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For the contemporary U.S. Navy, a frigate denotes an escort ship whose primary focus is antisubmarine and antiair warfare. Prior to 1975, frigates were ships of various sizes with the common characteristic of being smaller than a ship of the line (a warship of the 17th–19th centuries that mounted anywhere between 60 and 110 guns). Frigates have been part of the U.S. Navy since the Maritime Committee of the Continental Congress first authorized the construction of 13 such vessels in 1775 and have occupied a justified position of prominence within the U.S. Navy ever since. As of 2012, only 23 frigates remain on duty, and the U.S. Navy intends to replace all of them with the new LCS (littoral combat ship) within a decade. This ...

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