When a crisis occurred almost anywhere in the world during the Cold War era, U.S. officials often would ask, “Where are the carriers?” Today some officials are asking, “Where are the frigates?” The U.S. Navy currently has 18 frigates in service. These ships are the survivors of 51 frigates of the Oliver Hazard Perry class completed from 1977 to 1989. Another 16 ships of this design were built in U.S. shipyards and overseas for the Australian (6), Spanish (7), and Taiwanese (7) navies—a total of 71 units.
Intended to escort merchant convoys, underway replenishment groups, and amphibious ships, the FFGs proved to be effective in several roles, having antiair, antisurface, and antisubmarine capabilities. Unfortunately, the deletion of the Mark 13 missile launcher from the surviving units in 2003 left them without two of those capabilities.