The Port of Marinette. (Photo by US Army Corp of Engineers)
The Port of Marinette. (Photo by US Army Corp of Engineers)

Contract expected to create up to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Fincatieri Marine Group in Marinette has been awarded a shipbuilding contract with the U.S. Navy that could be worth nearly $5.6 billion through 2035, the federal Department of Defense announced Thursday.

The contract, worth $795 million in its first year and up to $5.6 billion if the Navy exercises all contract options, will see Fincatieri construct a new class of guided-missile frigates. Marinette Mayor Steve Genisot said earlier this year that the contract would bring about 1,000 jobs to the area over the next 10-15 years.

“This is great news, not only for the folks at Marinette Marine, but for the entire Marinette community and state economy,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement. “This expansion will allow Marinette Marine to continue to support thousands of family-supporting jobs and grow our workforce in northeast Wisconsin. I’m proud of the work that was done at the local, state, and federal levels to make this happen, and look forward to Marinette Marine being part of the Wisconsin family for generations to come.”

Fincatieri’s hopes for the contract got a boost earlier this year when the state doled out a $29 million grant to the Port of Marinette that will go toward a new shipbuilding facility. 

Two members of Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation also praised the Navy for awarding Fincatieri with the contract.

“This is a big win for our Made in Wisconsin economy right now,” Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, a Republican, called the contract being awarded “a massive win for Northeast Wisconsin, for American, and for the Free World.”

“For years we have worked to put Fincantieri Marinette Marine in a position to build the Navy’s new frigate and now, thanks to the hard work and unparalleled skill of their workforce, they will do just that,” Gallagher said in a statement. “This means generations of Northeast Wisconsin workers will build the best warships and allow future generations of U.S. sailors to accomplish their mission and come home safe.”

Gallagher said the contract will create up to 5,000 jobs when factoring in indirect employment. Fincatieri will build up to 10 ships if all the contract options are exercised.

The new frigates “will be an important part of our future fleet,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said in a statement. The frigates, called FFG (X), will have the capability to conduct air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, electronic warfare, and information operations, according to the Navy.

UpNorthNews highlighted Fincatieri on Thursday for its commitment to transparency as coronavirus reaches its employees. Four so far have tested positive, and the company has set up a website that provides daily updates to the public and its workforce.