the new frigates being named Brooke-class was in regard to a low-rate initial production contract for the enterprise air surveillance radar (EASR).
The announcement said that “EASR rotator LRIP units will be deployed on the USS Bougainville (LHA-8); USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74); USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD-29); and USS Harrisburg (LPD-30). The AN/SPY-6(V)3 EASR fixed-faced LRIP units will be deployed on USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79); and USS Brooke (FFG-1).”
The War Zone was the first to report on the “naming” of the new class. However, the navy has said in the meantime that the appearance of “Brooke” as the name for the new frigates was an “error”.
We are working to correct the contract notice. It listed FFG 1 in error rather than the first FFGX. The new frigate has not been named, and there is absolutely no intent to name it Brooke. FFG 1 USS Brooke was decommissioned more than 30 years ago.— Navy Chief of Information (@chinfo) July 18, 2020