Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Thursday that the service’s newest kind of ship will be called the “fast frigate” — a distinction designed to set it apart from amphibious ships and to underscore its role as a well-armed craft designed to protect other Navy vessels.

The decision comes a month after outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel decided the Navy should develop a new fleet of small surface combatant ships based on a related model, the littoral combat ship. The LCS was created as a fast, agile ship that can perform a variety of missions, but has been panned by many because of the lack of weapons and protection it carries.

The new ship is conceived as a response to those concerns. Rather than buying 52 littoral combat ships as originally planned, the Navy now will likely buy 32 LCS vessels and 20 newer models with more weapons. The whole group of 52 ships will be designated as fast frigates, according to Defense News.

“If it’s like a frigate, why don’t we call it a frigate?” Mabus said Thursday at a conference outside Washington, the newspaper reported.

“We are going to change the hull designation of the LCS class ships to FF,” Mabus said. “It will still be the same ship, the same program of record, just with an appropriate and traditional name.”

The decision comes as the Navy retires the last of its legacy frigate ships. The USS Kauffman was the last in its line, and left on its last deployment recently. The frigates were eventually upstaged by new Navy ships, and phased out. The last frigates were called the “Ghetto Navy” by sailors aboard, who struggle to keep them running.

Hagel said in December that by May, the Navy must provide the Defense Department with a strategy to buy the newest ship by no later than fiscal 2019 while identifying ways to increase its protection and lethality. The Navy also must provide a detailed assessment of the cost and feasibility of upgrading the existing LCS fleet.